He knew he really should be studying for Abnormal Behavior if he wanted to stay on the Dean’s list but it was such an easy class, Connor was sure he could take the night off. Besides, he had his project for Basic Drawing done. Angel’s Cro-Magnon face was an easy sketch besides it would make his Dad proud to get it this Christmas. Connor laughed pulling on his D S F shirt at the memory of Angel’s peacock act when he saw Connor’s grades from Stanford. One would have though the vampire had pulled straight A’s instead of him.
Of course, he’d never know if he was smart or if Vail had crammed all that knowledge into his head. This semester, across the continent in Columbia University, would be the true test of his brains. He had abandoned pre-Law major, much to Lawrence Reilly’s displeasure but it was easy enough to see that major would just mean Wolfram and Hart would be knocking on his door in a few years with an offer he couldn’t refuse. Of course Dad didn’t know that. He thought Wolfram and Hart was a place full of nice people like Mr. Angel who helped his son understand his strange abilities. The way Mom and Dad rationalized him getting run over by a van without getting hurt shocked the hell out of Connor but he went with it.
Angel had wanted him to stay with the Reillys and after a brief fight, Connor conceded, especially when it was obvious Cyvus Vail’s spell wasn’t so easily undone. Truth was, the Reillys had money and his life was easy with them. He had begun to suspect they had lost their real son and he was a replacement. He also liked having a little sis who pretended to hate his guts but really looked up to him. It made him feel needed and wanted and that had been sorely missing in his life. However, he also knew so long as he was around they were in danger so he left for their own good and headed for New York.
The New York cold was different. It reminded him of home, red sky flashing in his mind’s eye. He shuddered as he headed downstairs from his cramped attic room to the living room where the Animal House Theme song blared. A typical noise for a Delt party. It would bathe the first floor but the real music and dancing was in the basement. The frat house was still fairly empty since the kegger was just getting started. The only ones in the basement were more of his Delta brothers, some of the Delt little sisters, and the first of the non-Greeks who always showed up for free booze.
Connor knew neither dad would approve of this but he didn’t have to worry about it. Lawrence wouldn’t show up unannounced and hell that Dad used to be a Delt. That’s how Connor got in so easily. He was a legacy. Daddy Three knew the score. Daddy One should know but he had blinders. He was also likely to just show up out of the blue. Well, too damn bad. Angel wanted him to be normal. Frat parties were normal parts of the college experience.
“Hey, Reilly, come on, let’s kick this thing off,” Brad said, their Rush chairman winging a pitcher to him. “Chug.”
Connor eyed the pitcher. “Already? It’s a little early.”
”Come on, chug,” Brad said. “You have that hollow leg anyhow. Tom has your song ready for later.”
Tom didn’t wait for later. He cued up Hurt So Good. Kari, one of the little sisters, gave him a look that said she wasn’t opposed to that whole scene. Connor sighed and reached for the pitcher as the chants of ‘chug-a-lug’ grew louder. He gulped down the pitcher in a few long desperate swallows, almost choking.
Brad pounded his back, whooping then shoved him toward the pizzas. Connor chowed down happily. Yes this was so much better than thinking about Abnormal Behavior. He could at least plot out the kinds he’d exhibit for Siobhan when he went home for the holidays. After all scarring little sisters for life was a brother’s sacred duty. He’d save some scarring for Angel of course. He wouldn’t have it any other way. It was kinda hard to think that’s all that was waiting for him back in California, a fake family and a vampire. He no longer knew where Cordy was, which might be for the best. Wes and Gunn….Angel didn’t want him having contact mostly just because he wanted Connor to have that separate life. His father was very hesitant about him doing anything with the supernatural and Connor was hiding his own tendency to hunt demons. Spike was definitely a no-no, which was a pity. He had all the best stories about Angel, which Connor figured was the reason he was forbidden.
He grimaced and put down his plastic beer cup. He thought he saw a skinny little blond and his mind flashed up the word ‘Tracy.’ The last thing he needed would be for her to have found him here. Connor knew that was crazy. Yeah she had gone all stalker on him because of the spell that made her love him but would she follow him here from California. Connor went to investigate. It was worse than Tracy. He put his best smile on when he went over to the blonde.
“Hi, want a beer?” he asked.
“I was thinking about taking one outside. It’s a little stuffy in here.” She smiled at him.
The basement was a pit, no doubt and outside suited him just fine. Connor got the beers and made out like he was drunk as a lord, staggering back over to her. She took the beer with a predatory grin then led him outside.
She sighed. “Isn’t this better, stud?” She took a drink then ran a hand along his shoulder and up his neck. “A cute frat boy like you alone?”
He smiled stupidly at her. “Not tonight.”
She leaned in for what most guys would have thought would be a kiss. She had barely morphed into her vampiric visage when caught her long hair, yanking back hard and fast. There was the snap of bone and then her dusting. He brushed the dust off his fraternity t-shirt. “Don’t make vampires even worth the effort any more.”
Satisfied his fraternity was safe, Connor headed back inside. Kari grabbed his hand and pulled him onto the dance floor. He couldn’t dance well but he was having fun. That’s what his second chance was all about right? He just wished he knew better what his place was in the world.