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It wasn't exactly the week from hell, but a hell of a week. The strike meant everyone had to walk, and okay, I'm faster than most people, but not if everyone is blocking the roads because they need to walk as well. Everyone except for Spider-man, that is. Guess who was the only student arriving punctually at college that week? Webslinging is unfair.

On the other hand, Faith was in town. Which was awesome. Seriously, I was kind of surprised she wanted to talk to me at all because last time I saw her she was saving everyone's butt by taking Angelus down without killing him and I was busy freaking out and trying to stake him, so I figured she wouldn't have the time of the day for me, but she did. We even got to spar a little and patrol, and okay, it wasn't much of a patrol because even the vamps figured New York sucked as a hunting ground, no pun intended, but it was still good.

And then Faith, Harry and I went dancing. Which wasn't good, it was the fun kind of torture. I so wanted to kill Harry at times, but I guess finding out how many times you can have sex standing in a dark corner of a club afterwards made it all worth it. Top secret confession: looking back now, I'm sort of relieved Faith didn't go through with it. I mean, yeah, sure, she is incredibly hot, and okay, so I did have some fantasies now and then ever since she wiped the floor with me in Los Angeles. And Harry did say he was open to threesomes. Only I'm not sure I am. Fantasies are one thing, but if you have had sex with someone, things are different. You look at them differently. And I don't know - it probably makes me sound like a prick or a hypocrite because I started falling for Harry when I was still with Justine - but well, having sex with someone is special. It's not like a handshake. Or dancing, for that matter. So I'm glad the only one I ended up having sex with that evening was Harry.

I think Faith is still cool with me, because she came to the OsCorp Christmas party the next day as my sort of date because Harry was sort of going with Claire Davidson. Some guy named Griffin came over and wanted to dance with her, but she turned him down, and he glared at us for the rest of the evening.

On Friday, the strike was finished which was good because I wanted to take the train to Boston. Both because Phillip shouldn't work the day before Christmas Eve and because I just like going by train. I remember Mere and I thinking it was something out of the movies, like with Butch and Sundance. She'd like the East Coast, Mere. And the snow. Mom would hate it, though. I mean, she did hate it. She went to college here and told me she was always glad to return to California during the winter because of the cold, and even if she never told me because I was a child when she did and in Quortoth, she still must have disliked the weather. Father - Father would feel at home, because of England. It's so odd, because he described Utah to me and only now do I know it was England he described and not Utah at all. Utah was different.

(I'll never go there again, because it belongs to Justine and me, and going with someone else would be a betrayal. But sometimes I still dream of the heat, and of her.)

So now I'm in a Boston hotel that's not too far away from where Angel, Darla and Kara live. Their presents lie on the bed - oil and pastel and water colors and some Japanese brushes for Angel, the locket with the portraits for Darla and the concert tickets for Kara. I already sent the magazine Peter Parker made for me to Cordy, and MJ has the Italian shoes for Harry. After that quiz, he wanted a letter, so I wrote one, which was - well, after I had finished, I suddenly realized it wasn't just the first attempt at writing something sex-related, it was the first love letter I ever wrote. Since everything between Harry and me basically started with emails, it's sort of fitting.

Time to make a phone call, and then go over and - it's so weird writing this - visit the family. I kept practicing what to say to Kara in the train. Also to Darla. Less so to Angel, because I know I won't be able to remember it at the right moment anyway and because we're better at improvising.

Perhaps the best and weirdest thing is that I'm looking forward to this.
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Connor left his parents’ home on Sunday afternoon. It was an awkward goodbye; they were still very new at interactions that did not involve life and death situations or vicious arguments. And he knew how they felt about his eventual destination. Still, they managed to get through the leavetaking without resorting to old patterns. It would never stop being strange and fitting at the same time, watching the two of them together. He found himself memorizing the way they moved closer together as he left. For the first time, the thought that they must have struck the same pose when asking little Sarah Holtz to let them in did not produce rage and guilt for being unable to kill them. He had done too much on his own for that by now. If losing first the Rileys and then his daughter again, to life, not death this time, taught him anything, it was that you give the people who love you what you can while you still can; they can be gone any second.

Originally, he had planned to kill some time visiting the Boston tourist sights, something for which he had had neither the time nor the mood during the previous days in Boston, try to find some vampires to stake to make himself useful through the night, and then take the early morning train to New York. Where he would spend the day checking out New York University, the English literature schedule, and maybe some sights as well, until meeting Harry Monday night. But the Boston demon scene was unusually quiet on Sunday evening, and after a while, Connor decided that if he had to walk around aimlessly in a cold November night, he might as well do so in New York. Harry would be still at the hospital and would remain there for the better part of Monday, but Connor could scout out the territory, which would make the walking around less aimless. If you moved to a new place, you had to be prepared for any kind of surprises, and the ongoing bodyguard joke had been with an entirely serious main text.

Arriving at Central Station was decidedly different than his one and only experience of visiting New York before, with a jet, and he felt both less impressed and more comfortable with it. He stored the duffel with what luggage he had in one of the lockers and went hunting. If anything, the temperature was even lower than in Boston, but Manhattan vampires were accomodating enough to prey after late night tourists rushing to their hotels from theatre or clubs, and to be blatant enough about it to make it clear it had been a while since a Slayer or any kind of vampire hunter had been around. It kept Connor busy for a while. Afterwards, he was still on an adrenaline kick and decided the best way to test how good the security of the Osborn penthouse really was was to try and break in while the owner was away. That, after all, would be the obvious course for criminals of the normal and supernatural kind would take. At the very least, it would give him the opportunity for a good view over Manhattan. Finding the building again wasn’t that difficult. Nor was getting up to the right floor. It was on the balcony the surprises started, because the balcony wasn’t empty.

Standing there, apparantly taking in the view as well, was a guy in a very tight red costume with a web pattern on it. One did not have to be a New York native to recognize him.

Spider-man.

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abetterlie

July 2010

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