It was evening by the time Wesley returned to the Hyperion, because he knew that Angel would be at the butcher's and Fred and Gunn surely had some sort of date tonight. They'd been having quite a few of those lately. Sure enough, the lobby was empty by the time he arrived, and Wesley walked briskly over to Connor's crib and began filling his diaper bag with his toys, before--
"What are you doing?"
Oh. Lorne. Wesley had forgotten to account for him.
"Hi," he said, wondering how obvious it was that he was nervous. "I'm taking Connor."
Lorne made his way down the bottom few stairs, looking -- well, Wesley was probably imagining the suspicion in his eyes, but it made it hard to focus. Wesley wished he'd taken a class back at Fandom on how to lie convincingly. Or at least asked Kenzi. "To my place," he said, managing to keep his voice from shaking but hoping very much that Lorne didn't know he didn't have a place. "For the night. I talked to Angel this morning. He knows about it. Are Fred and Gunn...?"
"Out," Lorne confirmed, all of that suspicion (imagined suspicion?) gone. "Getting food. Boy, that girl can put away the chow!" He patted his stomach, looking jovial as ever, then crossed over to the kitchen area. "Oh, here. I heated up a bottle. Take that."
He handed it off to Wes, who accepted it with as little movement of his arms as possible. He thought his hands might start to shake. "Thank you," he said sincerely. "And... Angel?"
"He went off in kind of a hurry," Lorne explained. "He was acting kind of weird this morning, as I'm sure you'll remember from his delightful attitude. Then when he got back from killing some Wraither demons... not so much. Mood swings, huh?"
Wesley stuffed the bottle into a pocket of the diaper bag, trying to look noncommittal. "He's been a bit testy lately," he agreed. "I imagine it'll settle down once he's getting a bit more sleep."
"I sure hope so," Lorne groused, before he glanced down at his phone as it started to ring. "Ugh. I should take this. Give Connor a kiss from me!"
"I... I will," Wesley confirmed, and he watched Lorne go.
Well. That had been... easier than he'd imagined. Surely no one else would come by while he was--
And then the front door opened and Angel entered, just as Connor started to fuss. Oh, good lord. Maybe he couldn't do this.
"...Angel," Wesley said, carefully.
Angel looked a bit confused as he stepped into the lobby, taking in the empty space. "Where is everybody?"
"Fred and Gunn went for food," Wesley recited, because he knew that much was true and he was about to be lying rather soon. "Lorne -- had to take a call. I'm watching the baby. In fact, I packed up some overnight things. We talked about me taking Connor to the park and the one across from where I've been staying is... It's always full of kids. I thought he could spend the night with me."
He watched Angel's expression carefully for a moment, then was incredibly relieved when Angel answered, "That's... probably a really good idea."
Wesley let out a breath. Thank god. "You want to say goodbye?" he offered, scooping Connor up from the bassinet.
"Okay," Angel said, accepting the baby from Wes and kissing Connor's forehead. "Hey. Sleep tight, big guy. Daddy'll see you soon, okay?" Connor was quiet now -- no more fussing. "Just keep an eye on him, okay?" Angel said to Wes. "I check on him a lot during the night. You got his pediatrician's number, his baby formula?"
Wesley patted the diaper bag. "I've got all that."
"Then he's all yours," Angel said, passing Connor back to him.
"Thank you," Wesley murmured, holding Connor carefully as he turned toward the door. "I guess, ah... I'll see you and everyone else tomorrow."
No, he wouldn't. That was bizarre
He started for the door, but turned around when Angel interrupted him. "Hey, Wes?"
Oh no, oh no. "Yes?"
"What's the closest emergency room to your place? I don't think I've ever been there."
"Drew Medical," Wesley answered without a beat. That was the closest hospital to Cordelia's place; he'd seen the signs driving there late at night. "One minute away. Top infant care center."
"Good," Angel said, relieved. "See you tomorrow."
"See you tomorrow," Wesley echoed, and he opened the door and stepped outside.
He wasn't half a block away, still holding Connor, before he noticed stirring in the trees on the side of the street once again. This time, the stirring was accompanied by a low noise -- almost a moan.
Outside of the headquarters of a fairly well-known (by now) supernatural investigation agency. For some reason, muggers didn't do a lot of business around here.
"That's close enough," he said sharply, tightening his hold on Connor and moving his wrist to verify that the wrist-mounted stake he'd taken to wearing was still positioned there. He ordinarily wouldn't pass up a fight, but he was holding a child and besides that, he couldn't afford to be delayed at this moment.
Then he saw the crying, visibly injured mess that was making the noise, and--
She was badly bruised, her arms wrapped around her stomach, as she made her way closer to him, limping. Wesley didn't have an instant to question whether this was real or not before she choked out, "He's everything you said. It's true."
Justine choked out a whimper. "He didn't keep his word," she managed. "He took everyone - and he was going to go for the baby. And when I questioned him, he --" Another whimper. "You have to get out of here," she whispered.
She wasn't steady on her feet by any means; she stumbled toward him, and though he was still holding Connor, Wesley freed one hand and set it on Justine's shoulder to help her steady herself.
"You have to get to the hospital," he said evenly.
"No," Justine croaked. "I just need to--"
In a flash, Justine's hand went for her pocket. Before Wesley could move out of the way or say a word, she raised a knife and sliced his throat. Wesley crumpled to his knees, one hand going to the cut, and given the excruciating amount of pain, he wasn't able to offer much resistance when she seized Connor and ran down the street.
It was another few minutes before Wesley blacked out.
[[WHEEEE. nfb, actually open for phone messages and texts because it's his damn birthday but he's not going to be answering just yet on account of what just happened. adapted from angel 3x16 "sleep tight" and heavily anticipated by yours truly for an unhealthily long time. BEST BIRTHDAY EVER, amirite?]]