Part Eight - Five Years Later

Buffy woke up to find Angel next to her, she was in their room she knew, with a certainty. He was watching her and grinned broadly when she opened her eyes, 'Hey sleepy head.' He chided her gently.

'Hi.' She said and found it impossible to do anything but smile at him, well except reach over and kiss him. A small boy who ran into the room and jumped onto the bed interrupted them. He tried to burrow in the covers between Buffy and Angel, laughing Angel helped him in. But then the harrowing echo of a gun sounded and the boy collapsed. Buffy jumped up trying to get at the person who had shot him enraged with anger. But she couldn't see the face of the gunman.

'Connor!' Buffy screamed as she pulled herself into a sitting position on the bed, heart racing and covered in a fine sheen of sweat from her nightmare. Angel shot up beside her and surrounded her shivering body in his arms.

'Buffy… What did you see?' He asked her once she had calmed slightly, that was the best thing about Angel, he always knew the difference between one of her prophecy dreams and her normal dreams.

'It was like before, in Sunnydale, Connor. And the Gunman, and God, Angel, I couldn't do anything and I'm so scared it's going to came true.'

'We'll stop it Buffy, we can change things. We've done it before and we can do it now.'

'We've never changed things Angel, the master killed me I couldn't save you…' Tears gleamed in her eyes as she curled up against him. 'I can't let Connor die. But now he's the right age, whenever I see him, I see his face in my dream, and there are no demons in this world Angel, this is nothing I can deal with.'

'Maybe not, but someone trying to shoot Connor – that'd be pretty much a police issue.'

'My experience with the police is not good.'

'But that was before you've got to remember that things here are different. There's nothing for the police to hide from here, I'm sure they actually do good jobs.' Buffy gave him a disbelieving look and crawled out of bed.

'Let's go check on Connor. Just to make sure.' Angel nodded and followed her, they pulled on some clothes before they left the room, and headed down the suite's corridor until they reached Connor's room. Edging open the door to the nursery they saw Connor in his small bed on one side of the room and Liam lying in his crib on the other side.

'See they're fine.' Angel whispered in her ear, and then taking her hand lead her over to Connor's bed where Buffy could plainly see his chest rising and falling. Buffy stood there watching him sleep for a while, Angel's arms wrapped around her waist. A moment later they moved onto Liam, their son, he was lying sideways in his crib, twitching in his sleep and it was all Buffy could to stop herself laughing and not for the first time she wondered what he had such vivid dreams about. As though sensing their presence Liam began to cry.

A maid stepped out of her room next door, but seeing Buffy and Angel there paused in the doorframe. 'It's okay, I'll do it.' Buffy told her, 'Can you get me a bottle of milk though, please?' The maid nodded her consent and left leaving Buffy rocking Liam in her arms, trying to calm him.

By the time the maid came back Connor had woken up as well, and despite the fact that it was early in the morning sat cheerfully chatting to his father whilst Buffy fed Liam.

'Mom?' Connor called, and Buffy turned to him. She and Angel hadn't been able to tell Connor about Darla yet. They couldn't really, until he was old enough to understand that he had to be quiet about his illegitimacy or people would treat him differently, like a lower person. 'When can I have a room of my own? I don't like being woken up all the time.'

'Soon enough you can have your own room, Connor.' Buffy told him laughing softly, 'But don't you like staying with your brother?'

'Of course I do, Liam's great, but he cries *all * the time.' That made Buffy laugh even more.

Sighing Angel tucked Connor back into bed and whispered into his ear 'Wait till you have your own.'

In the morning Buffy was happy to be woken by the sun streaming in through the window instead of the torrid nightmares. Angel was lying opposite her and had obviously been watching her sleep for a while he smiled broadly as he saw her wake and chided her gently, 'Hey sleepy head.'

'Hi.' She said and found it impossible to do anything but smile at him, and kiss him good morning, but before things could go any further Connor bounced into the room, in a new set of blue play clothes.

'Hi Mom, hi Dad.' He called as he jumped onto their massive bed and clambered up to them, where he promptly tried to borrow headfirst into their sheets. Angel laughed at the sight and helped Connor into their bed. Buffy had frozen in horror. She sat up in bed and stared at the doorway, a shadow flickered past it and acting on instinct Buffy dived in front of Connor, covering his small frame with hers, as a harrowing gun shot came from the doorway.

The bullet slammed into Buffy's arm and she lay motionless on the bed as Angel ran to the door to try and catch the shooter, shouting out for someone to call the doctor, and the police whilst Connor cried hysterically at the sight of his mother's still form.

Angel shot down the corridors of the house after the shooter in front of him, eventually gaining as his quarry panicked about which way to go as they reached the gates. Angel jumped on him from behind, making the man fall to the ground. Angel quickly spun the form around in his grip, so that he was face up and pulled off the man's mask. Underneath was the face of Sean Lockley, a member of the aristocracy of Los Angeles. Buffy had never liked him, Angel thought dimly. 'Sean,' he whispered in deadly tone, 'why the hell did you do this?'

Sean was clearly finding it difficult to breath but managed to answer him anyway. 'Because you arrogant bastard, you've got everything, the wife who adores you, the loving family, and I have nothing. My wife hates me, we can't have kids and now she wants a divorce because she wants a marriage that's fucking perfect like yours.'

'My heart bleeds for you.' Angel told him, desperately wishing for the first time ever that he was still a vampire so he could flash his game face at Sean and scare the living daylights out of him. 'Why'd you come after my son though. What's Connor got to do with it?'

'Just thought, if something terrible were to happen to you my wife would see that nothing's perfect.' Sean grinned and started laughing,

'You bastard! You sadistic bastard!' Angel screamed at him and slammed the man's head into the gravel before punching him, knocking him unconscious.

Buffy woke to find herself surrounded by pools of white sheets. The windows of the room were open, so that the clean smell of rain drifted in. Slowly opening her eyes she saw a doctor taking her pulse from her uninjured arm, while nurses were moving around the room, cleaning instruments and looking at charts, but Angel's familiar form was not there. 'Angel…' she whispered catching the attention on a nearby nurse. She came over to her and pressed her hand against her forehead asking her how she felt. 'Fine. Need Angel.' Came the reply.

'I'm afraid we don't let family into the hospital rooms, except at visiting hours.'

Buffy panicked. 'Hospital? I need Angel, please. He can take me home and I can stay nice and far away from hospital.'

The nurse must have seen the desperation in her eyes because she sighed and nodded, 'I'll talk to the doctor about it. No promises though.'

Buffy smiled satisfied and drifted back to sleep.

When Buffy next properly woke up she was surrounded by the red silk and velvet that she knew belonged to her and Angel's room, so smiling she sat up and looked around her. Angel was asleep in a chair in the corner, and sounds of laughter from the nursery a few rooms away told her Connor was okay.

Wanting to wake Angel nicely she crawled out of bed, and a little unsteadily at first from so much time in bed she walked over to him, where she curled up on his lap and nuzzled the side of his neck, gently waking him up. In response Angel's arms curled around her and he kissed the top of her head. 'Thank you for getting me out of hospital,' she whispered and he nodded.

'Thank you for saving Connor's life, and for being my wife and loving me.' He looked seriously into her eyes. 'But stop getting into all these life or death situations, okay?'

'It's not like it's that dangerous, I've got advanced slayer healing capabilities.' Buffy scrunched up her nose in thought, 'you know, that makes me sound like a car.' Angel laughed and tickled her till she was squealing in his arms. When he finally stopped she lay peacefully in his arms for a minute then looked up at him. 'Let's go see the kids.' She suggested and Angel agreed, he helped her walk through to the nursery where she was greeted by Connor jumping into her arms and Liam's thoughtful gaze.

Epilogue - Twelve Years Later

Twelve years after the shooting incident Connor was seventeen years old and his younger brother Liam was thirteen. Buffy and Angel had two more children, Kaitlyn who was five and Cody who had just turned one. Buffy and Angel had had a lot of fun choosing names for their children, Liam had been called such because that used to be Angel's name, when he was human first. Kaitlyn meant pure, and was similar enough to the name of Angel's long dead sister, Katherine, to be a nice, but not a constant reminder of his past. Cody's meaning had the most significance, after Buffy had been flicking through a name book and discovered it meant son of the defender she knew she had to name her newest son that. Angel's gallery had become world famous and he had even begun adding some of his own drawings, most of which were of Buffy, and his family.

Dawn had also had a successful life, although she had been sent away to finishing school until she was seventeen, she liked it meeting teachers who inspired her to share her considerably greater knowledge than most people of the age and become a writer. She was one of the first famous female writers and was also happily married to a man called William, and they had a four-year-old daughter called Aurora. Proving that not all early female writers lead the lonely existences of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters.

This world was happy, contented, with no demons and vampires and no actual war anywhere on the planet, although there were still human crimes.

Meanwhile in the Buffyverse, only a year had passed. In that year Faith had been released form prison and earned the trust of the Scooby Gang by helping them close the hellmouth. Although the residents of Sunnydale missed Buffy they went on without her realising that wherever she was now she was with Angel and most likely very happy. Riley took longer than the others to except but eventually did, meeting Sam and marrying her a few months later definitely helped.

Xander and Anya finally made it down the aisle and had a boy, who Anya insisted on naming Alexander. Gunn and Fred married as well, and they ran Angel Investigations in LA with a new warrior sent to help them called, Erik. Cordy had totally fallen in love with Erik, but was taking things very slowly because she couldn't forget the whole Angel curse thing. Willow and Tara were as together as they could be with Tara helping Willow through her magic problems, giving it up herself at the same time.

And life was good.

The End