Chapter 50-Beautiful Endings

18 months after the wedding


The sun streams through the sheer curtains and washes our bed in sunlight. I wake up before him and lay there watching him sleep. He is lying on his stomach snoring lightly. His skin is tanned a golden brown. His hair has little highlights in it from being out in the sun so much. I trace the gryphon tattoo on his back with the tips of my fingers. He wakes up slowly, neither of us are morning people, even now. He reaches out to touch me before opening his eyes. A slow, sleepy smile spreads over his face when his hand comes in contact with my skin. He opens his chocolate brown eyes halfway. I smile at him. I love our morning waking up ritual. His hand slides to my belly.

"Morning, Baby." He leans over and kisses my very pregnant belly.

I giggle and turn my best pretend pout on. "You say good morning to the baby before you do me and you know, at one time you called me Baby."

Angel laughs and pulls me closer to him. He brushes my lips with his. "Good morning and I think I'm going to have to come up with a new name for you."

"But I like Baby." I'm going for petulant; it doesn't work as well when I'm fighting giggles.

"I was thinking, Paradise." He says, applying gentle pressure to my mouth.

I wrap my arms around his shoulders. "Paradise, I could handle that." I purr. He snuggles me as close to him as he can get me with this huge belly of mine. The baby takes that moment to make himself or herself known, and kicks Angel. He laughs. I will never ever get tired of that sound. One of Angel's hands drops to my belly. I know the baby can sense him because it always quiets down when Angel touches my stomach. Apparently it's as fascinated by its father as I am.

"You realize we have everyone showing up here in a few hours." I say, hating to ruin the moment, or disrupt our ritual.

"I know and I still have to mow the lawn and make sure there's enough coal for the fire." Angel says in between kisses.

"It's called charcoal and a bar-b-que grill, Angel." I remind him.

"Hmmm, whatever, I don't remember there being this much talking during our morning ritual, unless you count multiple Oh God, Angel."

I smack him lightly on the shoulder and surrender to our morning ritual.


I hear a car door slam and I know the first of our guests have arrived. I clasp Angel's silver cross around my neck and go to answer the door.

"Dawnie! Xander and Anya are here." I yell. The sound echoes through the big old mansion. We still live here but Angel and I have done a lot to it. The mansion isn't that creepy place on Crawford Street anymore. It's one of the most beautiful homes in Sunnydale. Dawnie lives here with us. Her friends all love the place and I like to listen to them drool over Dawn's "totally hot brother-in-law." It really doesn't seem possible that I was ever that young.

Angel is out in the courtyard starting the grill. I open the front door. Xander, Anya and their four month old baby girl, Willow, are coming up the walk.

"Hello, Buffster. We come bearing gifts of food." Xander says pecking me on the cheek.

"Just put it in the kitchen." I say. I take the baby from Anya. She's so tiny and I'm having a hard time believing I'm going to have one of these in less then a month.

"You look enormous." Anya says.

I laugh. "I know. I can't see my feet anymore. I've only got a couple of weeks to go though."

Anya and I go into the kitchen. Dawn runs out to the courtyard and tackles Xander. He comes in moments later to get little Willow. I watch Angel through the window. He takes the baby from Xander. He coos and laughs at her. She's incredibly little in his arms. I feel tears come to my eyes. He's going to be a great father. My potential sob fest is interrupted by the arrival of Fred and Wesley.

It seems after Angel and I made everything official, everyone else decided it was the thing to do. Anya and Xander went to Las Vegas the very next weekend and got married by Elvis. Wes and Fred finally got a clue and realized they completely belong together. They just got married six months ago. Gunn even has a girlfriend. He's supposed to be bringing her to meet us today. Wes, Fred, Gunn and Lorne still run Angel investigations in LA. If they get into anything to big, they give us a call, although Angel has been refusing to let me slay since I got pregnant. I'd never tell him this, but I love the over protectiveness and the extra attention he piles on me.

Anya is prattling on about something, probably her sex life with Xander. I'm slicing tomatoes and trying not to dissolve into tears over how perfect my life is. I think it's a hormone thing. Angel sneaks up behind me and wraps his arms as far around my non existent waist as he can. He turns me around to face him and kisses my tear stained cheeks. Our connection has never been weakened by turning human. I still feel his pain, his happiness, his love and obviously he still feels mine.

"Why the tears?" He asks in a whisper.

"Our life is so perfect. The year I turned seventeen, I spent hours crying because I didn't think I'd ever get this with you and now I've got it and it's so perfect and so beautiful and I want to go back in time and tell my old self not to cry that everything is going to be okay in the end." I manage to say between sobs.

Angel kisses me. His lips taste salty, like my tears.



It's almost dark now. Everyone is full on hamburgers, hot dogs and brownies. Baby Willow is asleep in her play pen. Dawn's boyfriend, Daniel, who Buffy happens to hate, keeps stealing looks at Lorne. We told him Lorne had a serious skin condition that he didn't like to talk about. In any other city, I'd never try that. Someone would see through it. Sunnydale is raised on denial though. I have no doubt Daniel will buy it. Buffy swears it's because he's "brain trust boy". I tell her he can't be that dumb, he's going out with Dawn. Secretly, whenever Daniel comes to pick Dawn up for dates, I tell him stories about Angelus. I edit most of the gorier parts, but I'm sure they are still sufficient to keep Daniel in line when it comes to Dawn. Lorne is talking to Dawn and Daniel. I made him promise to get the boy to at least hum something. I hope if Lorne says he's not evil it will give Buffy a little bit of peace.

My gorgeous wife nudges open the French doors with her foot. I jump up and take the full tea tray from her. She says I'm overprotective. She doesn't understand. She is responsible for my entire world right now. I have a right to be overprotective. We both worked so hard to get the world we have. I'm never letting it get taken away. I set the tea tray on a table and let everyone make their own cup of tea. Buffy settles in my lap. Even pregnant, she's still tiny, regardless of what Anya says. She's just jealous. Anya was a whale two weeks before Willow was born. I rest my hand on her belly. I kiss her forehead and then dip down to kiss her belly. The baby wiggles in response. This elicits a giggle from Buffy.

Silence falls over the courtyard as Sunnydale's Community Fire Works display starts. It has been a great Fourth of July. My mind drifts back to the words Buffy said in the kitchen, amidst her tears. What if I could go back and tell that hopeless creature that stood on the hill behind this house, waiting for the sun, that everything would be ok in the end? Would it have made a difference? I don't know. It doesn't matter any more. All that matters is that everything is more then okay in the end. Buffy and I make beautiful endings.