Rating PG-13, just to be on the safe side...

Disclaimer: I don't own Angel, Buffy, Mutant Enemy Inc, or anything cool, really. I just like to play with them from time to time in my little puppet show of cruelty.

I am not profiting from the writing of these stories (despite the fact that I spend more time writing them than I do at college or at my job combined). So Please read and review. It's all I got, man...


adv. (literary) always; forever.

(From The Concise Oxford English Dictionary)

Sunlight streamed across his face as Angel awoke in his soft, comfortable bed. Yawning lightly he squinted at the light, but it no longer caused him any kind of worry. Getting used to direct sunlight had been the easy part. Getting used to being in a perpetual state of happiness and contentment, without fear of the consequences, had taken a little longer.

Glancing down, he sighed with some of that contentment now, seeing the brunette head nestled into the nook where his arm met his shoulder. Smiling, he stooped and planted a gentle kiss on the top of her hair, pausing to take in the scent of her shampoo.

He would never cease to be in wonder and awe of this. Waking up in bed with the woman he loved. Being allowed to experience such happiness. Such bliss. It was a fate he never believed that he would deserve. He had never allowed himself to truly believe it would come true, not even when he became obsessed with working towards it, immediately after hearing about the prophecy during his first year in to LA. But this was real, he kept telling himself. Finally, after years of fighting the good fight, after losing so much, he had been allowed some peace. A normal life.

Overcome with emotion, he pulled the love of his life closer to him, savouring her warmth against his skin. The action made her stir, and she curled her body closer to him, winding her arms tightly around his body.

'Morning gorgeous,' she greeted him as she did ever morning.

She lifted her head to smile at him, and he had never seen anything so beautiful in his life. Pulling her further up his body, he drew her mouth to his, gently caressing her lips with his own. Drawing his head back slightly, he smiled at her. 'Morning, Cordy.'

'A girl could get used to waking up like this,' she told him.

'Well, get used to it,' he told her, 'because I intend on waking you up like this every morning for the rest of our lives.'

'I'm gonna hold you to that, buster,' she replied, touching her lips to his once more.

A surge of happiness went through him, and he wondered how he had gotten so lucky. He had caused so much pain and destruction in his lifetime. Even though he fought and strove to make amends, he couldn't fathom how he had ended up deserving all of this.

Deepening the kiss, he pulled her onto his chest. Barely able to tear himself from her lips, he moved his kisses along her jaw and round to her neck, breathing in her scent. Cordy sighed happily into his hair. 'Definitely could get used to this.'

The made love in the early morning sunlight, slow and passionate in their exploration of each others bodies. Neither one held anything back, trusting each other, loving each other completely. They way they had every single day since he had achieved Shanshu.

So much had been sacrificed to get to this point. So many lost in the many battles they had fought. Doyle had been the first soldier down. Then Fred. Wesley, Gunn and Spike had all fallen by the end of the final battle. He missed them all terribly. But they had won. In the end, they had beaten back the forces of darkness once more. And Angel had gotten his reward. His humanity. His family.

As he and Cordelia lay in each others arms, utterly content, the other member of that family decided to make himself heard. Connor's voice carried through the house. He seemed to be talking to himself as he played in his room down the hall, and banging blocks together by the sound of things.

Cordy gave out a soft groan. 'You're lucky you didn't start that a couple of minutes ago, kiddo,' she said with a laugh. Brushing a kiss to Angel's cheek, she started to get up. Angel stopped her.

'I'll get him,' he told her. 'You lie there and relax.'

He got no argument from her. 'My hero,' she said, settling back down into the bed. 'I suppose you did kinda wear me out,' she added with a smile.

'Kinda?' he replied as he moved to the door. 'We'll have to do better than that later.'

He walked the short distance to his son's bedroom and looked inside. Connor was out of bed, playing with blocks and action figures on his bedroom floor, apparently making them have a battle of some kind. Angel smiled. Like father, like son. Connor was two and a half now, and already showed signs of a very active imagination.

Picking his son up, Angel dropped a kiss on the little boy's rumpled hair. 'Let's go see Mama, kiddo,' he told him. Connor wound his arms around his father's neck in a bear hug and Angel felt happiness squeeze his heart once again.

Their day passed like all the others they had experienced in this new life. Completely normal. Completely perfect. It was Sunday, so like always he and Cordy took Connor to the park after breakfast. It was simple things like this that Angel took so much pleasure in now. Spending time with his wife and child. Doing normal, family things. Cordy watched, amused, as Angel pushed their little boy on the swing, and he smiled at her.

After the park, they went for ice-cream and then went back to their simple but comfortable home. Lazy Sundays had become Angel's favourite day of the week.

As dusk fell, he and Cordy sat cuddled together on the couch while their son played quietly at their feet. It was the perfect image of what family life should be, and Angel had never felt so alive. Brushing a kiss to his wife's forehead he got up and went to the kitchen to get their boy his bedtime glass of juice. He had just put the apple juice container back in the fridge when he heard a crash, as the window in the living room was smashed in.

Running to the living room, he saw four vampires in his home. How they got in without an invitation he didn't know. He didn't stop to think. He charged at them as they moved toward his family. Cordelia was already on her feet, scooping up Connor and trying to get him away from the threat.

Angel landed a punch on the nearest vampire's jaw. The fiend's head snapped back, but the punch wasn't nearly as effective as it would have been when Angel still had his vampire strength. Recovering quickly, the vamp grinned and head-butted Angel without batting an eye. Angel spun around with the force, straight into the fist of another vamp. Angel blocked the next blow and sent a kick in the direction of a third vamp. Landing a fierce upper cut to the vamp directly in front of him, he tried to get to Cordelia, who was being cornered by the fourth member of the group. She was trying to hold him off with a lamp as a make-shift weapon, but with Connor in her arms, Angel knew she wouldn't be able to fight effectively.

Angel made it half way across the room when he was grabbed by two of the vamps. With them pinning his arms behind him, the third vampire rained down punches on his face, chest and head. Severely winded, he still struggled to get free. But the vampires were too strong for him. He was helpless. But that didn't stop him struggling, especially when he saw the fourth vampire disarm Cordelia and snatch Connor out of her arms.

Fighting like a wild thing for her son, Cordy, jumped on the vampires back, scratching, biting, kicking. Anything to get her son away from the monster. Connor was screaming and crying, trying to get away from the scary monster. The vamp who had been punching Angel went after Cordy, dragging her off his cohort and subduing her with a fierce punch to the face.

'Cordy!' Angel yelled, fighting to get away. The vampire holding Connor walked to the struggling man and kicked him in the face. Dazed, Angel felt one of the vampires holding him grab him by the hair and jerk his head up. They were going to make him watch.

With the vicious poetry with which he had killed his prey as Angelus, the vampire holding Cordy sunk his teeth into her neck. Connor's screams were soon silenced by the vampire holding him, as he snapped the child's neck and began to drink.

'NO!' Angel screamed as he saw his family, his life, being torn away from him. Cordelia's eyes locked with his and he saw her fear, her pain, as the last drop of blood was taken from her and she slipped away.

Hot tears poured down his face as the monsters dropped his wife and child to the ground like discarded food wrappers. Broken, he could only whimper at his loss. He didn't even flinch when one of the vamps kicked him in the head and the world went black.

To Be Continued...