I have been waiting for years to commit these thoughts to paper. I have a few different ideas, so I may write a few other stories OC from the line I've already started.
Now that I am writing, I find that the thoughts and ideas are flowing so quickly I can't really contain them. I apologize for any typos or spelling mistakes, I do proofread vigorously, but I already know what I am trying to say, so sometimes I miss things that are right in front of me. My fingers move a little slow for my brain, sometimes.
The last story didn't seem finished. This is the sequel I started working on the moment the first book was done. I'm very excited to share it and I am very excited to hear what everyone thinks.
Thank you so much, all of those who are reading and critiquing. I appreciate it more than I can say. Hope you enjoy.
There was a hail of applause as Angel stepped from the Stage. He felt as though his internal organs were running on hamster wheels. His hands were shaking. He hated stages. He wouldn't admit that though, so he was hard pressed to find a reason not to speak at the UCLA Law School graduation. Maybe they would get a few good applicants out of it, he reasoned.
Buffy was waiting for him by the car, a huge grin on her face. She was positively giddy. "You did so well! Angel, that was so good!"
He hugged her, still feeling a little shaken. He had awful stage fright. He shook himself from that, though, and kissed his girlfriend. She was beautiful today, more glowing than he had ever seen her.
He excused himself to go into the building designated for after the ceremony to mingle with the crowd of young graduates. Talking to the young men and women had been part of the deal. Buffy made her way to the refreshment table inside. She was glad the building was air conditioned.
Angel didn't mind mingling as much as he thought he would. Some of the graduates were actually interesting. He gave out a standard generic Wolfram and Hart business card to about twenty graduates, hoping two or three would apply to the company. He only wanted the best of the best.
Will would be waiting for him at the office. He was holding down the fort while Angel had been giving his speech. Will had helped him compose the speech, which had helped with Angel's nerves a little. Having someone else tell him what he had written was good had been a confidence booster.
After a few hours, he and Buffy slid into the back of the car and headed back towards the office. She looked a little tired. "We can go home if you want. I'll make you cupcakes."
"Hmmm…cupcakes. No, I'm okay. I want you to go to work. And I should do some work too."
He had assured Buffy that she never needed to work again if she didn't want to, but she had laughed at him, saying a life of ease and luxury was not for her. She wanted to work, to contribute to their lives. Even with his assurances that she contributed just by being her, she had insisted she needed to work.
Buffy had explored other avenues of careers before going to Wolfram and Hart. She had looked at a book store, a coffee shop, a department store. They seemed boring. Normal. Too normal for her. When she had walked into Wolfram and Hart after a couple weeks of searching and watched Grahalix demons walk past her, she knew she had found where she wanted to be. Angel didn't have to think twice about hiring her. She was expecting some low level position, maybe even a secretarial position with some other executive. Instead, she found herself with a small corner office on the third floor of the building.
Angel had seen a position for her even before she had asked him for a job. He had hoped she would want to work there because he knew exactly where he wanted her to work. She was heading up the Insurgent Control division. Angel had been striving not only to erase a good portion of demons from the planet, but to get the ones that could live peacefully or without harming humans to do so. Solving every war that came up between demon factions and families was more than anyone running another department could handle.
He had created the position with Buffy in mind, and for a few months, the chairmanship had gone unoccupied. When Buffy took the helm, a lot of rebellions were squashed with 24 hours. Not many demons wanted to deal with the infamous slayer. Buffy had proven very good at negotiations, though, and once she overcame her first reaction to kill the clients, she was able to reason with them rather well.
More than one war had been stopped because Buffy was sensitive to both sides, and had both sides compromise. Angel couldn't imagine how many human lives had been saved already by her efforts. She was sensitive and could be slow to anger when she wanted to be. And most of the time, she was given a level of respect and deference that no one else Angel could have hired would have been given. Her status in the demon community was often enough to make peace.
Xander had not faired any better than Buffy in the job market. Neither had college degrees, and the only marketable skills either one had were to do with demons and apocalypses. And there weren't many markets for those skills. Xander had found his niche in personnel. It sounded unglamorous, but he had huge amounts of responsibilities.
People that worked for Wolfram and Hart did not only undergo background checks. They were thoroughly sifted until they were judged to be of a high enough caliber to work at Wolfram and Hart. Xander's primary role was to ferret out people who had slipped through the sifting process. Angel didn't want to think of his job as some kind of Orwellian creation, but it sometimes was unsavory.
Xander excelled at unsavory. He found out who was not above approach and then figured out why and what they were doing. He was the internal police of Wolfram and Hart. That meant he traveled a lot, a fact that he liked very much. He couldn't be stagnant for very long. He went to every Wolfram and Hart branch, looking for traitors. He had found quite a few in the five months he had been with the company.
Angel had given him full reign and a long leash. Xander's official title was Employee Wellness Coordinator. He liked he humor in that. He could commandeer anything he needed to, including cars, jets, and the like. He had a practically limitless company credit card, and his disarming smile and easy demeanor immediately put people at ease. Angel had toyed with the idea of giving Xander control of the fate of the employees he found, but had decided against it after careful consideration. He would leave that up to Will. Will was better suited to tasks like that.
Xander had stayed with Angel and Buffy for a month, until he found his own place. Angel hadn't minded his company all that much, and the guest house had afforded both Xander and the loving couple an acceptable level of privacy. Xander liked his anonymity.
He worked under a lot of pseudo names. The only time he used his real name was when he was at the LA branch. That had been about half the time he had worked there. The other half of the time he was traveling the globe. He loved the lifestyle.
Fred was on maternity leave, and had been for two months. For the last month of her pregnancy she had been on strict bed rest. She hadn't followed those orders, but she had taken time from work. She refused to ask Wesley to take so much time off just to make her a sandwich because she couldn't get out of bed to do it herself. No amount of negotiating could move her on that matter. Wesley hadn't protested all that much.
She had given birth two weeks ago to a baby girl. Wes had chosen Allyson for the name. She had a shock of dark hair on her head, even when she was first born, and she had dark eyes like her father. Wes had taken two weeks off, one right before the birth and one right after, but Fred had kicked him out after that. Apparently he was a little too doting. Wes was doing a lot less overtime, now, though.
Gunn had stopped dating Luciana. She was a little too demanding of his time, he said. For some reason, she had felt the need to complain about his seventy hour work weeks. He needed a woman who could understand his work, he explained. He didn't seem in any hurry to find that woman.
Dawn was going to be arriving soon. She had found an apartment, with Angel's help, and would be moved in within the week. She had graduated at the top of her class and the Council had been pushing hard to recruit her, but she wanted none of it. She had her eye on a prize and she could not be dissuaded.
William had been a little apprehensive about Dawn moving to LA. He had managed to deny her for the weeks she stayed with Angel, but he wondered if she would still have her eye on him. He hoped not. That would be more awkward than he could handle. She had already applied for a position in Wesley's department, and Wesley had been eager to have her. She was trustworthy, knowledgeable and worked well with others. His current employees only had two out of three of those qualities. It would be a pleasant change to have someone in his department that had once left the library to have a life.
Angel reached across the car and put his hand on Buffy's rapidly expanded stomach. His joy had outweighed his shock. Apparently, Buffy hadn't been on any kind of birth control, as he had assumed that first day they reconnected. She had forgotten he wasn't a vampire in that regard. Six months later, and he was preparing a nursery. Again.
He was sure he wanted to be a father. If men had biological clocks, his was ticking. Even so, he had been loosing sleep over this baby. He was afraid of a repeat of his previous attempt at parenthood, and swore to have Dawn keep a very close eye on Wesley.
Buffy had been shocked. She had cried for a few days. Then she had been elated. Once he shared how happy he was with her, her joy had doubled. She had bought a dozen baby books within the first week of finding out she was pregnant. Angel had read them too, not wanting to rouse her suspicions. He also figured he could use a little brushing up.
As they pulled into the parking lot of the law firm, he wondered what surprises his job had in store for him today.