They sat a respectful distance away from each other on the patio of Angel and Buffy's home. If anyone would have questioned their arriving together, Dawn was sure one of them would have created a convincing lie. As it was, though, everyone was too preoccupied with Buffy and Brady to focus on anyone else. Dawn had vowed to herself and made Will agree, that they were not going to tell anyone of their elopement. This was Buffy's day and Dawn was not going to overshadow it in any way.
Faith eyed Gunn every once and a while they sat waiting, he returned the secretive looks. The heat wave had finally ended and the weather was pleasantly warm instead of oppressive. The entire family, including those who were currently living overseas, had come back to their old stomping grounds to great the new family member as he came home from the hospital. The only people missing were Cordelia and Xander.
Xander had called Wesley in the afternoon with the explanation his phone was off during his flight to Chicago. After being reassured that everyone was happy and healthy, Xander had decided to continue with his self-appointed mission. He had promised to return to Las Angeles with baby gifts.
Buffy hadn't had a baby shower. It seemed to Dawn that everyone had simply forgotten the pregnant slayer during difficult times. After the death of Connor's family, everyone had been consumed with finding and apprehending the culprits. Since that crisis was over, or nearly so Dawn thought, she had felt compelled to organize a baby shower for the day Buffy and Brady came home.
Connor had given everyone access to the house; Angel had stayed in the hospital with Buffy all day and night since taking her there. The patio tables had been repositioned and Will had rented a long table from someone or somewhere. Presents were positioned and food had been ordered, the only thing missing were the parents and baby.
Connor sat, trying to look relaxed. In fact, though, he was excited to have Brady come home. He had started to consider the baby his brother almost immediately after he had moved in with Angel and Buffy; he was elated at the prospect of finally being able to hold and play with his new sibling. Shifting in his seat, he surveyed the grounds.
Fred had called a catering company and within twenty four hours the food had been delivered. It was prettily assorted over the table, a bucket of ice and sodas were sitting on the ground beside the buffet. Willow had created, with the help of paint and Dawn, a welcome home banner that hung across the living room. Wesley and Gunn had worked all morning to create a space by the pool that was shady and relaxing. There was no need for the new mother and child to have to sit in the sun, they thought. A temporary awning had been added to the house, but Wesley rather thought Angel would keep it.
An exhausted looking Giles had arrived after a twelve hour flight at six in the evening on Sunday. He had joked that he left at 3:10 in the afternoon and arrived at 6:15 in the evening even though the flight felt a little longer than three hours. Buffy had been feeding Brady and Giles had been jet lagged, so he had opted to surprise her during the Monday afternoon shower.
Rearranging the gifts for the tenth time, Fred twisted and pivoted the gifts to her satisfaction, making sure the brightly colored packaging was catching a little light. There had been a mad rush to baby stores in the morning; Wesley had driven Fred, Dawn, Willow and Giles to a very trendy baby boutique down town. Giles had acted like the proverbial kid in a candy store. Knowing that the normally frugal Giles hadn't used his credit card for years, Willow had been astonished at the amount of items he had insisted on buying for the baby.
Will and Gunn had opted for a manlier, by their estimations, destination. Faith had followed them, citing hives as the reason she couldn't go to the baby boutique; she was convinced her throat would close up if she so much as looked at options for bassinet liners. The trio had gone to a department store that not only had gifts for babies, but had gifts for the parents. Faith had opted for a bag of gag gifts and hoped Angel wouldn't have a heart attack when he opened them.
When the front door opened, everyone stood; the excitement was palpable. Trying not to scream too loud, for the baby's sake, the assembled group welcomed the new parents back home. A surprised Buffy looked at the assemblage with a dropped jaw. Her surprise quickly transformed into joy as she approached everyone with her infant in her arms. Handing Brady to Angel, Buffy hugged everyone, Giles for an especially long time, as she steered towards a seat and given a plate of food.
"You guys didn't have to do this!"
"The hell we didn't." Smiling ear to ear, Will stood next to Angel as the proud father rocked his son.
"Presents!" Smiling ear to ear, Fred started handing the bright boxes to Buffy, obviously excited for her to open them.
The small party continued into the evening. Dawn helped change her first dirty diaper and Buffy opened gifts consisting of blankets, toys, rattles, mobiles, and gift baskets. Faith's gifts were of a more sexual nature and caused Buffy to laugh and Angel to blush. Angel had already bought a circular crib and a changing table for the nursery, but he hadn't had a chance to buy much else; the supplies for Brady were welcomed.
Buffy left for a little while, Willow in tow, to feed Brady. The red haired witch nearly cried at the sight of the natural beauty of mother and baby together. When they returned, Dawn was being thrown into the pool and Fred had started to gather dirty dishes and discarded wrapping paper from the tables and ground.
By the end of the evening, after everyone had left, Angel had found a few moments to hang the mobile and put his favorite of the baby blankets in the crib. Not bothering to turn on the baby monitor, he instead put the bassinet Giles had given them next to Buffy's side of the bed. He thought she would like that best for the first few nights, at least.
Lying with the love of his life in his arms, he gently fingered the area around her rapidly healing stomach wound. She had been ordered to lift nothing over ten pounds for a week and to avoid exercise for four weeks. He doubted she was going to follow any of those instructions; he knew she would heal much faster than the doctors imagined. Sighing contentedly, he looked over Buffy's shoulder to watch his sleeping son.
Life was beautiful, he said aloud. Buffy had to agree. Kissing her Angel, she smiled and whispered a reminder about their coming wedding in his ear. Smiling back, he assured her he hadn't forgotten and planted kisses down her neck. Asleep in each other's arms, they both dreamed of the future.