Back by popular demand! Okay, this will only be a few chapters, nothing as long as the previous stories. I hope to update within the next week. I hope you guys like this glimpse into the future. Remember, I will beg for reviews if I need to!
Using an Aikido throw to toss his opponent over his shoulder, Brady twirled around in time to see Allie land on her feet and bounce into the air. For a girl with no physical powers, she was pretty good in the ring. Dodging a kick to his ribs, he grabbed her leg and twisted it, sending her spinning in the air.
Landing hard, the air sucked itself from her body before she could get up. It took a moment for her breath to return. "I give! I give, already!"
"Yeah, I figured as much."
The flying throwing stars that twirled past his ear made Brady yelp. "We said no magic!"
"Well just remember that I can kick your ass no matter how strong you are! I don't need to move a muscle to beat you!" Standing with her arms crossed across her chest, she smiled. There were no adult around to hear her language.
Sighing, he started to the benches on the far side of the room to grab a towel. Allie's powers had grown since she had turned thirteen. It had seemed when she was a little girl that she would be the one human in the group of children. As puberty approached, though, her powers had grown exponentially. Her dad had promised her as soon as school let out that she would go to see Willow to train with her.
Slinging the towel around his neck, Brady frowned when Ronny and Kitty opened the door to the gym.
"Mom says we have to get cleaned up for dinner."
His sister was still the dumbest girl he had ever met. She annoyed him, on purpose, every chance she got. Or so he thought.
"We'll be in soon."
"Mom said now."
"I heard you!" Throwing the towel in her direction, he was more incensed when she didn't even cock an eyebrow.
Ronny's face remained placid. Kitty, on the other hand, threw the towel back but with more force. Turning on her heel, Kitty was through the threshold, towing Ronny along behind her. Brady and Allie were not far behind.
Their schools let out in a week and Angel and Buffy had decided to organize a cook out to celebrate the coming commencement of the school year. The expanded family had a lot to celebrate. Angel and Buffy were grandparents for the first time.
Connor and Amelia had married over six years ago but had waited five years until starting their own family. The couple was leading The American Academy of Slayers since three years ago when Faith had decided to retire from the position of Headmaster. Connor had seemed the most natural replacement. Faith had gone to work at Wolfram and Hart after that, along side her still boyfriend, Gunn.
Gunn and Faith had refused to get married, bucking tradition. They lived together and had purchased a house together nine years ago, but refused to give in to the institution of marriage. Faith was content to live with the man she loved, childless; she felt her life was more than full enough. Babysitting a few times for her friends had been enough of a deterrent to having children of her own.
Willow and Cerise were transporting in for the cookout. The couple had been married six years ago, but had, like Gunn and Faith, opted to forgo having children. Cerise had offered to carry a child, but after careful consideration, had decided against it. Willow had laughed at the idea, saying she had enough responsibility without worrying about another life.
Setting the tables, Buffy smiled at her third and last child. Moira Joy was seven and the sweetest of all her children. Kissing Joy on the forehead, Buffy handed her a stack of paper plates.
"Set these out for me, will you baby?"
Buffy sighed contentedly. Brady was twelve and possessed the combined tempers of both his parents. He was quick to anger and more manipulative than she had thought a child was capable of being. He was sweet when he needed to be though, so she wasn't concerned he was going to be the next great super villain.
Ronny was the quietest of the three children; she was constantly being introspective. At only ten, she was exhibiting signs of incredible intelligence. The school had pushed Buffy last year to have her tested for advanced classes. Ronny had passed with flying colors and was taking one of the same classes her brother was. That had been quite a fight, Buffy remembered. It had been resolved after Brady made Ronny promise not to talk to any of his friends. Of course, Allie was in the same class, so that promise had gone unfulfilled. Brady scowled every third period, but Ronny and Allie would sit together and giggle.
Pushing her hair out of her eyes, she smiled at her husband as he started putting steaks on the grill. For a thirty-eight year old woman, she still looked good, she thought. Angel certainly hadn't lost interest in her. After the birth of their third child, they had decided to stop reproducing. There were no regrets in that regard, Buffy barely managed to keep up with three children.
Dawn had decided that one little surprise was enough and had told Will in no uncertain terms that Kitty was to be an only child. So far, the mantra had held but Buffy knew there was still time for Dawn to change her mind. Fred had been unable to have a second child but was content with her daughter. The five children had formed their own Scooby club, though they didn't understand that reference.
Straightening table cloths, she watched as her sister and Will argued about how much to spike the punch for the grown ups. Shaking her head, Buffy grinned to herself. The unlikely pair was still as passionate towards each other as ever.
She had hid her nervousness from Angel well in the past few weeks. It had been years since she had seen Cordelia, even though the seer had eloped with Xander. After relocating permanently to Chicago, Xander had waited a few years before whisking her away to New York City and begging her to marry him. Buffy had cried when Xander had moved from LA, and cried even harder when she heard the news he had married Cordy secretly.
They were bringing their six year old son, Alex, to meet the other children. They had brought Alex to Los Angeles when he was a toddler, but Buffy doubted he would remember anyone. Cordy had changed throughout the years; the choppy black hair was replaced with soft brown waves and her serious countenance had softened with laugh lines. Buffy thought Alex had something to do with that.
"Ready to put the salad together?"
Turning to her Angel, Buffy put her arms around his neck and stood on her tip toes to touch her lips to his.
She smiled up at him. "Dawn will help me."
"I think she's dunking Will in the pool."
Shaking her head, she turned to see that Dawn was indeed threatening to throw Will in the pool if he didn't stop dictating how much rum to put in the punch. After a moment's hesitation, Buffy nodded and pursed her lips. "Okay, I'll have Will help me."
"Bloody hell, woman!" Turning from his wife, he stalked to Angel and Buffy, his hands in his pockets. "She gets nuttier every day. That woman's off her rocker."
Nodding with a sympathetic smile, she started towards the house. "Think of it, Will, another fifty years of wedded bliss."
"If I live that long. And it seems Dawn is determined to make sure I don't."
Laughing, she set the lettuce on the counter and grabbed the potato salad from the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
"Start with the greens; I have to finish some other things."
Nodding, he started hacking into the lettuce. "Everyone's coming to this shin-dig, right? No stand ups?"
Smirking, he threw the smaller pieces of vegetable into a wooden bowl Buffy set in front of him. "How many are going to be here, then?"
"Uh…," stopping what she was doing to count with her fingers, she took a moment to answer. "Fifteen adults and seven kids, if you count Derek as a kid."
He looked a little stunned. "We know that many people?"
Laughing, she nodded. "Intimately. Xander promised they would be here on time. Willow is teleporting herself, Cerise and Giles her in about an hour. Wes and Fred left to pick up more wine; they'll be back in a few minutes. Yup…it's going to be a party."
"And grandpa out there gets to hang with the new addition."
Smiling, Buffy sprinkled paprika over the macaroni and potato salads. "Yeah, Angel's excited. I can't believe Connor had a kid already. Well, I mean, it wasn't sudden or anything, but I am not old enough to be a grandma."
"Best lookin' old bird I've ever seen."
Slapping his arm, she frowned. "I'm not old. I'm young and spry. I could take you down, you now."
Wincing, he put his hand on his back and made a pleading face. "These old bones can't take it, Buffy. Spare a stupid old man."
Shaking her head at his antics, she set the massive bowls of salads onto the kitchen table. Opening her mouth to call outside to the children to have them take the salads outside, she stopped herself at the last minute. She wanted people to eat the salad; she wasn't crazy about the idea of the sidewalk and her son wearing the concoctions.
Turning at the sound of the door opening, she smiled as Fred and Wesley came in bearing paper bags.
"We got everything we could think of. I might have to sleep here, after we crack all of these open." Setting the bags down, Fred glanced around the kitchen. It was apparent that Angel and Buffy had prepared to feed an army. Which was good, there was one assembling.
Wes sighed and slipped a few bottles into the freezer to chill. "I think we cleaned the store out. I wasn't sure what everyone likes, so I got a good variety." He was aware of the tastes of the people he saw on a daily basis, but he wasn't sure what the out-of-towners would prefer to drink, or if they would imbibe at all.
"We got a case of beer, too, just in case." Looking pointedly at Will, Fred stood with her hands on her hips.
Sighing, he wiped his hands on a dish towel and bowed before heading outside to their car. "I live to serve."
Wesley immediately made himself busy with carrying the salads outside and fitting them into their ice lined containers to keep them cool and fresh. Joining Angel at the grill after carrying two bowls, he leaned against the brick wall and smiled.
"This is going to be nice, I think. We haven't all been together like this in…"
"Ever. We've never been all together like this, Wes. I can't believe we were all available this weekend."
Nodding, he watched as Angel flipped a few hamburgers into a foil container sitting on the grill. There would be no shortage of food, Wesley thought. "Yes, Allie wanted to wait until next weekend, after they actually end their school year, but this was the only time we were all free."
"Willow has a conference next Saturday and Xander's flying out to Paris on Wednesday. I don't know when he'll be back."
"Something about disappearances, yes? No connection? You think it's got something to do the supernatural, I take it."
Nodding, Angel moved the steaks around. Buffy had bought him the grill last Christmas, and he had been itching to use the monstrously large contraption. "Well, I asked him to go check it out. I know he's busy with the Chicago Wolfram and Hart branch, but I couldn't think of a better guy for the job."
Xander had brought up the idea of opening a branch of the business in the windy city, and Angel had left everything in the capable hands on the younger man. Xander had chosen a location, and with Cordy, had designed the building and hand chosen the executives. His occupation still took him over seas to other branches to weed out corruption, but he tried to stay with his family as much as possible.
The next half hour passed with little occurrence. The children helped to set the tables while Angel, Wes and Will grilled. To Buffy, it looked like they mostly talked and only grilled a little. She was in too good of a mood to make fun of them for it, though, so she kept her observation to herself. She, Dawn and Fred finished preparing food. When Gunn and Faith arrived, everyone converged outside to await the arrival of the others.
Some of the last to arrive, Connor entered with his new family, all smiles. Connor was greeted with open arms and a lot of hugs. Amelia was kissed by many people, and after Buffy stole the baby away from her, she was hugged as well. Snuggling the four week old infant, Buffy cooed to the baby. It had been a very long time, in her estimation, since she had held such a young baby.
Angel pulled his son into a tight embrace. "It's good to have you here, Connor."
Smiling at his father, Connor looked as though he was beaming. His hair was short and well kept. He was still thin but he had managed to add a few pounds to his slight frame. Slinging his arm around his wife's waist, he breathed easily. It felt good to be with his family.
Amelia had been accepted into the family immediately, though she had been intimidated by the infamous people. Being a slayer, she had heard of all of them, even before entering the Slayer Academy. After graduating and marrying Connor, she had joined him when he took over as Headmaster. It had taken her years, but she was finally comfortable around Buffy. The older slayer was intimidating to all the students, even when she had visited the school pregnant.
Amelia was looking forward to seeing Cordelia and Cerise. The three, since meeting at Brady's first birthday party, had stayed in touch. They had taken an instant liking to each other and Amelia had traveled to Chicago a few times to see Cordy. After Alex had been born, Amelia had been excited at the prospect of having her own child and had traveled to see Cordy just to be around the baby.
Hugging Buffy, Amelia smiled. "Can I help with anything? You must have a million things to finish." Even before she was finished speaking, she felt a tap on her shoulder and turned towards the stimulus.
"Brown noser." Faith hugged the younger slayer as Amelia turned towards her smiling. Faith had taken an instant liking to the woman when she had entered the school and had been thrilled when Connor had expressed interest in her. There was no one else Faith could think of that complemented Connor's personality so well.
"Shut up, Faith." Hugging her back fiercely, Amelia immediately launched into a diatribe about the school and new challenges facing them. Faith had to smirk. No one would have it as hard as she had when she first started at the school.
Making their way outside, Derek was handed off to Angel and he abandoned the grill to the others as he rocked his grandson. He was entirely too young, in his opinion, to have a grandson, but the tiny baby boy was precious. Derek reminded Angel of Brady when he had first been born. Both boys had a dark shock of hair on their heads and delicate facial features, like their fair haired mothers.
With a flourish, Willow, Cerise, and Giles appeared in the middle of the crowded gathering. Giles was shaking his head at the blue smoke Willow had thought necessary to add to their arrival.
"Had to make a scene," he said.
Avoiding being tackled by Angel and Buffy's three children, he assured them he had brought presents with him. Giles thought it his duty as the only grandparent to the children to spoil them every chance he got.
Of course, he couldn't neglect Allie and Kitty, who also got presents. Kitty was as much his grandchild as Buffy's children. Allie had endeared herself to the aging gentleman with little problem. Spoiling them rotten was his life's single greatest goal since their births.
With a shy smile, Cordy opened the sliding glass door to the scene of Giles being mobbed with children as he handed them small unwrapped parcels from a backpack. She heard Dawn shriek at their arrival. Her smile immediately spread across her face and shyness evaporated as Alex was beckoned over by Giles. Of course the old watcher wouldn't leave one child out, she thought.
"I am so glad you're here!" Enveloped in a tight hug from Amelia, she was met with a barrage of questions.
Laughing freely with Cerise, Cordy was pleasantly surprised when Faith and Dawn started sharing war stories with her. Her previous nerves about the party slipped away even as Xander left her to catch up with Buffy and Willow.
As the party progressed, there was non stopping laughing, music and food as the evening approached. Moira Joy was most curious about the baby. Allie, Kitty and Ronny each held him once; Brady kept his distance.
"Cake, everyone!" Pulling the full sheet cake from its box, Buffy smiled ear to ear. The cake was larger than she thought it would be, but she was glad for that. There was little likelihood there would be any left.
As everyone gathered around and Buffy started to cut at one end while Dawn started at the other end, congratulations were extended to all the children for surviving elementary or middle school. All their names, including Alex's were listed on the cake. There was even a happy birthday message to Derek on the corner of the white icing.
As Buffy handed the first piece to Kitty, a blinding white light tore through the lawn and hit the group ferociously. Screaming, Kitty dropped the cake and flung herself to the ground.
"What the hell!" Brady was the first to recover.
"Mom?" Allie's voice did not sound like that of a thirteen year old. Looking around the patio, she called out again and received no answer.
"They're gone…" Standing, Alex looked shocked and ready to faint.
Swallowing hard, Ronny licked her chapped lips. "Oh my…" Her breath escaped her as she saw that all of the adults were gone.
Looking at each of the young people left on the patio, Brady started to speak when a wailing starting. Turning around quickly, they all jumped at the sound. Sitting in his carrier, which had been held by Amelia, a previously sleeping Derek was now screaming at the top of his lungs.
Breathing hard, Moira looked around one last time, not wanting to believe that her parents had disappeared in a wave of light. Allie was the first to reach Derek and lift him into her arms. She didn't know a lot about babies, but she had noticed that Amelia had fed him every two hours or so during the party. He hadn't eaten in an hour, and she dreaded having to figure out how to feed him. Amelia had dropped her shirt a little and put him to her breast. Allie doubted they would be able to find another lactating woman willing to feed the infant.
"We have to find help," Ronny finally managed to choke out.
"Good idea," Brady said sarcastically. "Let's call the cops and tell them all the adults disappeared! Right."
"That's enough! We have to find them. Let's….let's go inside and figure this out." Turning to the glass doors, Allie swallowed hard. She hoped this was going to be easier than she thought.