Meet You There

Summary: Five years ago, Angel showed up at Buffy's doorstep, alive after his battle with the senior partners but in terrible shape. She helped him, nursed him back to health but realized all the while that he wasn't the same man that he once was. After one last night of passion, he leaves her, telling her nothing except that he had to find himself, figure out who he was again now that he's lost everyone who was once on his side. Then, five years after he left, he shows back up on her doorstep, not expecting the surprise she had in store for him, a son. Can the two find happiness with each other after all this time? Can he bond with the son he never knew he had? Moreover, what happens when something happens to their son that could change the way their relationship had begun to unfold? This is a story about endless love, passion, forgiveness and redemption.

Chapter One

She stood there, mindlessly staring at the apples that were now cut into perfect crescent moon shapes, just as he liked them. Over the past four and a half years he had become her entire world, every moment she had, he was in her thoughts and she worried about him constantly, afraid of what might happen to him if she ever let him out of her sight. But now, he seemed to be growing up faster than she had ever imagined and it was no longer easy to protect him, to keep him safe. He would be starting school today, Pre-Kindergarten, her schedule would be freer, an entire half a day that she would have to herself, and entire half a day that she wouldn't be there to watch him, make sure he was okay. She shook herself from her trance, putting the apple slices into a baggie before putting them in his superhero lunch box, the one he had insisted she buy for him, begging her at the store, the same eight words constantly spewing from his tiny mouth, "I want to be a superhero like daddy." She gave in; she always gave in as she looked at his hazel eyes, a seemingly perfect mixture of theirs into the most beautiful shade she had ever seen, a constant reminder on her sons face of the one man she had ever truly loved.

She glanced briefly at the calendar, five years ago today. It had been five years ago that he had left her alone and pregnant. Granted, he had no idea that she was at the time, she hadn't been far enough along to tell him, it was something she wanted to be sure would stick before she vocalized it. She could hear him moving around above her, probably checking his backpack, making sure all his pencils and paper were safe in their compartments and stored in the small sack. She wasn't sure how she was going to make it through the next four hours, how she was going to be able to part with him, to leave him in the care of someone else who had no idea what kind of dangers were out in the world, who had no idea that there were people who wanted to take him away from her. He was excited though, ready to meet other children his own age, to have more freedom than she had allotted him.

She heard a thump against the door, startling her. She hadn't been expecting anyone and very rarely did people come knocking on her door in the middle of the afternoon. All her friends were busy either working or in school leaving her the afternoon to catch up on the sleep she never got during the night on her patrols. She jumped off the couch, looking out the door and saw only a figure slumped against it. As she opened the door slowly, she watched as his face came into view, not expecting to see Angel there.

He was in a terrible condition, bruises on his face and arms, cuts on his leg, blood staining his shirt. He couldn't even hold his head up, and he seemed to collapse against the side of the house as the door moved. She crouched down, her knees bending as she lowered herself closer to him, touching his chin softly with her thumb and index finger as she turned his face to look at hers. A bit of blood dripped from his cheek on to her finger but she didn't seem to notice, she didn't take into account the tepid feel of it or the pulse that now inhabited his veins, nor did she notice that the sun was hitting his face and not burning him.

"B… Buffy?" He whimpered, alerting her and telling her that he was hurting more than it seemed.

"Shh. I'm here." She responded, feeling him as he weakly wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling himself closer to her, trying to seek comfort in her. She kissed the top of his head affectionately, not realizing how intimate 

the gesture was, not even thinking for a moment that she was over stepping the boundaries that they had put up to protect their hearts so many years ago. She let her hand softly caress his back, feeling his wet tears against her chest as he sobbed from the pain.

"Come on; let's get you inside and in a bed." She finally whispered after he had calmed a bit. Carefully, she helped him stand, his weakened state not really allowing him to balance on his own. She put her arm around his waist, while he draped his arm around her neck and she took that hand into her own. Making it up the stairs would be complicated no doubt but she was strong and she would find a way to get him up there.

"MOM!" the little voice broke her train of thought and brought her back into the present. "I can't find my pencils!"

"I'll be right there!" She called back up; double-checking to make sure that everything he would need for his snack was there and accounted for before closing up the lunch bag and putting it on the side of the counter, making a mental note not to forget it.

She climbed the stairs, all the while remembering how difficult it had been to get Angel up them that fateful day, the day that her whole world had changed. It seemed like it was only yesterday but she knew better, she now had a four and a half year old son from the decisions she had made after that day. It would be a lie to say that she regretted them, every day when she looked at her son's face, every time that his eyes met her own, she was reminded of her first and only true love, the only man who could make her feel so happy and so sad all at once. The only thing she regretted was not preparing herself for his departure, knowing their history, she should have expected him to leave, but she didn't, thinking that maybe this time things would be different.

"This is going to sting a little." She said, dipping the washcloth into the bowl of warm water. He laid there on top of the covers, clad in only his black boxer briefs, the wounds now fully visible to her. She knew he was strong, that he would heal soon, but it was important to clean them, not only because it would speed up the healing process but also so that he could be comfortable. Because his condition did not allow him to stand, his weakness barely allowing him to balance himself, she had to resort to sponging him off. To say it was difficult would be to put it lightly but she pushed through her thoughts of desire and the fact that a basically naked Angel was laying there in front of her, instead she concentrated on keeping her eyes at the cuts, a deep one, across his abdomen, as well as on his shoulder.

She heard him groan as she let the warm sponge touch the open flesh. As she glanced at him briefly, their eyes met and she could see the tears pooling up in the corners of his chocolate eyes, the eyes that once looked at her with such adoration and love, now pleading her to make the pain stop. She wished she could, with every ounce of her soul she wished she could help him, make him see that the pain was only temporary. Then again, she had no idea what was going through his mind, he just looked so lost, so confused, and so alone.

"Where were you looking?" She asked, standing in the doorframe looking at her son as he frantically ran around the large bedroom. He didn't respond, just flopped down on the floor and began to wiggle under the bed, hoping that the case had fallen from the bed and onto the floor where he might have accidentally kicked it under.

"I've looked everywhere!" He responded, she could tell he was exasperated. He always hated it when he misplaced things; he enjoyed order and neatness even at such a young age. It was a trait that she assumed he inherited from his father, she never was one who could be bothered to actually keep things organized, she hired a cleaner to do that for her. "There it is!" She heard him cry out from under the bed before watching as he pushed himself out and stood up, his shirt now wrinkled and pulled out from the waist of his pants. He put it in the backpack and zipped it up, that way he could insure that everything would remain where he left it.

"Come here you." She said, still standing by the door, a huge smile on her face as he ran over towards her and threw his arms around her. She picked him up and kissed his cheek. "I'm so proud of you; I can't believe how quickly you 

are growing up. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing you back from the hospital, all bundled up in that adorable blue blanket. Soon you won't even need me anymore." That single thought, the thought that he wouldn't need her around, it stirred up the panic that she always felt when she parted with him. He was her only link to Angel, and the only person that she loved just as much, if not more than him. Without him in her life, she felt as though she would truly be alone, he fulfilled her in ways that saving humanity, slaying vampires never could, he gave her a purpose that she chose, one that no one but her had a say in.

"I'll always need you mom." He responded, laughing at what he thought was a silly comment on her part before kissing her on the cheek. "Come on mom! We are going to be late!"

She put him down, his words filling her heart with happiness, and watched as he ran down the stairs, all the while hoping that he wouldn't trip and fall. He had so much energy that sometimes it was daunting. Sure, as a slayer she had more energy than the normal person off the street but this was different. Here was this little child who could run for hours upon hours if he was allowed to, and after spending long nights on patrol, usually using all that energy up, it was hard to keep up with him in the morning.

"Mom! Where is my breakfast?" He called from the kitchen.

"Calm down baby. We have plenty of time." She replied, walking towards the cupboards, pulling out a box of his favorite cereal. She placed the box on the counter and reached for a clean bowl and spoon, giving him the spoon as she reached the refrigerator, grabbing the milk and noting that it was almost empty. "Guess I'll have to go to the store after I drop you off this morning."

"Oh! Can you get those cookies?" He said as she poured the remainder of the milk into the bowl that was now filled with cereal. She placed it across the counter and watched as he dug in, eating much quicker than she liked him to.

"Maybe." Was her only response as she walked to the other side and took a seat next to him, running her fingers through his short brown hair before kissing the top of his head, breathing in the scent that was his own.

"I can't do this alone." She whimpered, the tears streaming down her cheeks as she sat on the couch next to Xander.

"I can't believe that he would do this." Was his only response as he held his friend in his arms, acutely aware of the pain she was feeling. He had seen this before, bore witness to the destruction that was the Angel and Buffy relationship. "What are you going to do?"

She tensed at his question, surprised that he would think she could go that route, not with this child, or any child that was blossoming inside her body. "I…" She started before she stopped herself, and wiped some of the tears off her wet cheeks. "I have to keep it. It's mine… And it's part of Angel too. I can't give that up and if I can't be with him at least I'll have a part of him with me forever."

Xander tried hard to stifle the sigh that was building inside of him. This tumultuous relationship always seemed to cause her to make decisions that weren't really good for her, causing her to not think things through the way she should, to realize that bringing a life into the world was a big deal and she was only twenty-four years old. "Well, I can't speak for Willow but I'll help you, if you need help I'll be there. What are friends for if not for situations like this?" He kissed the top of her head, and she leaned into him, hugging him close against her.

"Thank you Xander, for understanding." She replied as he hugged her back. She was truly grateful that she had friends in her life as wonderful and as supporting as Xander and Willow had been over the past nine years. Now she just had to find a way to tell Dawn and Giles. Giles would certainly not be too thrilled with the idea of a child, her life was complicated enough and now throw in another life, a life that she would be responsible for, a life that many would want to take, it was probably going to be the greatest challenge of her life.

"Can I play with Uncle Xander today? After school?" He asked, pulling her out from her memory.

"I don't know, I think he is working this afternoon, but maybe he can stop by after work?" She responded as she watched him push the bowl away from him, a sign that he was finished eating. "I'll give him a call after I drop you off, I'm sure he'd be more than happy to play with you and come over earlier than he usually does when he watches you while I work." Xander was after all, a little boy in men's clothing and the two got on so well.

"Okay…" He replied, jumping down from the stool, grabbing his lunch bag as he did. As she brought the dish to the sink, she watched as he opened his backpack up one last time, stuffing the bag that contained his snack in it. She followed a few moments behind him, locking the door to the house and meeting him at the car.

"Ready?" She asked, putting the key in the ignition and starting the car as he nodded enthusiastically. "Okay." She put the gear in reverse and backed out the driveway, dreading dropping him off and not being able to spend the day with him as she usually did. As she made her way down the street however, she failed to take notice of the black car that surely would have jogged her memories even more so than they already were.

Authors Note (Brighteyes87)

Well, I hope that you like how this is going. I have just gotten back from Europe, yesterday actually and Lanie and I had been working on this for a little while but I just thought I'd post it now and see the reaction that it gets. Anyways, for those who read Asking for Trouble or Save Me From Myself... I'm currently re working Save Me and it will have a new title and hopefully I'll get that posted before Monday... Same deal with Asking, I'm hoping to get a new chapter up by monday or tuesday... Anyways, I hope you like this story so far. Please leave some reviews and let us know!

Thanks!