Written for a fanfic challenge at the IDW Comic Books message forums. I'd intended it to be a drabble but I couldn't pare it down to one hundred words. It was also the first time I've ever written a fic in present tense, and it felt really funky.

Rating: PG

Setting: AtS Season 3

Now I Lay Me

The humming awakens Angel…but it's the child standing by Connor's cradle that brings him to his feet. A little girl in a long white nightgown, about the age of (No, it can't be.) She's leaning in, admiring the infant, and in her arms is a big grey cat. She looks up at Angel and smiles.

"Kathy?" The word wheezes out of him like the last note from a broken accordion. "Sister?"

"Hullo, Liam." Still smiling, she turns back to Connor and lifts the grey tabby over the crib's guardrail.

"Don't let a cat in the nursery; it'll steal the breath out of the baby." His mother's dire warning, repeated so often by her and all the other village matrons, roars to the surface of memory and habit and instinct, and he acts. Bellowing "STOP!", he hurls himself at Kathy, but the cat's already curled on top of Connor's face, and Kathy is stroking its fur and giggling "Good Puss!", and Connor's little feet are turning blue…

Angel awakens again – for real this time – and his scream dies in his throat. There's no Kathy, no cat, and Connor is sleeping peacefully. And outside the window, two Nocturne demons scamper away from the Hyperion and hop into a storm drain. They catch their breath, chortling, as one brushes the last wisps of phantom nightgown from his arms and says to the other, "Okay, your turn. Truth or dare?"

End