Title: Heart and soul
Disclaimer: I do not own anything, the story is from my head, but I do not own the characters. If I had anything to do with the shows the nightmare of C/A and B/S would never have happened.
Rating: If you can watch the show, you can read this. There is also the smut version of this, but this one is safe for all.
Pairings: B/A of course.
A/N: Sorry for the year long gap between updates, I'm really sorry so I won't make any excuses. But THANK YOU for the reviews and to all readers who are still with me and to those who have lost hope on this fic. This chapter is a long one so I hope you can forgive me, even just a little.
A/N2: These days I have two versions of this fic, this is the safe version, but I've also posted the uncensored one for the smut hounds (Heart and Soul: Unedited). I got the idea of posting two versions from Mac who did so with her fic With Arms Wide Open.
Chapter 29: Decisions
Chapter 29: Decisions
Connor let out a sharp cry, alerting the new parents that he was awake and in need of something, with a high possibility that it was food. "Coming, coming", Buffy mumbled and started to sit up, her eyes still closed. Angel reached out, gently placing his hand to her arm. She turned to look at him.
"I can go", he offered, he knew she needed her sleep. She gave him a sleepy, but adoring smile and shook her head.
"Can't. I'm thinking he's hungry and I'm the milk bar", she answered and grabbed her robe from the chair beside the bed and shrugged it on as she got up. She went to the crib and carefully took the crying baby into her arms. She gently rocked him, feeling his diaper and stating that it was dry, before sitting to the rocking chair Angel had got for her. She pulled at the cleavage of her robe and offered a nipple to Connor, without hesitation the baby latched on to the source of his dinner and started suckling.
Angel rose to lean on his arm as he watched the two, the sight was almost enough to make his dead heart jump to life. It looked so natural, like it was meant to be. His family. Buffy raised her eyes from their son to Angel and they shared a smile. Her eyes raked over his flimsily covered body, slowly making her way up his firm, flat stomach to the strong chest and arms that were naked under her gaze.
"Why do you have to look so good after just waking up?" she questioned with a pout, the recommended three sexless weeks were going to be very hard.
"So if another miracle happens Connor will get a little brother or sister", Angel answered with a crooked smile, running his hungry gaze over her body.
"Oh no, mister. I will be sleeping with a stake under my pillow cause no matter how much I love Connor I'm so not going through all that pain again", she stated shaking her head.
"Miracles don't happen very often. Though trying for another baby would be fun", he suggested, the roguish grin not leaving his lips. She stared at him with longing before shaking herself out of the lust hazed thoughts.
"Don't tempt me, Angel! Dr. Lang said that we have to wait about three weeks. So don't tease me! And try not to look so good." Refusing to look at his sexy muscled body that was tempting her, she turned her gaze to Connor who was starting to nod off.
Buffy glanced at the sleeping form of her lover and the father of their child and she couldn't stop herself from smiling at the sight. She knew he liked to watch her when she slept, but the habbit was mutual. Even though she couldn't say he was peaceful when he slept, he still looked less guilt ridden than when he was awake. She wanted to join him in the bed and kiss the frown off his face, but she didn't want to wake him. Also she was hungry and needed to get some food. She turned her gaze away from the sleeping vampire and to the baby that was wide awake. She leaned over the crib and smiled at her son.
"Hey there, honey. Wanna go downstairs with mommy while daddy sleeps?" she asked softly and when he made no objections, she gently picked him up and cradled him in her arms. She had a feeling she wouldn't make it to the kitchen with the epitome of cuteness in her arms and she was right. Once she reached the lobby, Willow spotted her and Connor and rushed over to them, sighing dreamily as Connor grabbed a hold of her finger.
"He's just the cutest thing I've ever seen!" she declared and looked at the baby boy with a sappy smile. "But does he have that slayer/vampire super strength thing going on cause that grip is just OW?" she asked as an afterthought and slowly pried her finger out of Connor's strong hold.
"Don't think so. But if he does, then I'm definitely not looking forward to his defiant age, it's bad enough that he'll probably inherit stubbornness from both me and Angel", Buffy answered with a frown. A child having temper tantrums with slayer strength, not a pretty picture.
"I bet he will", Willow grinned and Buffy sent a mock-glare at her way. Willow turned her gaze to the baby, then back to Buffy. "Can I hold him?" She raised her hands, showing Buffy her palms. "My hands are clean and I haven't touched any of Wesley's musty old books so my clothes are too."
"Okay, like last time, support the head", Buffy said with a smile and gently moved Connor into Willow's waiting arms, still holding his head until Willow slipped her hand under it. Willow smiled brightly as Connor just stared at her with wide eyes, showing no signs of fussing or crying like last time.
"How come you're down here with Connor? I thought you were hiding him upstairs away from people germs."
"I got hungry, there wasn't really anything in our kitchen cause I've been too busy having a baby and fighting demons to restock the food. Angel is sleeping, so I couldn't really leave Connor with him."
"And I'm keeping you from getting food", Willow stated with a deep frown.
"Will, I'm not gonna starve to death if you hold Connor for a little while", Buffy reassured the redhead, but she didn't look comforted. She shook her head, looking guilty.
"No, you should eat to keep your strength up. And I should be doing my part for the research party."
"There's a research party?" Buffy asked, surprised. Maybe Cordelia had had a vision. She glanced at the clock and which indicated that it was about the time that Cordelia usually showed up for work.
"Yeah. Giles and Wesley thought it would be a good idea to look up some demons that might be after Connor, their weaknesses and all that", Willow answered, then looked guiltily at the baby in her arms. "Okay, I think I better give him back to you and bury myself in the books", she added and gently gave Connor back to his mother.
Cordelia stood by the front door and looked at the people with a frown on her face. Buffy had brought Connor downstairs and now she was certain that even Xander had held the little boy and she still hadn't! Holding on to that thought, she walked over to the three and voiced a cool 'hey' before giving Willow a scrutinizing look.
"Still haven't managed to get a fashion sense, huh? The whole hippie look went out with the 'White Rabbit' and really, why does every shirt you own have to have some furry animal or crazy mix of colors in it?" she asked, running her criticizing gaze over Willow's appearance, taking in the redhead's blue t-shirt that had butterflies with a giggling bunny print on the front and a kitten playing with butterflies print on the back, the long multi-colored skirt and green sandals with a lizard decoration.
"Cordelia", Buffy chastised tiredly and gave the brunette a exasperated look.
"What? I'm just saying what everyone's thinking", she defended herself like she didn't know what Buffy meant.
"No one thinks that", Buffy answered, getting a little annoyed as Willow became even more self-conscious.
"Well, I've always thought so", Cordelia stated and when Buffy sent another look her way she let out a sigh of defeat and just left the room. Willow looked after the brunette, feeling even more self-conscious as she compared the red low-cut top, black cardigan and skirt that reached mid-thigh and red high heels that she was pretty sure were Prada or Gucci or some other big name, to her own attire. With a frown she looked down to her own clothing before turning to Buffy.
"I don't think this shirt is that bad. Tara likes it and I can't wear this very often because of Anya's bunny phobia", she defended her choice of clothes.
"No, it's not bad at all, it's cute. And don't mind Cordy, she's just cranky because she wasn't the first to hold Connor, or even the third, and now she's taking it out on every suitable target", Buffy reassured her, giving her a soft smile.
"Whose cranky?" came Angel's voice from behind her. She turned to him with a smile.
"Cordelia", she answered and her smile just widened as Angel tickled Connor's chin.
"Good, cause he doesn't look cranky. Is it because she hasn't got to hold him yet?"
Buffy smiled, looking at him adoringly. "Yes. You catch on quick."
"Should I be insulted?" he asked with a serious face, but Buffy could see the humor in his eyes.
"Nope, just stating a fact. You know I love your brains as much as your gorgeous looks", she answered, her voice playful. She gave him a quick peck on the lips and gently handed Connor into his arms. "I gotta talk to Giles. So could you look after him?"
"Do you really have to ask me that?" he asked with a raised eyebrow, staring at her straight in the eyes. She flashed him a little embarrassed smile, but he saved her from answering, already knowing the answer. "I think we'll go make things up with Cordelia, if she's in a bad mood we'll all suffer for it."
"I know, she already released her raft on Willow", Buffy answered with a frown and glanced at the redhead who had gone to Tara and now was digging into a pile of books. She turned back to Angel and brushed her hand over Connor's soft fuzzy hair, smiling down at him. "And why does it have to be this hard to leave him out of my sight even for a second? It's not like I'm even leaving the building."
Angel gave her a soft smile. "Now you know how I will be feeling when you and Faith take Connor to his check-up", he stated causing Buffy to frown and look up to him.
"I wish you could come with us."
For a brief while they just stared at each other until Connor started to move in Angel's arms to remind them that he was still there and wanted their attention on him. Both turned their eyes back to the baby in Angel's arms and he stopped fussing, happy that he had accomplished his goal. "Okay, I'm gonna have that talk with Giles while I still can", Buffy stated with determination. She brushed a soft kiss to the top of Connor's head before kissing Angel and quickly fleeing the scene before she could change her mind.
She walked into the office where Giles and Wesley were both neck deep in research, neither of them noticing her entrance. "I heard you're having a party", she stated casually and both men raised their eyes to her.
"I beg your pardon?" Giles questioned with a frown, not sure what she meant.
"Willow said you're doing research", Buffy clarified and glanced into the lobby, frowning as she didn't see Angel and Connor anymore.
"Well, yes. We thought it would be for the best to look up some possible demons and cults that might have unhealthy interest in the son of a vampire and the vampire slayer. This way we know the weaknesses and other traits, so we can be prepared", Giles explained and signed at the white board that was filled with demon names, their weaknesses and strengths. Giles got up from his chair and went to the board, quickly scribbling a demon's name to it.
"Excuse me, but I believe that specie is extinct", Wesley stated looking at the name.
"Remember what you said about Balthazar, the currently dead demon and his nearly extinct crew", Buffy said pointedly, looking at Wesley.
"I believe this is a entirely different matter", Wesley defended himself, feeling a little embarrassed of the reminder. Buffy's face softened.
"I'm not saying that to gloat or anything like that, I just mean that it might be safest to put up the so called extinct demons in case they aren't agreeing with the matter."
"Very well. Surely it will not do any harm, other than to my wrist", Wesley agreed.
"I'll give you a icepack", she offered with a innocent smile.
"Thank you very much", Wesley answered with a wry twist of his lips.
"Hey G-man!" Xander exclaimed and walked through the door, making his way to Giles. The older man took off his glasses and let out a tired sigh.
"Xander, have I not told you not to call me that, ever", he said with annoyance and put his glasses back on before fixing his eyes on the boy.
"You might have said something like that, once or twice", he answered casually, then glanced at Buffy, giving her an acknowledging nod. "Hey Buff." He turned back to Giles and handed him the book he had been holding. "This got into my pile and as much as I like boring long-winded books about disgusting demons, I prefer them in English instead of what ever language that is."
"It's in Aramaic", Giles stated glancing at the cover of the book. "You wouldn't happen to have the translated copy of this? I have one, but it is in Sunnydale", he asked Wesley.
"Sorry, but no."
"Very well, I will continue this once we return to Sunnydale."
"Well, as riveting as this conversation is, I think I'll go..." Buffy didn't finish the sentence when she noticed Xander signing at her. She raised a questioning eyebrow, not understanding to what he was trying to bring her attention to.
"Uhm... Buff... You're leaking", he finally managed to say and pointed at her chest. Buffy's eyes widened and she turned her eyes down, seeing two wet patches on her shirt. With a high pitched yelp she quickly covered her chest with her arms and raised her eyes back to Xander who was struggling to look away.
"Going now", she squeaked and fled the room as quickly as she could, not stopping until she was in the safety of the bedroom. She removed the milk stained shirt and was searching for a clean one when Angel walked in with fussing Connor in his arms. He ran his eyes over her half-dressed body before asking what had happened as he saw the wet shirt on the floor.
She turned to him, buttoning her blouse as she answered with a embarrassed blush, "A little leakage." She cleared her throat. "So how did taming the shrew go?"
"Fine. I think. But then Connor got a little cranky, I think he might be hungry", he answered looking down at the baby in his arms who was just starting to whine.
"Guess it's dinner time then", she stated and took Connor into her arms. She sat to the edge of the bed and started unbuttoning her shirt again as she tried to calm him down.
The cameras and audio had gone dead in the hotel and the nerds were doing their best to fix it. Idiots. Lilah knew Gavin's idea had been just a waste of time, the white hats had found the deranged soldier boy's wires in the hotel so why wouldn't they find something that a dimwit like Gavin had planted there. Gavin really was in the wrong company, at times like these she missed Lindsey, he was as fitting partner as he was an adversary.
Lilah picked up the folder from her desk and opened it, quickly reading the information. The kid had been taken to his first check up and there had been no less than two slayers guarding him. The new mother wasn't stupid, unfortunately. Lilah had considered just snatching the baby on the way to the hospital, but she was a realist, it wouldn't have been very easy and she strongly believed it would have been messy as well. The slayer was strong and inventive, but the baby would have made her more careful, so that evened the odds. But she also had Faith with her and that made Lilah confident that the snatch wouldn't have been successful, just waste of money and resources, not to mention a stain to her reputation. The younger slayer wasn't as strong as Buffy was, but she was a wild card, there was darkness in her that made her a bit more dangerous than the goody two-shoes blond.
Lilah removed the surveillance photo from the folder and let her gaze traveled over the brunette's features. Ideas of how she could use the brunette's insecurities and darkness in her nature to her advantage started to brew in the lawyer's mind, this should be interesting.
Since tea and food around Wesley's precious books was unthinkable, he had gone to the kitchen to get lunch after several long hours of research while Giles had stayed behind, content with the one cup of tea he had had couple hours before.
Buffy walked into the office and sat to the chair in front of the desk that was spilling with stacks of books. "How's the research going?" she asked glancing at the white board that had been already turned around to get empty space.
"Slowly, but surely. It is unlikely that many of those demons will be coming after Connor, but it is always better to be safe than sorry", he answered, then turned to look at Buffy finding something missing. "Where is he?" he asked with surprise in his voice.
"Sleeping. Angel is watching over him, doing probably the hundredth sketch of him", she answered and couldn't stop the small smile from rising as she thought of the two. Angel was so at awe with his son that could just stare at the sleeping infant without getting bored. Also he had already filled one sketch book with drawings of their son.
"Have you thought about what you will do now that Connor is born?" Giles' voice interrupted her thoughts. She raised her eyes to him. "I understand that Connor can not really travel just yet, but you may be a mother, you are also a slayer and you can not abandon your duties."
Buffy looked down, her lips forming into a pout. "Haven't really been thinking about it, everything's happened so fast that I haven't had the time. I can't really take Connor away from Angel and I can't stop slaying, so I'm really on the thinking stage of the problem."
Giles sighed, taking off his glasses. "You're quite right, you can not take Connor away from his father. But might I suggest a different kind of solution to the problem. Faith."
"Faith?" Buffy asked with a frown, waiting for him to clarify.
"She has made remarkable progress, she still doesn't take orders well, but she's trying. And her fighting skills have improved as well, if she were willing to stay in Sunnydale, you could continue living here. In this dreadful city."
Buffy couldn't help but smile at the tone of his voice when he mention L.A. "Okay, that's a good idea, but I'm not sure what Faith thinks about it. She's ready to strangle Xander..." Buffy's eyes widened as she caught herself, "to umm... not strangle Xander... to umm do something un-violent like telling Anya about him and her from years back. Which could get violent... Okay, back to topic. I think I'll just stop embarrassing myself and go talk to her", she finished awkwardly and turned around, quickly leaving the room.
She stopped at the lobby, frowning as she realized that she didn't know if Faith was even in the building. Her gaze fell on Gunn who was willing the sun to go down as he was anxiously waiting for his outing with the dark slayer. He was looking forward on seeing her in action, the only slayer he had seen was Buffy and he wanted to know if all slayers were as great fighters. Also he had always had a thing for hot women who could take care of themselves.
"Know where Faith is?" Buffy asked making him tear his eyes off the clock on the wall.
"She's stocking up before patrolling."
"That could mean either weapons or food. But since she's not at the cabinet, she must be in the kitchen", she thought out loud. "Thanks", she called out as she headed to the kitchen. She found Faith with her back to the door, digging into the fridge.
"Is Angel on a diet or something?" she asked without raising her gaze from the sandwich she was starting to make.
"No. Why?" Buffy returned the question, not understanding what she meant.
"You know, cause the fridge only has one container of blood. Spike's is full of it."
"Oh. Angel keeps the rest upstairs cause Cordy thinks it's gross to keep it in the same place as food. Gunn thinks it's a little squicky too, don't really know why cause he doesn't mind demon goo and all that. But I think Angel is afraid Wesley will make black pudding for breakfast out of it", Buffy answered with a shrug and took an apple from the fruit bowl on the table.
"What for breakfast?" Faith asked with a confused frown, turning to look at Buffy over her shoulder.
"It has something to do with blood and a frying pan. I think it's a English thing."
"Oh. Well Spike puts Weetabix crumbs into his blood so I can't really judge Wes' eating habits", Faith shrugged it off and came to sit to the table with her stack of sandwiches and a bottle of juice.
"So, you're taking Gunn out to a field trip", Buffy casually started the conversation, eying the apple in her hand like it was something very interesting.
"Yeah, we shared some vamp stories. Did you know he had his own vamp hunting crew?" Faith asked, a little impressed by the fact.
"Yeah", Buffy answered and leaned back in her chair.
"So I thought since he can take care of himself I could use him on tonight's patrol. See him in action, I didn't really have time to pay attention to his skills the other night since it was a real party in here."
Buffy's eyes returned to the apple and a frown formed to her face. Connor hadn't been even two days old when demons were starting to come after him. Once again the question of how she was going to keep him safe rose in her mind.
"So the little guy's with his daddy?" Faith's voice pulled her out of her glum thoughts. She raised her eyes from the table and looked at the brunette.
"Figured why else would you be here with me when you can be playing house with the family."
"Actually I do need to talk to you."
"Yeah? Shoot", Faith said and took one more bite out of her sandwich before setting it down to the plate and taking a relaxed pose on the chair, giving Buffy her full attention. Buffy shifted uncomfortably and set her apple to the table, making a decision to go straight to the point.
"How would you feel about staying in Sunnydale? For a while at least", she asked uncertainly, looking at the brunette from under her lashes to see the reaction. Faith raised a single eyebrow.
"With you or solo?"
"Without me. At least for a while, until Angel and I figure out how to arrange the whole family and slaying in two places at the same time thing", Buffy answered, wringing her fingers as she watched Faith closely.
"Yeah. That's gotta be a bitch. You can't take the little tyke away from Angel, so you don't have much choices", Faith answered, still not giving a straight answer and Buffy was starting to suspect that she wasn't going to get one. The brunette leaned back in her chair and shrugged her shoulders. "Maybe I can stick around. I'm bored and there seems to be good action in ole Sunny-D," she said trying to sound as casual as she could.
"Are you really okay with that?" Buffy asked, wanting to be sure.
"Hey, I'm five by five, B. Maybe it's a chance for me to balance the scores, you know undo the damage I caused and help to save some lives in the process. I know I should be rotting in jail for the things I did, pay my debt to the society and all that shit, but honestly, I'm more of use on the outside than I would be as a jailbird. I'm a slayer, I was designed to be out there killing the bad guys and maybe that way I'll be of some use", Faith said feigning indifference, but Buffy could see the seriousness behind the facade.
"I think you can. Make a difference", Buffy agreed and Faith looked at her in mild surprise, the words coming from Buffy meant more to her than she would have liked.
"Thanks, B", she said, feeling more than a little uncomfortable with being so bare in front of Buffy. Wanting to get out of the awkward situation as soon as possible, she looked around her, like searching for a good reason to bail. She found one on the clock.
"Hey, it's almost sundown, I better get going before the vamps start without me", she said and got up from the table. She took the remaining sandwiches and headed to the door, but stopped before stepping out. "Hey, B." Buffy turned in her chair to look at her. Faith shifted uncomfortably under her gaze and then seemed to change her mind. "Um... Nothing. Just give the little tyke a kiss for me, okay", she said and walked out the door.
"Okay", Buffy whispered to the empty room, wishing she and Faith could get back the trust they shared before everything started to go bad.
There was a quick knock to the door. "Come in", Buffy called out, momentarily tearing her eyes off Connor that was laying on the be next to her. A beat later Giles stepped inside, giving her a soft fatherly smile as his eyes landed on the mother and child.
"I thought I'd let you know we are leaving soon, though I doubt Willow would ever agree to leave without saying goodbye. But Xander is in a hurry to get back since he has an early morning tomorrow. And I have to get back to the Magic Shop and it's doubtful that Willow is willing to miss her classes either", he informed her somewhat regretfully.
"You don't have to explain, Giles. You already told me you'd be leaving today, so it's not like you're sneaking out the back door", Buffy said with a small reassuring smile.
"Yes, but I do feel like we are. You could use some help, especially considering what just happened, but..." he was still thinking how to finish his sentence as gracefully as possible when Buffy interrupted him.
"But you have lives of your own. Giles, I get it. And believe me, we're gonna be fine and if it looks like something is about to happen, you're the first person I call."
Giles gave her a relieved smile and took off his glasses, rubbing the lenses against his jacket collar. "Yes, uhm... perhaps you should come downstairs before the whole lot comes here", he suggested a little awkwardly.
"Okay", she answered then turned to look at him speculatively. "How's your hands?"
Giles looked at her a little taken back. "I beg your pardon?"
"Your hands, have you been carrying musty books crawling with germs or something like that. In other words can you take Connor?" Buffy explained like he should have caught on immediately.
"The books are not 'musty' as you say. And my hands are quite clean", Giles defended himself and his books.
"Okay. I believe you", Buffy amended and got up from the bed. Gently she lifted Connor into her arms, brushing a soft kiss to his forehead before handing him to Giles. "I need to change my shirt, Connor decided to wipe his mouth on this one", she explained.
"No worries, I believe we will get along splendidly", Giles assured her, not taking his eyes off of the little boy in his arms.
"Okay, I'll be right back", Buffy said and quickly grabbed a light blue t-shirt from the closet before slipping into the bathroom to change. Few moments later she came out and took Connor back from Giles before the three made their way downstairs. She flashed Angel a smile as he raised his gaze from the papers Wesley was showing him and he returned the smile with a crooked lift of his lips until Wesley demanded to get his focus back to the papers. Buffy glanced at the bags waiting by the door, then turned to Giles.
"Aren't you going to wait until Faith gets back?"
"No, she informed me that she will not be returning back to Sunnydale just yet. She thought it would be for the best to stay here for few days until you are back to your full strength, and I completely agree with her. You just gave birth, you need some time to recover."
"I know, I know", Buffy sighed and glanced heavenwards, she couldn't wait for coming back to her full strength, all pregnancy she had been treated like she would break. "Maybe I could do some training with her since Angel thinks I'm breakable", she muttered to herself, but not loud enough for Giles to hear the words.
"What did you say?"
"Oh, nothing", she shrugged it off and turned her gaze to Connor who was pulling her hair demanding to have all of her attention. She barely noticed that Giles went to the office and returned with a stack of papers, but when he cleared his throat, she turned to look at him.
"I shall continue this once we get back to Sunnydale", he flashed her the papers in his hand, "I believe I have some books that Wesley does not, they might be found to be most useful. I think it would be best for you to keep on researching as well."
"Oh goody, homework", Buffy said with a faux smile followed by a grimace. She really wasn't as reluctant as she sounded because it was Connor's safety that was on the line, but old habits die hard and research had never been her favored pastime.
"Try not to worry too much", he continued ignoring her comment and covered her other hand with his own, giving it a soft fatherly squeeze. She offered him a small, appreciative smile and turned to Angel who had just managed to escape from Wesley. She gave Connor into his arms and turned back to Giles, pulling him into a warm hug.
"We're gonna visit as soon as Connor can travel", she promised. She had just managed to pull back from the hug when the front door flew open and Faith marched in, heading straight to the weapon's cabinet. She simply jumped over the bags on the floor, not bothering to waste time by going around them.
"Just came to get some toys", she explained her presence, not bothering to look at the people in the lobby.
A moment later Xander walked in with Willow and Tara following. Quickly he glanced around the lobby to see if Cordelia was present and to his luck she wasn't, but Faith was. Ignoring the brunette shifting through the weapons, he went straight to Buffy as the two witches stayed to admire the baby in Angel's arms.
"So, Buff, you ready to come back to the old hometown to be the number one slayer again?" he asked rubbing his hands together. Faith stopped what she was doing to glare at him, but he did his best to ignore her, deciding to focus on the blond that hadn't said anything back to him. He also noticed the lack of luggage and her very casual attire. "You're not backed. Or you're traveling very light."
Faith grinned and closed the cabinet door, giving the scene her full attention. Buffy opened her mouth to answer Xander, but the words just didn't come, she didn't know how to explain to him that Faith was going to continue as the slayer in Sunnydale.
"Buff's not coming with us?" Xander questioned a moment later, looking at the people around him to find an honest answer.
"No, she will not. At least not now", Giles answered matter of factly.
"But..." Xander started to protest when Faith jumped in.
"Shut it, Harris. You might not like me, but you're stuck with me cause now Buffy's got other people to take care of than just you. So learn to live with it."
"I didn't ask for your opinion", Xander snapped, pointing a finger at the brunette before turning back to Buffy. "So you're just gonna shack up here and forget your friends and duties, put Faith in charge so you don't have to. And you didn't even bother to tell us about it!"
"Xander! That is enough", Giles commanded with fatherly authority. Xander spun around, staring at him in disbelief. "Buffy told me about her decision to stay here in Los Angeles and I agree with it. She has a newborn child to consider and she is not abandoning her duties, she is still an active slayer and there is demonic activity in this dreadful city as well."
Xander turned his eyes to Willow, wanting to see if he had an ally, but she just kept her eyes on Tara, looking distressed. Realizing that his best friend wasn't going to join into the conversation, he turned back to Buffy. "Okay, I get the whole child thing, you're a mother, I get it. But can't you live in Sunnydale just as easily as here?"
"Xander", Buffy started with a desperate sigh. "I..."
She didn't get to finish when Xander threw his hands up in surrender and jumped in, "You know what, right now I just don't care. You have your life, I have my life and apparently they don't mix. I'm tired and I've got a early meeting tomorrow, so we just have to deal with this some other time. I'll wait in the car", he said tiredly and turned around, went to grab his bag and walked out the door.
Buffy looked around her helplessly, her gaze landed on Angel who had been fighting to stay quiet during the conversation. He hated to hear Xander say those things to her, especially knowing he was the reason, but he also resisted the need to jump in because he didn't want to make the situation worse or cause a rift between the two friends. Buffy's eyes were asking for his help and support, but he could only offer one of the two. Her eyes shifted to Willow before she turned and headed towards the door to go after Xander. Willow quickly rushed after her, grabbing her arm to stop her.
"Let him go, he needs to calm down before you guys talk. And I think he needs the dramatic exit, it's a guy thing", the redhead explained the reason why she stopped her.
"I just don't want to leave things like this", Buffy answered sadly, receiving a sympathetic smile from her friend.
"I know. And you guys will work this out once you both cool down, okay. And I understand your reasons to stay here, it doesn't mean that I'm happy about it, but I understand."
Buffy gave her a grateful smile and pulled her into a hug. "I miss you already, Will", she muttered softly. Willow pulled back and gave the blond a crooked smile.
"Me too. But I think I should go check on Xander", she said and nodded her head towards the door. When Buffy made no protest, she walked out the door to find Xander.
The sound of the cabinet lock drew Buffy's attention to Faith who had found the weapon she wanted. "So how you gonna get back to Sunnydale? You came here on Giles' midlife crisis mobile", Buffy questioned as she neared the brunette, she didn't have to worry about Giles hearing her description of his car since he had gone to talk to Wesley once the situation had cooled down.
"Spike will come and pick me up", Faith answered offhandedly with a wave of her hand. Buffy raised a questioning eyebrow, staring at the dark haired woman.
"He's not the most trustworthy person", she stated slowly. A mischievous smirk rose to Faith's lips.
"Oh, he will come and get me if he wants to get laid again", she answered and let out an amused chuckle as Buffy's face turned into a shade of pink and she looked away in embarrassment. "Come on, B. Stop being so virginal", she laughed and Buffy shot her an annoyed look that only made her laugh harder. She was still chuckling when she said that she was heading back out to where she had left Gunn and the grin was still in place as she walked out. Buffy couldn't help but roll her eyes.
She felt Angel standing behind her and with a grateful smile on her lips she turned around. "Do you think it's really serious?" she asked softly, noting that Connor was asleep in his arms.
"He'll get over it", Angel answered and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. He longed to hold her, wanted to pull her into his arms and comfort her, but his arms were already full.
"I don't care about him, but Faith has never been really involved with a guy, so it's her I'm worried about. She says it's nothing serious that it's just a... fling, but what if she's just acting like she doesn't care to hide that she really cares and then she gets hurt because he's a evil and she loses the little fate she has on men and..." she stopped her rant as she noticed Angel staring at her with a questioning frown on his face.
"Who are we talking about?" he asked, to his knowledge Faith's brief fling with Xander was history and there had been no signs of her wanting to go back to it.
"Faith and Spike. What were you talking about?"
"Xander", he answered then looked at her more closely, his frown deepening, "You think Faith might be serious with Spike?"
"I don't know. Maybe not. She says she isn't, but she doesn't exactly have a let's-share-our-feelings-mentality. And I don't like leaving things like this with Xander, but Willow's right, we're both too upset to have any rational conversation", she explained with a sigh, jumping from one topic to another.
"It will work out. He cares about you, more than I would like, but he's never stayed angry for long. Besides, it's not you he's angry at", Angel tried to comfort her, once again feeling the need to pull her into his arms.
"Angel, it's not you, you didn't make this happen. I think he just feels left out because I didn't tell him about my staying here sooner, I just kept putting it off", Buffy denied vehemently to keep him from taking all the blame for everything. Both parents quieted as Connor stretched his arms and brushed his hand against his face, but didn't wake up.
"I think he should be put to a more comfortable place to sleep", Angel stated in a whisper, gazing at the baby in his arms. Buffy looked up at him with a grin.
"Have you ever heard me complaining? I think your arms are a very comfortable place to sleep in", she answered playfully. Angel turned his eyes to her, his lips curving into a soft smile.
"I don't think he agrees with you", he answered when Connor let out a soft whine.
"Or he's just telling us to shut up", Buffy suggested, refusing to believe that Angel's arms weren't the safest and most comfortable place on earth.
After a late night patrolling Faith was feeling a little edgy, so instead of going to bed she headed to the kitchen. She went through the cupboards, eating random foods until she found the right one that held the glasses and grabbed one before checking the fridge. She poured the glass full of juice and set the carton down to the tabletop. She didn't bother to put it back to the fridge. She would have preferred something stronger, but now that she was playing a good little slayer it was on the no-list. She sat to the table and took a sip from the drink, her eyes drawing to the door as she felt the vamp alert creeping down her spine.
"The missus and the little one keeping you up, big guy?" she smirked as Angel walked in through the door. He shook his head and headed to the fridge, picking up the juice carton on his way.
"No, they're both asleep", he answered. He set the carton to the door and took out a pint of blood before heating it in the microwave. Faith watched in surprise, Angel was actually going to eat in front of her. She turned her gaze back to the glass she was holding while Angel turned his back to the dark slayer, leaning to the edge of the sink with one arm. Even though he knew that the people closest to him didn't really mind him drinking in their presence, it still made him more comfortable to do it when they weren't looking at him.
"So, how's being a daddy treating ya?" she asked casually, taking a sip from her own drink. She heard him rinse his glass and set it down to the sink before coming to sit to the table.
"Wouldn't change it for the world. But at the same time I'm terrified", he answered with a small shake of his head like he couldn't believe he had confessed it to someone.
"Terrified? You, big guy?" Faith chuckled. After noticing the tortured look on his face, okay he was always looking tortured, but now there was more worry to it, she turned serious. "Okay, look. I always thought that a slayer who got a kid while on the job was a selfish bitch. B and I had a little chat about it years back and she agreed with me, only she didn't say the bitch part." Angel didn't seem to find any comfort in that. Noticing his look, she continued, "Let me finish. But I think you and B are gonna do great, you guys love the kid and I saw you guys fighting last night and there was no other option but to win. You're going to keep the little tyke safe and do all the happy family stuff while still making the world less evil."
Angel looked at the young woman in front of him. "It's just... I never thought it could be possible, to have this, to have a child. Let alone with Buffy. It's just a little frightening to be responsible for other person's life who really depends on you, who can't survive without your caring..." He quieted, staring at the table surface with a deep frown on his face.
"You and B will do great. Don't sweat it", Faith assured, patting the back of his hand. The heavy mood was making her uncomfortable, she had never been good with emotions. She glanced around her, feeling a little twitchy. "Uhm... I'm just gonna hit the sack. I bet B and the watcher have a big day of research in store for all of us", she said and got up from the table. She looked at the dark vampire feeling like she should try to make him feel less worried, but profound words escaped her. "Uhm... Are you gonna brood all night?"
Angel raised his gaze from the table and gave her a faint smile. "I'm fine. It's all just hitting me, but I'm okay. I think I better get back to bed too", he answered reassuringly. Once Faith had gone he got up from his chair and did some cleaning up before going back upstairs.
He opened the bedroom door as slowly and quietly as he could so he wouldn't wake Buffy or Connor. He smiled as he saw Buffy was still asleep, her hand stretched out over his side of the bed and her head half resting on his pillow. Soundlessly he moved to the crib where Connor was sound asleep, he didn't even dare to breathe, a habbit he had learned to blend into the crowd, so he wouldn't wake the sleeping baby. Quelling the need to run his fingers over the little boy's chubby cheek to make sure he was real, he got back to his feet and removed his clothes as he moved closer to the bed his mate was in.
Gently he took her hand into his and slipped into the bed. Buffy let out a soft murmur and snuggled against his side, a small smile forming to her lips as slid her arm over his waist, trapping him into her embrace like she was afraid that he'd disappear if she didn't hold on to him. He brushed a strand of hair off her face and pressed a soft kiss to her forehead before closing his eyes and waiting for sleep to come, willing his thoughts to stay away from the worry of how he was going to keep his family safe.
To be continued...