A/N: Once again, Thank you to all the readers and extra thank you to those who left comments.


Chapter 14: Knocked up

Buffy was sitting by the table with a deep scowl on her face, the books in front of her were long forgotten. Angel stood by the doorway, watching her, he had just come back from a magic shop with a new book and found her deep in her thoughts.

"Thinking about the demon woman?" he asked making his presence known. She turned to look at him, the frown not leaving her face.

"I wish. I'm having trouble with what I'm going to get Tara for her birthday. I was thinking about a crystal ball but Giles said he got her one."

"What do you think she'd like?" Angel asked helpfully and sat down next to her.

"That's the problem. I don't know her that well. All I know is that she's a witch, loves Willow and is a really, really nice person", she answered with a frustrated sigh.

"Don't worry, it will come to you", he reassured her and pulled her into his arms. With a satisfied sigh she leaned against him and closed her eyes, letting his presence sooth her.

"I brought you something", he stated. She opened her eyes, seeing the book in his hands.

"Another book", she muttered like a little child, making him laugh.

"I take it you haven't had any luck with those", he stated.

"None what so ever. I've been through thousands of different uglier than ugly demons but no queen bitch herself."

"Don't worry, we'll find her. Maybe Giles has found something."

"No, he hasn't. I was just on the phone with him", she answered again frowning as she remembered she didn't have any gift for Tara.

"How is everyone?" Angel asked, pulling her out of her thoughts. She turned to look at him somewhat surprise as though she had just noticed he was there.

"Everyone's fine. The Magic Shop keeps Giles busy aside from the researching that Xander is helping him with, and Anya is in her dream job as the cashier, she's finally found a new passion in money. Willow is busy with classes and Tara. Mom's still in tests and for once Dawn is keeping out of trouble. I think that sums it up. But you can find out yourself when we get there", she answered, then her frown deepened, they were going back to Sunnydale the next day and she still had no idea what to give Tara. She jumped to her feet and pulled Angel with her.

"We need to find the present", she stated and started pulling him with her.

"Can't Cordelia help you with that?" he questioned with a frown.

"Cordelia doesn't know Tara and I doubt she'd be much help on this matter. She's expert shopper but somehow I don't see her in a Magic Shop going through talismans and crystal balls", she answered not taking no for an answer.

XXX

After excruciating long hours of browsing around shops, Angel had finally convinced her to buy a beautiful necklace with a protective stone in it, and he was swearing he would never again shop for gifts with her, even though he knew he'd do anything for her if she asked. The gift was wrapped and the next day right after sunset they headed to Sunnydale. After picking up Dawn from a friends house, they went to the Magic Shop to meet the gang.

Angel and Buffy walked into the store with Dawn following on their heels. "Oh, look whose back in town!" said with a crooked grin, happy to get his eyes off the book in front of him.

"Hey, Xander", Buffy greeted and walked to the table swamped with books.

"Hey there, Dawn. Dead boy", he extended his greetings to her sister and boyfriend. Buffy gave him a chastising look but Angel didn't seem to pay attention to the usual manner Xander called him, he just headed to the backroom where he could hear Giles moving.

"So, how's the reading going?" Buffy asked and looked at the book that was open in front of Xander.

"The ygh-factor is very high, but no Cordelia Chase's evil twin... or eviler twin in Cordy's case", he answered and shut the book, not noticing Anya scowling at the mention of his ex-girlfriend. He really wanted to forget the day, ever so helpful Anya had told him colorful stories about the demons he found in the books and the stories were more disturbing than anything else.

"What are you going to get for Tara?" Buffy asked changing the line of conversation.

"I don't know. Cause what do witches usually want for birthday?"

"I got her a necklace with this stone in it that like breathes protective energy. I'm not really sure on the details, Angel picked it but I didn't really listen all the stuff, all I know is, it's pretty, shiny and supposed to protect", Buffy said shrugging her shoulders.

"Dead boy went gift shopping with you? Oh man, and I missed it", Xander chuckled and earned yet another chastising look from her. "By the way, did you know Tara's family is in town?" he asked still chuckling at the thought of Angel shopping.

"No, Willow didn't say anything when I called her this morning."

"Oh? I guess you called before they got here. Didn't seem like a happy reunion if you ask me."

The bell chimed and Willow walked in. She seemed distracted, so in her thoughts that she didn't even notice Buffy. "Hey, Will!" Buffy greeted drawing Willow's attention to herself and the wicca gave her a sheepish smile.

"Hey. You're here already. Where's Angel?" she asked looking around herself searching for the vampire that couldn't be far away.

"He's having a pow-wow with Giles", Buffy answered then looked at her friend more closely. "Is everything okay?" she asked concern clear in her voice.

"Everything's fine, just my muddled brain. Nothing a good old-fashioned research party won't fix", Willow played it off, not managing to vanish Buffy's worry but she decided not to push.

They all grabbed books from the stack and started going through them as Dawn was browsing the shop, making Buffy very nervous. Angel and Giles returned from their meeting, joining the research but despite five pairs of eyes, they didn't seem to find anything useful.

After an hour of going through the books, Buffy sighed and stretched her shoulders, trying to get the kinks out. Angel set his book down and shifted in his seat, pulling her hands away from her shoulders and starting to gently massage them.

"Hmm... That feels good", she breathed out, her eyes closing as she felt the tightness leaving her body.

"Okay, keep the PDA minimum, will you", Xander exclaimed, drawing Buffy out of the haze. Her eyes snapped open and she looked around herself embarrassed.

"Maybe I should go abuse the punching bag for a while", she said and before anyone said anything, got off her seat turning to leave. But she stopped as she felt something go through her, but since it was so brief, she ignored it and made her way to the backroom.

She beat the bag for a good while till stopping to stretch her arms, bending them behind her back. She closed her eyes but as she had a eerie feeling she wasn't alone, she quickly opened them, puzzled when she didn't see anyone else. She tried to ignore it but then she knew for sure there was someone and just in time, she blocked a blow coming her way. She threw, what ever it was that attacked her, off of her but right after she was grabbed from behind. She struggled against the hold, fighting off the things she couldn't see.

"There's something in here!" she yelled and kicked her leg back, managing to free herself. She heard struggling from the other room and tried to get there as soon as she could but again she was grabbed from behind. She felt a breeze go by her and sound of fighting but again didn't see anything. She flipped her attacker over her shoulder and threw it to the wall before running back to the shop.

"Where's Angel?" she asked not seeing him in the room, only her friends trying to find their attackers.

"We don't know, he disappeared after you left", Willow answered while poking the air with a chair. Dawn shrieked from her hiding place as suddenly the table was knocked over as if something had slid over it. Giles stepped protectively in front of her, only to be knocked back by the invisible demon.

"How many are there?!" Xander cried out, anxiously looking around himself.

"I've already been injured once this month!" Anya protested.

"Everybody shut up", Buffy commanded and closed her eyes, listening to her surroundings. Tara walked through the door, seeing Angel fighting an ugly demon as Buffy was standing in the middle of the floor with another demon nearing her from behind. Angel was yelling her to look out but she didn't seem to hear him.

"Buffy! Behind you!" Tara cried out and Buffy spun around, knocking the demon back and kicking it before it could recover. Quickly it started to dawn to Tara what had happened, without hesitating she started chanting the counterspell, in the process drawing the demons attention to herself.

Buffy felt a wind go through her and suddenly she could see Angel snapping a demons neck and another knocking down Tara. At the moment, three people walked in drawing the demons attention and it started closing in on them. Buffy ran after the demon, dropping down to the ground and sweeping its legs from under it. It fell against the stairs and swiftly she jumped to her feet and stomped her foot against the demons neck, crushing it.

The man stared at the dead demon with wide eyes, his expression shifting between scared and disgusted. "What in God's name is that?" he questioned.

Angel was about to answer when Spike walked in and beat him to it. "Lei-Ach demon. Fun little buggers. Big with the marrow-sucking." Spike glanced at Angel with a scowl and earned a glare. Ignoring Spike, Angel made his way to Buffy and placed his hand on her shoulder. She turned to look at him and gave him a small nod as a sign she was alright.

"I don't understand", Mr Maclay said while getting up from the floor.

"I'm not sure I do either", Buffy stated and turned her gaze to Tara who was sitting on the floor with tears running down her cheeks, looking guilty.

"I'm sorry. I'm s...so..sorry. I was, I was trying to hide", she said through the hiccups. Willow walked to her girlfriend and kneeled in front of her, Tara lifted her gaze to her and looked at her with sad eyes.

"I didn't want you to see... what I am", she explained miserably.

"What?" Willow asked confused.

"What do you mean, what you are?" Buffy asked and Tara tried to answer but it was too hard.

"Demon", mr Maclay spat out before continuing, "The women in our family have demon in them. Her mother had it. That's where the magic comes from We came to take her home before... before things like this started happening." He pointed at the demon on the floor as a emphasis.

"You cast a spell on us, to keep us from seeing your demon side. That's why we couldn't see our attackers", Giles stated.

Buffy glanced at her sister, then up at Angel before shifting her gaze back to Tara. "Nearly got us killed", she stated.

"I'll go. I'm so sorry", Tara said scrambling up to her feet.

"Wait! Go? She just did a spell that went wrong. It.. it was just a mistake", Willow said grabbing hold of Tara's arm to keep her from leaving.

"That's not the point and it's not your concern. She belongs with us. We know how to control her... problem", Mr Maclay said sternly.

"Tara. Look at me". Willow pleaded and slowly Tara shifted her teary eyes to her. "I trusted you more than anyone in my life. Was all that just a lie?"

Tara shook her head vehemently and swore, "No!"

"Well, do you wanna leave?" Willow asked, everyone could see Tara was reluctant to leave or even answer, torn between choices.

"It's not your decision, young lady", Mr Maclay protested.

"I know that!" Willow exclaimed, then turned to Tara, instantly softening. "Do you wanna leave?" she repeated the question. Tara just shook her head, still crying silently.

"You're going to do what's right, Tara. Now, I'm taking you out of here before somebody does get killed. The girl belongs with her family. I hope that's clear to the rest of you", Mr Maclay said with his voice hard, giving the group a stern look.

"It is". Buffy stated, drawing Tara's scared eyes to herself. "You want her, Mr. Maclay? You can go ahead and take her... You just gotta go through me", Buffy said placing her hands on her hips, looking defiantly at the older man.

"What?" Mr Maclay asked clearly not believing what was happening.

"You heard me. You wanna take Tara out of here against her will, you gotta come through me."

"And me!" Dawn joined in, coming to stand next to her sister.

"Is this a joke? I'm not gonna be threatened by two little girls", Mr Maclay exclaimed incredulously.

"You don't wanna mess with us", Dawn said glaring at the man.

"She's right. She's a hair-puller", Buffy stated glancing at her sister before turning her gaze back to Tara's father.

"And you're not just dealing with... two little girls", Giles said moving to stand behind the two sisters and the vampire.

"You're dealing with all of us", Xander stated.

"Except me", Spike protested from the back, he had been ignored till then.

"Except Spike", Xander stated like the vampire hadn't said anything.

"I don't care what happens", Spike stated.

"This is insane. You people have no right to interfere with Tara's affairs. We are her blood kin! Who the hell are you?" Mr Maclay questioned clearly getting angry.

"We're family", Buffy stated matter a factly.

"Dad", Tara's brother whined. "You gonna let them just... Tara, if you don't get in that car, I swear by God I will beat you down", he threatened, pointing at Tara.

"And I swear by your full and manly beard, you're gonna break something trying", Xander shot back. Tara's brother looked at him taken back but what made him backpedal was Angel's dark look that he was in the receiving end of.

"Well. I hope you'll all be happy hanging out with a disgusting demon", the woman of the family shot at them with disgust dripping from her voice.

"Excuse me. What kind?" Anya asked with a raised hand.

"What?" the woman asked taken back.

"What kind of demon is she? There's a lot of different kinds. Some are very, very evil. And some have been considered to be useful members of society", Anya clarified, smiling widely at the last part.

"Well, I... what does it matter?" the woman stuttered not knowing how to answer.

"Evil is evil", mr Maclay stated.

Spike let out a frustrated sigh and stomped to the group. "Why don't I make this simple", he stated and tapped Tara's shoulder. As she turned to look at him, he hit her face, soon after yelling in pain and grabbing his head. Before he could recover, Angel had stepped in front of him and punched him, making him fall to the floor.

"Hey!" Willow yelled angrily at Spike, but then it dawned to her and a small smile crept to her lips."Hey.." she breathed out.

"He hit my nose!" Tara said miserably, holding her nose.

"And it hurt! Him, I mean", Willow said and slowly a teary smile rose to Tara's lips.

"And that only works on humans", Buffy stated.

"This is what I get for helping", Spike muttered to herself, glaring at Angel as he climbed to his feet.

"There's no demon in there. That's just a family legend, am I right? Just a bit of spin to keep the ladies in line", Spike explained and turned to look at Mr Maclay with a crooked smirk. "You're a piece of work I like you", he stated before stomping off.

"I'm not a demon", Tara breathed in relief sharing a happy smile with Willow.

"Mr. Maclay, I would say your business here is finished", Giles stated with his authority voice.

"Tara, for eighteen years your family has taken care of you and supported you. If you wanna turn your back.." Mr Maclay tried to guilt her but she interrupted him.

"Dad... just go", she stated sadly. Her father scowled darkly and stomped away with rest of the family following.

XXX

The next evening they celebrated Tara's birthday at the Bronze and Buffy got to spend much missed quality time with her friends, without worrying about slayer business. After the party was over, Buffy and Angel made a quick sweep through the cemeteries and returned to the house where to Buffy's great surprise, her mother gave a permission for Angel to stay the night. She wasn't going to look into the gift horse's mouth but she knew it had to have some kind of purpose.

Buffy and Joyce were sitting in the living room as Angel was doing the dishes, after making a large breakfast he had insisted on cleaning up since he didn't have much to do during the day. Buffy turned to look at her mother expectantly, she could feel she wanted to say something but didn't know how to voice it.

"Honey, I've been thinking. Dawn's school is doing some construction work, and for some Lord know what reason, they have decided to give the students the week off. So I was thinking, you could take Dawn to stay with you and Angel for few days, she could see her father and shop for school clothes", Joyce said, raising a crooked smile to Buffy's face.

"So the reason you let Angel stay for the night wasn't because of his gourmet breakfast", she teased and received a chastising look from her mother.

"Buffy", Joyce sighed with a slight smile.

"I was only teasing, mom. Dawn can stay with us. Cordy can look after her while I'm on class", Buffy promised, she wasn't going to tell her mother the real reason why she was so willing to take her little sister to stay with her. The demon attack had frightened her and she wanted to keep a more close eye on Dawn. 'Cordelia is going to be so thrilled', she thought to herself with a sarcastic tone. She knew Angel wouldn't mind but doubted Cordelia was going to thank her for babysitting duty.

"That's wonderful, honey. Dawn will be thrilled. And it will do her good to see her father after such a long time", Joyce said with a wide smile, pulling Buffy out of her thoughts. She was about to say that she doubted Dawn would meet their father since she had been living in LA and hadn't had the chance to see him, but she kept quiet, not willing to spoil her mother's good mood.

"How have you been feeling? Still having headaches?" she changed the subject.

"I'm fine, the medication is working time to time. I'm going to some tests on Tuesday."

"Tests? What tests?" Buffy asked rapidly getting worried. Joyce offered her a comforting smile.

"Nothing to worry about. They're just going to do some new blood tests", she assured her daughter.

"They're gonna take blood, again? Soon you won't have any left."

"Honey, you're worried about nothing. It's probably nothing, just a precaution", Joyce tried to calm her down, placing a comforting hand over her hand.

"But..." Buffy tried to protest but was interrupted by her mother. "Stop worrying so much, you already have the weight of the world on your shoulders, I don't want to be another burden. I'm fine. The headaches are milder and farther in between."

Buffy let out a petulant sigh but didn't push further, she didn't want to put any more stress on her mother. Angel appeared to the doorway and the two women turned to look at him.

"Hey. Mom asked us to take Dawn to stay with us for few days, you don't mind, do you?" Buffy questioned and Angel shook his head.

"Of course not", he answered, earning a bright smile from Buffy. She jumped to her feet and happily strode to him.

"A sweet guy, who can cook and even does the dishes, you're quite a catch you know", she said with a crooked smile and rose to her tiptoes to kiss him. Uncomfortable about signs of affection in front of her mother, he cut the kiss short and stepped back, placing his hands into his pockets. Buffy chuckled at his action but understood his uneasiness, her mother was sitting just some feet away.

"I think I should go get your dinner", she stated in a quiet voice and grabbed her jacket.

"You don't have to", Angel started to protest, the thought of feeding in front of other people made him even more uncomfortable than kissing Buffy in front of her mother.

"When is the last time you ate, huh? Yesterday morning? I'm getting you some blood", she said still keeping her voice hushed enough so her mother couldn't hear. She turned to her mother. "I'm gonna make a quick run at the store, do you need anything?"

"No, I don't think so", Joyce answered with a smile. Buffy nodded and left, carefully opening the door so there wouldn't be much sunlight coming inside.

XXX

Dawn strode through the office doors with Buffy and Angel trailing behind her, carrying heavy bags. "You didn't need to back your whole room, you're staying just few days", Buffy said after her.

"Just because you're fashion challenged doesn't mean I have to be", Dawn shot back and started looking around herself, finally going to the elevator.

"I think we should follow her before she breaks something", Buffy stated and headed towards the stairs as Dawn had already occupied the elevator. When they reached the apartment, Dawn was going through the refrigerator.

"You don't have any food in here, only blood", she pointed out.

"There should be tomatoes and cheese. And crackers in the cabinet", Buffy said, setting the bags on the floor and walking into the kitchen. Dawn didn't seem satisfied with her answer.

"I'll make you a bed and stop by a store, get the evening snack and breakfast, we can get the dinner tomorrow while shopping."

Dawn instantly brightened, she was nearly bouncing on her feet at the thought of getting to shop in LA. "Oh, I can't wait to get new clothes!" she exclaimed giddily.

"I know. But try to remember we're on a budget", Buffy reminded her and received a glare shot her way, but it wasn't enough to damper Dawn's good mood.

"I have to call Cordelia, we'll go get the groceries after that, okay?" Buffy suggested.

"Fine", Dawn sighed and settled to the couch, starting to flip through the channels on the television Buffy had convinced Angel to get, not that they ever had the time to actually watch it. Buffy grabbed the phone and went to the bedroom to talk in private. She sat down to the bed, dialing the number and waited till Cordelia answered.

"Hey... It's Buffy... Yeah, we're back. I was just calling that Dawn is going to be staying here for a few days... No, nothing is coming after her here... No... I just wanted to make sure you know when you come to work tomorrow given you've never seen her before... Yeah, that was pretty much it... Okay, I'll hang up now. Bye."

Buffy hung up the phone shaking her head, sometimes she felt like when she was talking to Cordelia, she was making another conversation in her head. With a sigh she got off the bed and made her way to the kitchen, seeing Dawn still sitting on the couch, laughing at something on TV.

XXX

Cordelia came to work, once on time. She noticed the teenage girl by the desk, flipping through some magazine with a bored expression but figuring it was the glow ball girl, she ignored the girl and walked to her bosses girlfriend.

"Aren't you supposed to be in class already?" she questioned without the usual 'good morning', she was still pissed that the couple had again packed up and left to Sunnyhell leaving her to look after the shop, sure it was just for two days but that was no excuse.

"Good morning to you too, Cordelia", Buffy said back and kept sipping her coffee.

"So how was what's her name's party?" Cordelia asked not very interested on the matter.

"Tara", Buffy reminded her and Cordelia shot her a 'and I care why...'-look.

"We almost got killed by invisible marrow sucking demons", Dawn said helpfully and Cordelia scrunched her face in disgust.

"So business as usual", she stated going to her desk that Dawn had finally abandoned.

"Okay, I gotta head out to class. I know this is a big favor to ask but... Could you watch after Dawn while I'm out?" Buffy asked Cordelia with her best begging look.

"What do I look like, a babysitter?!"

"I don't need a babysitter!" Dawn protested with a scowl, earning a similar look at her way from her sister.

"Yes you do!" Buffy shot back with her hands on her hips and turned pleadingly to Cordelia.

"Fine, I'll look after her. On the condition, I get to shop for my date clothes on work time", Cordelia bargained.

"Okay. She needs school clothes anyway", Buffy gave in.

"She's right here!" Dawn reminded them of her presence, annoyed that they talked about her like she wasn't in the room. Buffy turned to her sister.

"My last class ends at four. Try not to get into trouble", she said before grabbing her bag and heading to the door.

"I'm not going to get into trouble!" Dawn protested and Buffy didn't say anything back, just sent her a knowing look and left. "I don't get into trouble that much", Dawn muttered to herself, pouting petulantly.

XXX

Dawn was giving Buffy and Angel very detailed introduction into every item she bought on her shopping spree with Cordelia. Unfortunately Angel wasn't all that interested in knowing how Dawn saw some blouse on the window and why the color was perfect on her and how the popular kids in school would die after seeing her wearing it.

"I think I have to check something with Cordelia before she leaves", he stated and looked at the two women as if asking for permission.

"Go ahead, escape", Buffy whispered to him with a smile. Angel got up and headed upstairs, hearing Dawn continuing where she left off as if he hadn't left.

He found Cordelia in the office, applying make up. "You look nice", he stated from behind her and managed to startle her, in the process making her smear her lipstick to her cheek. She spun around, giving him a quick glare before turning back to the mirror.

"And now I look like the Joker", she stated, wiping the stain off.

"Sorry."

"Hopefully I'm still too young and carefree for a heart attack. Would it kill you to hum a little tune when sneaking up on people?"

"I don't hum", Angel stated and went through the files, frowning. "I'm confused here. Why is Mrs. Bensen filed under P?" he questioned and Cordelia turned, walking to him and looking at the file.

"That's not a P that's an F. Or possibly an R", Cordelia answered, her face scrunching as she started thinking about what letter it was.

"I don't know. Maybe we could be a little less young and carefree with the filing?" Angel suggested only to be ignored like he hadn't said anything.

"Oh, it's an F. I remember now", Cordelia stated, the realization hitting her.

"All right, so... Why is Mrs. Bensen filed under F?" Angel asked not understanding her way of thinking.

"Because she is from France. Remember what a pain she was?" "

Yeah. She made me want to drink a lot", Angel answered, not remembering the case with fondness.

"Well, that's the French for you", Cordelia stated like everything was explained. Buffy walked into the office breathing a sigh of relief as Dawn was packing away her new clothes, if she didn't know better, she'd think Dawn was on speed.

"You have a little lipstick on your cheek", Buffy pointed out and quickly Cordelia started wiping it away.

"So, what time are you going to your..." Buffy started asking when the door opened and Wesley walked in.

"Hello everyone. I was just in the neighborhood, patrolling with my new Bavarian fighting axe", he said proudly and pulled out a axe from behind his back. "...when I suddenly thought that perhaps Cordelia has had a vision, perhaps you need my help in the battle against evil", he continued.

"We seem to be evil free at the moment", Cordelia stated shrugging her shoulders.

"I also packed along a Word Puzzle 3-D, if you have the nerve to take me on", Wesley said pulling the game from his bag.

"Gee, Wesley, I'd love to but unlike you, I'm not in my 80's quite yet", Cordelia said sarcastically.

"I'll play", Dawn said from the door, pulling Wesley's gaze to her.

"You remember Dawn, don't you, Wes", Buffy said pointedly, grilling her eyes into him.

"Umm... Yes, of course, Dawn", Wesley stumbled, understanding that Buffy must have had a point even though he couldn't recall any meeting with the teenage girl.

"Hey, Wes", Dawn greeted with a smile. Wesley gave her a nod of acknowledgment and turned his attention back to the other members of the group, making a note ask about Dawn as soon as he had the chance.

"So how about a couple of rounds of Word Puzzle 3-D?" he asked waving the game in front of the group.

"Again, I have a life", Cordelia stated.

"If shaking your booty at the latest trendy hot spot is your idea of a life, then call me..." Wesley started to say but was interrupted when two women walked through the door. "...sick with envy", he finished the sentence. The other woman looked at Wesley up and down.

"Hi, I'm Sarina. Nice axe", she said and Wesley laughed like a school boy in front of a girl he had a crush on.

"Oh this old thing..." Wesley played it off, swinging the ax from side to side till accidentally striking it to the wall. He tried to pull it off, not succeeding.

"We're late. Wilson practically had to have phone sex with the manager at Lounge La Brea to get us in", Sarina said to Cordelia.

"Oh. How do I look?" Cordelia asked spinning around to show her outfit.

"Like you always do. Wilson won't be able to take his eyes off of you", Sarina assured her.

"Who's Wilson?" Angel questioned.

"Christopher", Sarina added helpfully. "Christopher Wilson?" Angel asked.

"Wilson Christopher", the blond with Sarina stated.

"No! The ethno-archeologist from Brandeis?" Wesley asked ready to get excited.

"The fashion photographer from LA who's been seeing Cordelia. Third times the charm", Sarina explained, giving Cordelia a look before turning back to Wesley. "And that Hugh Grant thing is really starting to work for me."

"So, you've been seeing someone. How come I didn't know?" Angel questioned Cordelia.

"Because I'm ashamed of you", she answered flippantly, turning to look at Buffy before adding, "All of you. Not to mention how you'd embarrass me by giving him the third degree."

"Your boss could give me the third degree anytime", the blond said looking at Angel up and down, not noticing the glares Buffy and Dawn were sending her way. Buffy was about to speak, put the woman in her place, when Cordelia grabbed her head in pain and fell to the floor. Noticing the vision coming, Angel knocked down papers to the floor and said, "Cordelia, grab that file. Sorry."

Wesley hurried to the desk and started gathering the papers from the floor as Cordelia was writhing from the pain behind the table. Buffy went to her, quickly taking a medicine bottle from the desk drawer and keeping Cordelia's head from banging to the floor as she violently shook from the force of the vision.

"So, La Brea. Sounds like that could be an evening", Angel started, leaning against the desk. Wesley got up from the floor and stood next to him, they both covered the two women from sight. "...with all sorts of evening type... I heard the bands there are..." Angel continued to stumble with words, trying to stall the girls.

"They don't have any bands", Sarina stated.

"Which I like. Because if it's too loud..."

"Want to come?" the blond asked and Buffy's head shot up.

"Oh, I think I may be busy. Beside... I.. umm, I don't lounge all that well", Angel answered.

"Good one! Oh, yes. No, he's no lounger, this one", Wesley laughed placing his arm over Angel's shoulder.

"The good ones are always gay", Sarina stated to the blond and Buffy let out a amused laugh, it appeared she didn't have to resort to jealous violence after all. Quickly Wesley let go of Angel, embarrassed of the situation and not knowing what to do with himself.

"Cor, tick, tock", Sarina reminded impatiently. Buffy handed Cordelia a painkiller which she gladly took. "Thanks", she whispered and got up to her feet straightening her clothes.

"So, that client I'm supposed to be meeting tonight... What's he like again?" Angel asked turning to Cordelia.

"Like a big baby hatching from a big egg with really large hands, in need of a manicure. You're meeting him here", she answered and handed him a piece of paper with a address on it. After that Cordelia and her two friends left.

Angel grabbed his coat, ready to go but Buffy hesitated, looking at Dawn, not willing to leave her alone. "I don't suppose you need any help, slaying the big baby creature, do you?" Wesley questioned following the busy vampire.

"You could look after Dawn while we're out", Buffy suggested contemplating the idea. Angel walked to her, placing his hands on her shoulders.

"How about Wesley and I take care of the demon, you can have some quality time with your sister", he suggested and Wesley practically beamed at the prospect of getting to come along. Buffy glanced at her former watcher, resisting the need to roll her eyes at him.

"Fine. But promise you'll be careful", she amended.

"Of course", he said and placed a soft kiss to her lips. He grabbed his sword and walked out the door with Wesley following.

"Her sister?" he questioned just realizing what Dawn had been called.

XXX

Angel and Wesley walked into the apartment, both splattered with yellow goo. Buffy lifted her gaze from the book she had been reading and let out a short laugh after seeing the two men.

"Rough day at the office?" she asked with a chuckle.

"We caught a Tahval demon ready to hatch, it was quite a fight", Wesley said proudly, there was still a good smear of the demons fluid on his cheek.

"Well, by the looks of you two, I'm glad I was on babysitting duty", she stated and got up from the couch. She could hear Dawn huffing in irritation but for once she didn't say anything. Buffy walked to Angel, inspecting his smeared clothes, not seeing any holes in them.

"I think I'm gonna go wash up, I believe the demons blood is starting to smell", Wesley stated and headed to the bathroom.

"Hey", Buffy whispered in greeting and rose to her tiptoes, giving Angel a soft kiss, carefully avoiding getting any demon goo into her own clothes, a talent she mastered after much practice.

"Gross", Dawn said from behind them, wrinkling her nose.

"I think you should take a shower", Buffy stated after pulling away from the kiss.

"You're probably right", he said, he could smell the drying demon blood and it wasn't a pleasant scent. As on cue, Wesley walked out of the bathroom, joining rest of the group.

"Hey Wes, wanna play the Word Puzzle? I'm so gonna kick your ass", Dawn questioned waving the game as a prize.

"I accept your challenge, young lady. But let me warn you, I am unbeatable", Wesley said and headed to the kitchen.

"That remains to be seen, watcher", Dawn said squinting her eyes like in an old western and laughed not able to keep a straight face.

"Buffy, do you want to play?" Wesley asked but Buffy shook her head.

"No, you crazy kids go ahead", she said and followed Angel to the bedroom, not seeing the tongue Dawn showed her.

"Did you tell Wesley about Dawn?" Buffy asked Angel in a hushed tone.

"I didn't tell him much", he answered. Buffy glanced at her sister and former watcher, then turned her gaze back to Angel. "That's probably safest for everyone", she stated.

"But he's curious."

"I figured. But how much should we tell him? After some torture he would be singing like a bird."

"Buffy, he's changed since Sunnydale", Angel chastised her.

"I know. But this is my sister's life we're talking about", she answered and again turned to look at the two people in question.

XXX

At noon Buffy walked into the office finding a blanket draped over the chair and Angel pulling his jacket on. He turned to look at her, clearly surprised to see her. "What are you doing here?" he asked glancing at the clock on the wall.

"Free period, remember. And where are you going in the middle of the day?" she asked with a raised eyebrow, looking at him pointedly.

"Cordelia hasn't shown up for work today and she doesn't answer her phone", Wesley answered as he walked into the room with Dawn following. He had spent the night on the couch as he had fallen asleep during one of his games with Dawn.

"That's weird", Buffy stated to herself, usually Cordelia was late for work but she didn't just not show up at all, at least not without calling.

"We're on our way to check her apartment", Dawn explained helpfully, glad to get out of the apartment. Really, how many times can you play Word Puzzle 3-D?!

The group left the office with Wesley driving Angel's car and Angel himself hiding under a blanket. When they arrived their destination, Angel was the first out of the car, dashing out of the sunlight. Angel knocked on the door.

"Cordelia!?" he called out but there was nothing. "Why hasn't she answered the phone, it's after noon, she must be home", he stated to himself.

"Maybe she just unplugged her phone? Or maybe she spent the night somewhere else?" Wesley suggested.

"Cordelia?!" Angel yelled again and once there was no answer, he forced the door handle down and walked in.

"Or we could make a breaking and entering", Wesley stated following Angel into the apartment.

"Oh God, she's dead!" Dawn gasped.

"Angel's been here before", Buffy calmed her down, walking past her looking around herself at the apartment, to her relief there was no signs of struggling.

"So she might not be dead", Dawn stated.

"Cordelia?" Buffy called out. "I'm getting a bad feeling here", Angel stated.

"I thought it was just me", Wesley said peering into the kitchen.

"This isn't like her."

"Avoiding her responsibilities? Lately it seems quite like her", Wesley stated remembering the fact that she had given them the wrong address, it had nearly let the Tahval demon to get free in the world. Angel walked to the bedroom with the group following.

"I'm sure it'll all work out once we..." Wesley kept talking as they walked into the room but then he saw her laying on the bed, clearly very pregnant and looking miserable. "Mother of God", he gasped.

"Angel?" Cordelia whispered, not looking up. "It's alright. We're here", Angel said calmingly.

"I'm ready to wake up now. I.. I don't seem to be.. waking up", Cordelia said with misery marring her voice. She finally looked up. "Help me."

Angel walked closer to her and sat to the edge of the bed. "We're going to. What do you remember?"

"Well, we went to the club. And Wilson and I just sort of hid out on this couch and we talked and talked, and then he drove me home and I asked him in. He was really nice. And we... you know? It was normal. He was normal and it was safe, it was... it was all really safe!" she explained nearly in tears, not understanding how it all had happened.

"It's okay. Have you talked to Wilson?" Angel asked softly.

"No, I haven't talked to anyone. What would I say to him, 'I had a really great time. I think you left something at my place'? I don't think this is right."

Buffy grabbed the phone from the night table and offered it to Cordelia. "You should call him, he might have some answers to what is happening to you", she encouraged but Cordelia shook her head vehemently.

"I can't", she choked out.

"Just dial his number and I'll talk to him", Angel said and took the phone from Buffy, handing it to Cordelia. She dialed the number and handed to phone back to Angel.

"I'm being punished", she said, her eyes glistering with tears she wouldn't shed.

"You're not being punished", Buffy answered sternly but still keeping her voice nonthreatening.

"We'll get to the bottom of this, I promise", Wesley said. Angel hung up the phone after hearing it was disconnected and there was no new number. He turned to Cordelia.

"He's not answering right now", he lied, there was no need to upset her further. "I want you to rest, and we're going to handle this. You're not alone", he assured her.

"That's sort of the problem, isn't it?" she said looking down at her swollen stomach.

"I'm gonna make some calls, try to get a hold of Wilson", Angel said and Cordelia nodded. He got up from the bed and walked out of the room, Wesley following him out. Buffy sat next to Cordelia as the door closed.

"Are you okay?" she asked and Cordelia shook her head. "No."

"We're gonna find out what's going on. Everything's going to work out", Buffy promised, she had never seen her high school tormentor so vulnerable.

"I know", Cordelia whispered and closed her eyes as if it would block the nightmare away.

"Cordy, I'm gonna go talk to Angel. I'll be back", she said tentatively and Cordelia nodded her head, not opening her eyes. Buffy got up and walked to the door, stopping next to Dawn. "Can you stay with her?" she asked and Dawn nodded. Buffy gave her a small smile and walked out, finding Angel just hanging up the phone.

"Any luck with your contact?" Wesley asked as Angel set the phone down.

"Wilson's home and business phones have been disconnected, no unlisted numbers, no forwarding addresses, no criminal record."

"Well, that's something", Wesley sighed.

"But not enough", Buffy stated.

"I'm guessing it's some kind of procrea-parasitic demon", Angel speculated.

"A demon who can only reproduce by implanting a human woman with its seed. Yes, I've heard of such entities. But the human mothers..."

"Rarely survive labor. And the ones that do, wish they hadn't", Angel finished for Wesley.

"Not good", Buffy muttered with a heavy frown.

"If she's that pregnant in one night, she could give birth at any moment", Wesley stated and all three frowned.

"What exactly is she going to give birth?" Buffy voiced the question that was on everyone's mind.

"We have to move fast. Wesley, you're gonna have to see what's inside her", Angel said and Wesley looked taken back.

"I beg your pardon?" he cried out.

"I think Angel meant like taking her to an prenatal exam", Buffy assured him, then turned to Angel. Right?"

Angel chuckled and nodded his head. "Yeah, that's what I meant", he confirmed.

"What about you?" Wesley asked still embarrassed from the confusion.

"I'm going to find Daddy", he stated and turned to Buffy. "And you're going back to class."

"No, I'm not. I think this is more important than the two classes I have left", she stated sternly and Angel could see there was no use in debating with her.

"Fine. I'll see you later", he said, pressed a quick kiss to her lips and left. Buffy turned to Wesley, quickly glancing at the bedroom door.

"Is it bad that I'm actually a little jealous of her pregnancy. I know, demon spawn and all that but... one day I would like a miniature Angel but I know that's not happening", she questioned with a frown.

"No, it's not wrong", Wesley assured her.

"Just don't tell Angel, he already feels bad about not being able to have kids and go into sunlight-thing", Buffy warned him, she knew if Angel heard her, he would go guilt tripping before she could even say his name.

"I promise to keep your secret."

"Ookay, I guess we should get Cordy to the hospital", she stated with a frown, hospital was not a place she was looking forward on visiting.

They went to the bedroom. "Did you know Cordelia lives with a ghost. That's so cool!" Dawn exclaimed excitedly. "

Yeah, we know", Buffy answered and made her way to Cordelia. "Cordy, you need to get dressed, we'll take you to a hospital", Buffy said tentatively.

Cordelia turned to look at her sharply, her eyes widening in alarm. "Hospital?!"

"Just for a prenatal exam", Buffy assured her. She seemed to calm down a bit and started to awkwardly climb out of the bed.

XXX

Angel headed to the bar of the club Cordelia had gone to. He waited till the bartender turned around, slightly startling at seeing him. "Sorry, I didn't see you there", the bartender stated.

"I get that a lot", Angel shrugged it off.

"What can I get you?" the bartender asked.

"I need some help."

"I'm kinda busy", the man shot him down, ready to go back to work.

"Yeah, I know. I won't take much of your time. A friend of mine was here last night. Her name is Cordelia, big smile, real pretty."

"Yeah, we get a lot of that", the bartender stated and continued his work. Angel pulled out few bills from his pocket, folding one of them and laying it down on the bar surface. "What's this?" the man questioned looking at Angel and the bill in turns.

"Probably an insult. I'm guessing that you're serving drinks day and night to jerks that think that they can buy anything."

"That be a good guess", the bartender answered.

"One of those jerks hurt my friend. I need to find him fast. Wilson Christopher." The bartender nodded in recognition. "I want to know who his friends are, where they hang..."

"Pretty much where ever Sarina tells them to. They travel in packs. The guys have the money, the girls have the pretty. The girls decide what club's the flavor of the month and Sarina rules the girls", the bartender told him. Angel nodded and turned to leave.

"Thanks."

"You're her boyfriend?" the man questioned as a afterthought.

"No. I'm family", Angel answered and headed to the phones to call one of his contacts to find out where Sarina lived.

XXX

Buffy and Dawn were keeping company to Cordelia while Wesley was trying to get them in to meet the doctor. If the normal Cordelia was difficult, the pregnant one was impossible. Buffy was enjoying the silence when a pregnant woman leaned closer to Cordelia and broke it.

"Do you know what it is?"

Cordelia's head spun to look at the woman with slitted eyes. "Boy or girl?" the woman clarified but didn't get an answer.

Wesley came half-running to the group of women and sat close to Cordelia. "Shouldn't be long now", he stated and leaned closer. "I told them that it was rather urgent", he whispered and Cordelia sent a irritated glare at his way. Deciding it was safer to keep the distance, he pulled back and kept quiet.

"You're carrying low. I bet it's..." the woman said and reached for Cordelia's stomach.

"Shut up! Don't touch me!" Cordelia yelled at the woman, jumping back out of reach. Everyone looked startled but it was Buffy who recovered first.

"She's under a lot of stress", she told the woman who nodded in understanding but still looked at the pregnant Cordelia warily. Thankfully it wasn't a long wait till they got to the examination room.

"Just the mother and the father", the doctor said to Buffy and Dawn as they followed Cordelia and Wesley.

"We're her sisters and we're coming", Buffy stated sternly, getting a skeptic look from the doctor.

"They're coming too", Cordelia said with her no negotiation voice as Wesley helped her to get up to the exam table. With a sigh, the doctor closed the door and started the examination.

"You're what, eight and a half months along?" the doctor questioned.

"Feels like only yesterday, doesn't it?" Wesley stated, rubbing her shoulder comfortingly.

"Well, I see you left a lot of blanks on the patient information form. It would help to have the name of your previous doctor", the doctor said looking through the papers.

"You're the only doctor we've been to..." Cordelia started but was interrupted by Wesley. "...in California. We just moved here from England."

"All of you?" the doctor questioned, looking at the two women beside Wesley.

"No, we live here", Buffy stated.

"So, how are you feeling?" the doctor asked turning back to Cordelia while the nurse prepared the equipment.

"I'm as big as a house, everything hurts, I..." she started to answer, getting irritated very fast.

"That's all normal at this stage. And once your little one comes out, which will probably be in no time, you'll feel a lot better", the doctor assured her but it didn't make her feel any better.

"God, it's a nightmare", she sighed shaking her head. "Hormones", Wesley whispered the explanation.

"All right, Mrs. Penborn, why don't you lie back and see what's baking in the oven?" the doctor said deciding to ignore the future mother. Cordelia lied down, keeping a firm hold on Wesley's hand as the doctor spread the gel. "Hmm, looks like somebody is having twins", he stated looking at the monitor.

"Twins?!" the group cried out.

"No, there is a third heartbeat. And another one."

Cordelia was getting anxious. Sharing the feeling, Buffy glanced at the brunette before making her way behind the doctor and looking at the screen. "Five... six..." the doctor kept on counting. Wesley and Dawn joined them to look at the screen.

"What is it? What's wrong?" Cordelia questioned seeing the alarmed looks.

"Wow, that's better birth control advert than anything they show on PE", Dawn stated and Buffy gave her a chastising look.

"I'm sure it's nothing. But I... I'd like to withdraw a little of the amniotic fluid just.. just to make sure that everything is... shipshape. So, nurse, if you would prep Mrs. Penborn right away?" the doctor assured and the nurse did as she was told. The doctor took out a large needle and turned to Cordelia.

"I need to tell you that there is a point 5% chance of miscarriage from the procedure. Now, it's a very small risk..." he started but Cordelia cut in. "I'll take it."

"Now, you'll feel a pinch. Just count backwards from five and we'll be done", the doctor instructed and pushed the needle into her, making Buffy cringe.

"5... 4... 3... 2... 1... 1... 1... 1!" Cordelia counted her voice getting louder on each number.

"All done. Now, that wasn't too bad, was it? We'll just run a few tests..." the doctor said after handing the syringe to the nurse.

"Dr. Wasserman?" the nurse called out in alarm as the syringe started to crack. She dropped it to the floor and in no time it burned through the floor. The doctor looked at the floor, not knowing what to do. "Umm... Excuse me", he said and quickly exited the room with the nurse following.

"You saw what's inside of me? Right?" Cordelia questioned.

"I think we should find Angel", Wesley stated and Cordelia looked at him with slitted eyes.

"Wesley! Buffy! Please just tell me!" she commanded. "Cordy..." Buffy tried with a calming tone, not knowing what more to say.

"I just need to know. Do they look healthy?" Cordelia asked looking at Wesley with hopeful eyes. 'This is so not good' was the first thought in Buffy's head.

XXX

They got Cordelia to the apartment and Wesley stayed with her at the bedroom as Buffy tried to get a hold on Angel, though sometimes she doubted he knew how to answer to a cellphone, or at least there was a large possibility he didn't remember owning one. She sighed in relief as he walked down the stairs.

"Any luck?" she asked in a hushed tone.

"Some. I found Sarina, she's a victim too. Just as big as Cordelia. Wilson's rich buddies are in on it. Four of them, maybe more. I don't know how many women they've impregnated", he answered and headed to the desk, starting to flip through a phone book.

Wesley walked into the room. "You're back", he stated and then pulled out a picture from the ultrasound. "The situation is worse than you know. The ultra sound shows seven heartbeats. At least, maybe more. And with multiple pregnancies…" Wesley didn't finish the thought.

"Someone is raising an army", Angel stated thoughtfully. "Of what?" Buffy asked frowning.

"Good question. We need to find the fathers."

"Gun clubs?" Wesley questioned looking at the page Angel was reading. Buffy frowned and turned to him.

"Guns? Nah-ah. How many times do you have to get shot till you learn you and guns means you get shot!" she tried to stop him but he just gave her a look and started explaining.

"Sarina said Wilson and his buddies hang out at some private gun club. Guns and Cigars. She doesn't know where exactly. While I find them you should be narrowing down the species, maybe we can figure out a way to terminate this without hurting the women."

"And if we can't?" Wesley asked, not liking the possibility.

"Then we need to know what to do once they're born", Angel stated and started towards the stairs with Buffy and Wesley following on his heels.

"Yes, well, it must not come to that. The odds of Cordelia even surviving the birth are..." Wesley was saying when they noticed Cordelia in the kitchen, shoving a chunk of cheese into her mouth and drinking blood from a container. Angel grimaced at the sight.

"I don't think I ever realized just how disgusting that was", he stated and Buffy couldn't agree more, something about the sight of Cordelia drinking blood with some of it dripping down her chin, was making her stomach squeezy. She could handle vampires feeding, she didn't even notice Angel's drinking, she could be covered in demon blood and not get too disgusted by it but the sight Cordelia was making, was something else.

"Get her back to bed. Order her a pizza or something", Angel said tearing his eyes off of her.

"Did someone say pizza?" Dawn questioned giddily, jumping to her feet and making her way to the group. But then she saw Cordelia. "Gross! Goodbye, pizza", she said quickly walking away.

Cordelia put down the container and wiped the blood to the sleeve of her shirt. She looked at the group unfazed and walked past them. "I was hungry" , she stated and went back to the bedroom.

"We ran out of actual food this morning", Buffy explained, still grimacing at the sight she'd seen.

XXX

Angel walked into the gun club and found Wilson on the shooting range, just finishing. He casually leaned to the stall wall and waited for the man to notice him. Wilson turned around, startling as he saw Angel.

"You shouldn't sneak up on people like that in here. That's how accidents happen", he warned while changing a new clip into his gun.

"Speaking of accidents. I'm a friend of Cordelia Chase", Angel stated.

"This is a private club. Featured word: private."

"If you don't talk to me, I'll kick your ass. Featured word: ass", Angel shot back.

"Angel, right? Her boss?" Wilson questioned and raised his gun to Angel's head. "She told me all about you", he added. In a blink of an eye, Angel grabbed the gun, making him drop it before he took him into a chokehold.

"Yeah? Well, somehow I doubt that", he stated and threw the dirtbag against a pillar. "You're human, so you can't be the father. So you and your friends are just a link", he ground out, barely keeping his demon in check, he had already lost Doyle and been close to loosing Buffy, he wasn't going to loose Cordelia too. He tightened his hold on the man's shirt and struck him against the hard surface behind him.

"How does it work? Those things come to term, she'll die. You do know that?"

"So? I'm not telling you anything", Wilson scoffed, still confident.

"I was so hoping you'd say that", Angel stated and hit him hard. The man tried to fight back but it was in vain, Angel blocked his attempts and kneed him hard before hitting him again, making him fall down to the ground. Wilson's accomplices rushed into the room but Angel ignored them at the moment and concentrated on punching the idiot in front of him.

"Hey! Someone's mommy didn't teach him to play nice", one of the three men stated. Angel stopped and let Wilson climb up to his feet.

"You have no idea what you're dealing with", he threatened and Angel wanted to roll his eyes, why did he keep repeating that.

"You know, I'm starting to get the big picture here. You guys proxy for big daddy demon, he imbues you with his life force or whatever it is you're implanting in these women", Angel stated.

"He has trouble finding his own dates. We just... help him out a little. That's all", one of the man said. "Shut up, Jason!" Wilson commanded.

"And you get what in return, fame, money, success? That's it, isn't it? How else would losers like you get ahead? I mean, you'd have to become procreative surrogates for a vile demonic entity", Angel said.

"Well, mostly I do it for the sex", Jason prided with a smirk.

"Welcome to Los Angeles. There are worse things to be in business with", Wilson said and Angel suppressed a growl. He walked right in front of Wilson and ground out, "Where is he? Where is this demon you worship?"

"Even if we did tell you where to find him, it wouldn't matter, since you're about to have an accident", Wilson said with a smirk and pushed Angel back, grabbing the gun the other guy threw at him and shot Angel three times in the chest. Angel dropped down to his knees groaning in pain.

"I really don't like it when people shoot me", Angel stated growling in full game face and kicked the gun out of Wilson's hand. He got rid of the men easily in no time and ended the fight by kicking Wilson through a glass door. He stepped over the scraps of the door on stepped on his face.

"Now you're going to tell me what I need to know", he stated, putting little more pressure on his foot as a emphasis.

XXX

Wesley was hunched over the desk with magnifying glass in his hand and a book and the ultrasound picture spread in front of him.

"Not very pretty guy, is he", Buffy stated with a grimace, looking at the drawn picture of the demon. "Yes, certainly not", Wesley agreed.

"That's him, isn't it?" Cordelia questioned from behind them, startling them both. She picked up the book and ran her finger along the lines of the picture.

"I ask that you not overreact. Keep in mind that oft times these 16th century engravers tended to exaggerate..." Wesley tried to calm her down but stopped to look at her as there were no signs of worry. She just looked at him and closed the book. Then suddenly she hit Buffy with it, knocking her unconscious to the ground.

"Buffy!" Dawn cried out, jumping to her feet in the living room.

"You're not going to hurt my babies", Cordelia stated and hit Wesley, knocking him down. She turned sharply and grabbed Dawn, dragging her along with her despite the young girls struggling.

"No one is going to hurt my babies!" Cordelia swore and threw Dawn into a closet, bolting the door closed.

XXX

Buffy groaned in pain as she started to wake up with a blinding headache. She looked around herself, not seeing Cordelia but finding unconscious Wesley lying next to the desk.

"Dawn!" she called out in alarm, frantically looking for her sister. "Buffy!" Dawn's muffled voice called back and she started pounding the closet door. Buffy sighed in relief and quickly let her sister out.

"You okay?" she questioned and Dawn nodded. They went back to Wesley, shaking him awake.

"Maybe we should throw cold water on him", Dawn suggested, receiving a chastising look from Buffy. Wesley used that moment to come back to consciousness.

"What are those books made of? Stone?" Buffy questioned sternly, she really didn't appreciate the headache she was still having.

"Yes, well, no", Wesley answered still a little confused. He grabbed the phone as it started ringing next to him on the floor. "Hello?"

"Wesley, it's Angel", came Angel's voice from the other end. Wesley mouthed his name to Buffy and slowly got off the floor he was still sitting.

"Angel, thank God", he breathed out in relief.

"I found Wilson. Whatever it is Cordelia is carrying around inside her, he's not the father", Angel stated, groaning in pain as he pulled out a bullet from his flesh.

"I know. It's a Hacksaw beast, an inner earth demon. And we have a problem. Cordelia ran off."

"Is Buffy and Dawn okay?" Angel questioned as soon as he heard what Wesley said.

"Yes, they are both perfectly fine. Cordelia became insanely protective when I identified the Hacksaw as the father of her... her... I fear she may have gone off to rendezvous with it", Wesley explained, picking up the book Cordelia had used to batter them with. Buffy stepped behind him, hovering closely to hear what Angel was saying. Wesley tried to chase her farther away but she just gave him a glare and he gave up, he had been hit over the head once already.

"She has. Miliken Industrial Park in Reseda, that's where Wilson and his friends built their shrine", Angel stated.

"How does Cordelia know that?" Wesley questioned, trying to find the answer from the text of the book.

"She's telepathically linked to its unborn. That's how it's controlling Cordelia", Angel answered, placing the third bloody bullet next to the phone book.

"Of course, a psychic umbilical cord. The Hacksaw's telepathic connection is what's sustaining its unborn spawn", Wesley said practically flogging himself for not realizing it before.

"So, all we have to do is cut the cord?" Buffy questioned with a raised eyebrow.

"We slay this demon and no more evil pregnancies. We can end this without harming the women but there is just one tiny problem", he said to the phone, talking to Angel and Buffy at the same time.

"What's that?" Angel asked.

"Well, I don't wish to use the words: impossible to kill. But fire won't kill it, decapitation won't. And it's really huge", Wesley answered with a frown.

"Wesley, can you shoot straight?" Angel asked and Wesley stood straighter, clearly baffled by the question. "Beg your pardon?"

Buffy stepped back and went to Dawn. "Dawnie, we're going to go get Cordelia, but you have to stay here. Lock the doors and don't let anyone in. You hear me?"

"Yeah, yeah", Dawn answered, getting a hard look from her sister.

"Dawn. Promise me", Buffy pressed. Dawn let out a tired sigh and stared at Buffy with slitted eyes.

"I promise."

Wesley hung up the phone and headed to the weapons cabinet. He grabbed a casing and pulled a pistol out of it. Buffy frowned, there had been a gun in the apartment and she hadn't even known about it. They went up the stairs with Dawn following.

"Lock the door", Buffy said through the door and waited for the click of the lock. "Did you lock it?" she questioned, trying the handle.

"Yeah, I locked it!" Dawn yelled tiredly from the other side, she was getting tired of the overprotective sister.

They went outside to Wesley's motorbike and he climbed on it, a sight that hadn't seized to amuse her, then he offered her the hot pink spare helmet. Buffy looked at it as if it was something poisonous, then directed her gaze to his.

"Come on now. We don't have all evening."

She shot a glare at his way and grudgingly took the helmet, putting it on and climbing behind him on the bike. He drove them to the warehouse and as soon as they had stopped, she pulled the helmet off.

"Ygh! I've never been that humiliated in my life", she griped while climbing off the bike.

"I don't think it is that embarrassing", he protested.

"Okay, maybe not. But very close", she shot back and threw the helmet to him, quickly making her way to where she saw Angel standing with a large cannister that had Liquid Nitrogen written on the side.

"Buffy", he whispered her name as he noticed the forming bruise on her face. He reached for it and ran his fingers along her cheek.

"Angel, I'm fine", she said with a reassuring smile, then her eyes landed on the bullet holes and blood on his shirt. "And you got shot again!" she accused. He just looked at her innocently and she rolled her eyes, who could resist those soulful, dark chocolate eyes.

Wesley joined them and Angel turned his gaze to him. "You got the gun?" he asked and Wesley nodded in confirmation. "Okay, let's crash a baby shower", he stated and grabbed the cannister from the ground.

Buffy and Angel waited by the doorway as Wesley tried to lure the demon out of his hiding place. As the demon stepped in to the open, Angel kicked the cannister down the ramp and casually walked after it with Buffy following.

"Sorry we're late to the baby shower. We brought a little gift", Angel stated and with Buffy's help, picked up the tank and they threw it at the demon. The demon caught it and Wesley shot the tank causing the demon to drop it as fog started pouring out of it. The women in the smelling water screamed in pain and everything just seemed to stop as the demon had frozen in place. Buffy walked to Wesley and took the gun from him, shooting the frozen demon, shattering it to pieces.

Wesley helped Cordelia out of the murky water, her pregnant stomach was gone but she didn't look happy to be soaked from the smelling water. "Are you alright?" he asked tentatively and Cordelia shot him a glare.

"I hate dating", she griped, then her eyes widened in realization. "Hope that didn't leave any stretch marks", she added with a frown.

XXX

Wesley made sure the women got to their homes and Buffy and Angel got Cordelia to her apartment, giving her few days off. After making sure Cordelia was alright, they returned to the apartment.

"Dawn, open the door", Buffy said through the door, maybe it was a little absentminded of her but she had forgotten the key while leaving with Wesley.

"You told me not to open the door to anyone", Dawn said from the other side. "Dawn!" Buffy sighed tiredly and finally the girl in question opened the door.

"Did you save Cordelia?" she asked. "Yeah. She's home", Buffy answered and they walked down the stairs into the apartment. The phone was ringing and Angel went to answer it.

"So she didn't give birth to a heard of demons spawns?"

"No, we killed the demon", Buffy answered tiredly. Angel came to the two girls and handed the phone to Dawn. "Your mother wants to talk to you", he stated and with a smile Dawn took it.

"Hey, mom", Dawn answered to the phone and went to the bedroom to talk in private. Buffy looked after her sister who was animatedly talking to their mother and she forced down the jealousy that was threatening to surface. She shook it away and turned to Angel with a frown on her face.

"I just hope she doesn't tell mom what happened", Buffy stated, then let out a dry laugh. "We can dream."

She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned, finding Dawn pointing her with the phone. "Mom wants to talk to you", Dawn stated and handed Buffy the phone. With a wary look, she answered it and soon after grimaced.

"I know, mom... No I didn't... Look at the bright side, at least you don't have to do the safe sex speech to her", she offered and grimaced, turning her gaze to Angel, he eyes screaming for help.

.

To be continued...


A/N: I know, Family was before Fool for love (which was last chapter's re-write) but I took some liberties...