Disclaimer: "Angel", along with all related characters and concepts, was created by Joss Whedon and Co., so they don't belong to me, while "Charmed" characters and concepts belong to Constance M Burge. Anyway, enjoy
Feedback: As always, I'd appreciate it
The Love of a Vampire
"You hired a new guy for the agency?" Piper said, looking at Paige incredulously as the three sisters sat in P3; it had been a while since they'd all been able to spare the time to catch up, with Phoebe's column and business at the club taking up most of their, but Paige had managed to arrange this meeting to discuss recent events at the agency while Angel and Wesley were investigating Doyle's latest vision and Doyle continued to recuperate at his apartment.
"What's the problem?" Paige asked, shrugging as she looked at her sisters. "He's aware of the supernatural, he brings skills and experience that we don't have already to the table, and he's willing to help out; even if he didn't help us rescue Doyle, that other stuff's got to count in his favour, right?"
"And the fact that he got fired from an organisation that pays him to fight evil because he screwed up means... what to you?" Phoebe asked, looking sceptically at her sister.
"Look, Wesley admitted that he made a mess of his time at the Watcher's Council, but it sounded like that was as much because of his Slayer being a bitch as it was because he screwed up himself; we're just looking for him to serve as our research expert rather than just have him be a mentor or teacher or something like that, so he's not going ot have to make any 'command decisions' at this point," Paige explained, glaring slightly at Phoebe; she respected her sisters' experience in fighting demons, but that didn't mean that she would just blindly accept their judgement, particularly when Paige was the one who was actually involved in the agency. "He's the research guy, but he's comfortable not being a leader when working in a group after the mess he made of things with his Slayer; we're giving him a chance to earn his confidence back without putting him in a position of authority where he might have to make judgement calls he's uncertain about making."
"And the fact that he doesn't know that Angel isn't human yet is because...?" Piper asked, looking pointedly at her sister.
"Because we want him to see Angel as a person before we reveal that he's a vampire," Paige clarified, shrugging slightly at her sister's question; they might have had some bad experiences with Angel and Cole keeping their heritages secret in the past, but after she'd kept quiet about Doyle for this long Paige felt justified in providing this explanation for keeping Wesley ignorant of the truth about Angel for the moment. "That's Angel for you; he's come a long way, but he wants to be sure anyone working with him will judge him for him, rather than assume that he's nothing but another vampire."
"Well… no offence intended to your boyfriend, but considering how dumb some of them are, that makes sense," Piper said, smiling slightly at Paige. "I mean, looking back at some of the minions Angelus sent after us, I wonder if he ever seriously thought that any of those vampires could kill us; half the time they were practically walking into our stakes, and that's before I showed up..."
It was an exaggeration of the scale of the vampire-related threats they'd faced when Angelus had been active- Paige could only think of a few occasions when they'd fought vampires other than Angelus, Spike or Drusilla, discounting those occasions where they'd fought large groups-, but Paige appreciated the sentiment; the average vampire just tended to dive in and look for food, with only a few really giving the impression that they were taking their time and hunting for less obvious prey while they built up their own resources.
For a moment, the three sisters sat in contemplative silence, sipping at their drinks as they reflected on this news out of a lack of anything else to say on the topic at the moment, until Phoebe stood up.
"Sorry to cut this short, but I've got to dash; I promised to help a few old friends make up the numbers," she said, smiling over at her sisters.
"Make up the numbers?" Piper repeated inquiringly.
"They've been trying to get a group date organised with some people and they couldn't find a fourth girl for it, so they got in touch with me and I figured, why the hell not?" Phoebe clarified, smiling at her sister. "I've got to get back in the game sometime, so when you get this kind of opportunity, be stupid not to take it, right?"
"In other words, you might want this," Paige said, pulling out some keys and tossing them to Phoebe.
"What-?" Phoebe asked, looking at the keys in surprise.
"My keys to Angel's place," Paige explained with a slight smile. "If you want privacy, that's your best bet; I can call Angel and get him to go to the manor once he's done with the case, assuming my room's still available?"
"You know it is," Phoebe said, smiling reassuringly at Paige before looking curiously at her sister. "But why...?"
"Look, no offence, but if you're looking for what you imply you're looking for on this date, you're not coming back to the manor with some guy," Piper said, looking firmly at Phoebe while answering the question for Paige. "You want to get back in the game, that's great, but I'm not exposing my son to that kind of activity just yet..."
"OK, no problem," Phoebe said, smiling in understanding at her sister. "Probably for the best, anyway; Serena made it pretty clear these guys wanted someone new and unseen for some reason..."
"Huh?" Paige asked, looking at her inquiringly. "Why'd you-?"
"It's Wilson Christopher," Phoebe explained. "I think I can put up with a little eccentricity when it's someone like that."
"Wils- hold on, isn't he that photographer?" Paige said, snapping her fingers in inspiration as the name's origins struck her, before she looked curiously at her sister. "And you're thinking he won't recognise-?"
"He works for a different magazine; he won't know me," Phoebe clarified, shrugging nonchalantly at her sister in the dismissive manner she always assumed when discussing her recent photoshoot before she turned around. "Well, excuse me; I've gotta bail."
With that said, Phoebe turned and hurried out of the club, leaving her sisters to look at each other with a slight shrug.
"She won't even date this guy at my club?" Piper said. "What does that say about the relationship?"
"That she doesn't want to put too much pressure on it too soon," Paige said. "And after the way things went with Cole and that Miles guy, I can't say I blame her for wanting to keep Wilson out of our lives at the moment."
"Point..." Piper said, sighing as she looked back at her younger sister. "I guess we can't exactly blame her; Phoebe's always been the most... varied romantic."
"Varied?" Paige asked, looking curiously at her sister.
"Well," Piper began, "I've been with Leo, on and off, since pretty much he started as our Whitelighter- I mean, even when we were broken up we weren't exactly off, even if we were trying to kid ourselves otherwise-, and then Prue only had one or two serious relationships after she became a witch- everything else lasted for a few dates and that was it-, and you've been with Angel since we learned what he is and didn't date anyone else when he was Angelus, but Phoebe..."
"Bit more varied than that, huh?" Paige asked, smiling sympathetically at Piper as she remembered a few past instances where her old schoolfriends had been going on far more dates than her, even if they'd never rubbed her face in it…
"It's not that she's easy or anything, she's just... willing to be more open early on than we are, I guess," Piper said, sighing as she looked at her drink for a moment, lost in thought, before she sighed and stood up. "Anyway, I'd better get home; Wyatt gets cranky if he doesn't see me before he nods off."
Paige nodded in understanding at Piper as her eldest sister walked off, leaving her to glance at her watch and wonder if she had time to get another drink before Angel arrived to pick her up after the vision situation had been resolved.
That was the problem with making a living fighting evil, really; it might be exciting, but it made it a real pain trying to schedule dates, even if the fact that they were both fighting evil made it easy for Angel and Paige to apologise for it.
Seriously, Paige didn't know how anyone in this life would cope with dating someone who wasn't aware of magic; it would be practically impossible to give them a good explanation for why they had to dash off all the time.
Still, if Phoebe wanted normality, that was her call; she'd just do what she could to be a supportive sister and hope for the best.
"This just isn't right," Angel said, as he and Paige walked up to the apartment the following morning, a peaceful night having been cut short out after the four in the house realised that Phoebe wasn't home yet when they received a call from the Bay Mirror asking for her location.
"Tell me about it; there's no way Phoebe takes this long to get into work, no matter how good last night was," Paige confirmed- she might want normality, but this wasn't like Phoebe-, knocking impatiently on the door to Angel's apartment, giving anyone inside a moment to answer before Angel simply pulled out his keys and opened the door. "I left her two messages, and we can't exactly ignore the fact that the paper had tried to call her…"
"Phoebe?" Angel said, calling experimentally into the apartment, before walking through the empty hall to head for the bedroom. Opening the door, Paige was initially relieved to see Phoebe sitting there, but her eyes widened in shock at the sight of Phoebe's extended stomach, obviously in a very developed pregnancy that she definitely hadn't had even the slightest hint of the previous night, as she lay in bed, staring tearfully at the shocking anomaly.
"Oh God…" she said, walking over to sit down on the edge of the bed, reaching out to take Phoebe's hand.
"Paige?" Phoebe said, still staring at her belly with a tearful tremor in her voice.
"I'm here," Paige said, squeezing her sister's hand. "And so's Angel."
"I'm… I'm ready to wake up now," Phoebe said, staring at her stomach as though she was struggling not to scream. "I-I don't… seem to be waking up. Help me."
"We're going to," Angel said, looking solemnly at her as he sat down on the other side of the bed. "What do you remember?"
"Well… we went to the club," Phoebe said, swallowing slightly as she spoke. "And Wilson and I just sort of hid out on this couch, and we talked and talked, and then he drove me home- or here, anyway- and I asked him in…"
"And one thing led to another?" Angel asked, careful to keep his tone calm and non-judgemental.
"He was… really nice," Phoebe said, looking tearfully at her extended stomach before looking between her sister and her sister's boyfriend. "And we… it had been a while… but it was normal. He was normal and it was safe, and it… God, how can this be happening again?"
Looking up at Angel, Paige was relieved to see that he at least understood what Phoebe meant by the 'again' comment; Phoebe's pregnancy with the Source's child was an even more awkward subject than whatever Angel remembered of his time as Angleus, but clearly he recalled enough of this experience to know what she was talking about.
"It's… it's OK," Angel said, feeling the inadequacy of the statement even as he and Paige both knew that there was nothing more that could be said right now. "Have you talked to Wilson?"
"And what; asked him if he left something?" Phoebe asked, indicating her impossible stomach. "There's just… I mean, even if he has answers, he's not going to just give them to me…"
"We'll work on that," Angel said, looking grimly at her before he looked up at Paige. "Come on; let's get looking."
"Could you just… give me a moment?" Phoebe asked, looking uncertainly at her stomach. "I just… I need…"
"Sure," Paige said, patting Phoebe awkwardly on the arm before she turned to leave the room, Angel getting her cue and departing ahead of her. "You're not alone."
"That's… kind of the problem right now," Phoebe said, looking awkwardly at her stomach before Paige closed the door, looking anxiously at Angel.
"OK," she said, looking grimly at her boyfriend, "whatever is going on here, I think we can agree that isn't normal or encouraging?"
"To say the least," Angel said, pulling out his phone. "I'll call Darryl and see if he can help us track down this 'Wilson Christopher' guy; you get the others down here as soon as possible."
"Gotcha," Paige said, nodding at her boyfriend/boss even as she suddenly found herself hoping that Doyle wouldn't react too badly to this new development; not only did Phoebe still not know what he was, but now she had another demonic pregnancy to deal with…
"Look," she said, looking uncertainly at Angel, "I get that we can't be sure what we're dealing with here yet- something tells me the list of things that do this isn't exactly short-, but have you… heard of something like that?"
"Demons using humans as mothers?" Angel said, nodding grimly at her. "Yeah, I have; procrea-parasitic demons are rare, but they're not that common, and it's not pleasant."
"By which I take it you mean that the human mothers don't always make it?" Paige asked, her mind flashing to the worst possible scenario in this situation; monsters tearing their way out of expectant mothers because they were literally too big to come out any other way and had the claws and fangs to do so…
"And the ones that do often wish they hadn't," Angel confirmed, his expression grim as he looked over at the room where Phoebe was currently lying.
Following his gaze, Paige clenched her fists, suddenly eager to find the person responsible so that she could unleash all of her fury against the bastard who'd done this to her sister.
She might not have been totally convinced at the practicality of Phoebe's interest in a normal relationship, but that didn't mean that she'd wanted this to happen.