Disclaimer: Sadly, not mine, never have been mine, never will
Rating: G – there is absolutely nothing troubling here.
Distribution: Anyone who has any of my other stories, go ahead. Anyone else, just ask.
Author's Notes: Some part of me was a bit annoyed that Angel's son still doesn't have a name. And then my mind just ran amok with this and wouldn't let me sleep! I guess I needed some more concrete Angel and baby moments, so here goes. My first ever short, Angel only, immediately following episode, story. Apologies to my B/A loving readers, but hopefully you'll find this enjoyable anyway.
Feedback: Is absolutely adored! You had to ask?
The baby did not cry in newborn distress as he was expected to do. He hadn't for long in the alley after his abrupt, violent birth, and he still didn't in the quiet near-darkness of Angel's rooms. In fact, he seemed to be just as confused about his situation as his father was. No one had thought this child could ever be born. Maybe, Angel mused, his son hadn't really expected to be born, either.
He held the child like the absolutely precious, fragile thing that he was as he wiped him clean with a warm washcloth. Angel wiped away all the proof of the infant's unlikely birth. The washcloth now held the dirt and rainwater from the alley ground, but more telling still was the sheen of vampire dust from the baby's mother. Angel's sire, the mother of his son…Darla. Angel was still too overwhelmed by the events of the night to come up with any sort of emotional response to it all.
Clean now and warm, Angel wrapped the infant in a dry towel. The tiny newborn made soft, meaningless baby noises at him and waved his tiny arms. Angel took gentle hold of one of those hands, and watched in amazement as the baby's fist curled reflexively around his finger. Such a tiny, incredible, impossible life that he held, perfect down to the fingernails that were almost too tiny to see. Impossible… Miracle.
Angel looked up at a soft knock on his room's open door. "Wes," he said softly in greeting.
The British man hesitated for a moment before entering the suite. "I see your rooms survived without the same damage as the lobby," he observed.
Angel just nodded. He carried the infant over to the bed and sat down. He could not tear his eyes away from the child for a moment.
"How is he?" Wesley asked.
Angel's gaze was locked on his son's face. "He's alive," he said, a touch of wonder creeping into his voice.
Wesley smiled slightly. "I see that."
Angel looked up at him again to give him the more complete answer he wanted. "You'd never know he almost died tonight," he said. "His heart beat is strong…. And he seems completely human." There was no logic whatsoever to that fact.
"Yes, well, one of us should probably take him to be checked out by a doctor tomorrow," Wesley said.
"The Nazian scrolls are gone." Wesley's pronouncement was abrupt.
Angel just nodded again.
"This is important, Angel," Wesley reminded him. "Without those scrolls, we have no clue as to the destiny of this child. If this is going to bring about the end of mankind…."
"Would you stop that?" Angel demanded.
"No, Wes. I'm not going to let these prophecies determine my son's life. I refuse to believe that there are no possibilities for him. He has a soul, and that means he has a choice. A chance."
"Angel," Wesley tried again. "This is a child born of two vampires. It's…not natural. Destiny…."
"Screw destiny," Angel retorted. "Come here."
Wesley came to stand beside Angel, a confused and frustrated look on his face. Seconds later, he found himself holding the infant whether he wanted to be or not.
"Just look at him for a second," Angel said. "Look at him, and then I want you to try to tell me that he's evil once again."
Wesley looked at the infant and his expression softened. "He is quite something, isn't he?"
"Yeah," Angel agreed, his tone rather awed.
"How cute. A Kodak moment." A second later there actually was a camera flash, startling both vampire and ex-Watcher.
Standing in the doorway, Fred giggled. She had a disposable camera in one hand.
"You're back," Wesley said.
Standing behind Fred, Gunn nodded. "Thank goodness for 24 hour grocery stores," he said.
Fred came quickly into the room. "Can I hold him?" she asked, sitting beside Angel on the bed.
Angel watched with some trepidation as Wesley handed the infant to Fred. She smiled and bounced him slightly in her arms, and Angel relaxed. "Hey, little one," she said happily.
"Where's Cordelia?" Angel asked Gunn after a moment.
"Downstairs," he said, smiling slightly. "She's trying to figure out how to prepare a baby bottle."
Still holding the baby, Fred stood.
"Fred," Angel began nervously.
"I'll be careful with him," she promised. She crossed the room to Gunn. "Your turn," she insisted.
Gunn held up his hands and backed away slightly. "No way," he said. "I don't know nothing about no babies."
Angel frowned to himself. "That makes the whole group of us," he said. "Unless…one of you hasn't told me something."
All three of them shook their heads, and Angel couldn't help but sigh.
"What is it?" Wesley asked.
Angel looked at him helplessly. "I don't know how to be a father," he said abruptly, feeling a touch of panic he hadn't known before. "I'm not ready for this. I don't know what to do. How am I supposed to raise a human child?"
"You can start by feeding the poor thing," Cordelia interrupted, arriving in the doorway.
Angel looked up at her, startled. She had a baby bottle in one hand, a dishtowel in the other, and was slightly splattered with baby formula.
"Next time, you get to do it," she declared. She looked at Fred. "Time to give Wonder Kid back to his father."
Fred carefully placed the bundled infant back in Angel's arms, and then Cordelia handed him the baby bottle. Angel looked at them both helplessly. "What…? I…?"
Cordelia just looked at him. "I'm sure you'll figure it out," she said. "You both will."
And Cordelia was right. After a couple of seconds and a bit of hesitation on both his and the baby's parts, the newborn was sucking away on the bottle. Angel couldn't help but give a small smile.
"See?" Fred said suddenly. "You're doing great already."
"You love him," Fred pointed out. "That's enough, right?"
Wesley joined in, to Angel's surprise. "And we all know you will protect him. There is no one else more qualified to do so."
"You think so?" Angel asked hopefully.
Cordelia made a sudden sound of frustration. "This is ridiculous," she said once everyone's attention was on her.
"Cordelia?" Angel asked, alarmed.
"We can't keep just calling him 'him' or 'it,' Angel," she said.
"He needs a name," Fred finished.
Angel swallowed. "It's been a bit crazy lately," he said. "I haven't exactly had time to think of something."
"You've got time now," Fred pointed out.
Angel looked at the infant once again. He was falling asleep now, just sucking occasionally. "I don't know," he admitted.
"Well, don't you dare name him Angel, Jr. or something," Gunn spoke up. "Because that's just cruel."
"That's not Angel's human name, anyway," Wesley volunteered. "If he was going to be a namesake…."
Angel couldn't help but look at him in surprise.
Wesley caught the look and was a bit embarrassed. "I had to do extensive research on you, Angel," he said. "You know that."
Angel was silent for a moment. "I'd just as soon that name died with me," he said. "It doesn't seem to be exactly lucky."
"How about family names?" Fred suggested. "I mean, maybe your father or somebody…?"
"While we're on dead people, we could throw in Dennis," Cordelia teased.
All attention was on Angel once again.
"You would…?" Cordelia asked, both sad and pleased.
"Well, not 'Doyle,'" Angel said, "because that was his last name…"
"Am I the only one that's confused?" Gunn spoke up.
Looking at the infant again, Angel explained. "Doyle was one of very few real friends I've had. He's also the first one I saw die. He…got me going after I left Sunnydale."
"He had the visions before Cordelia," Wesley added.
Cordelia was smiling very slightly. "I think…it would be nice," she said.
"His first name was Allan," Angel said softly. He looked at his sleeping son. "Do you like Allan?" he asked in a whisper.
The newborn smacked his lips happily in his sleep.
"It's a nice name," Fred said happily.
And Angel just smiled. "Yeah," he said. He placed the bottle on the nightstand and took a moment to admire the sleeping bundle in his arms. He could feel the infant's warmth and heartbeat even through all the layers of fabric. He'd actually created something…created life. "I…I'm a father," he said in wonder.
There was a silent moment from his friends in response. Still uncertain whether this would turn out to be a good thing or not, they didn't know what to say. It was Cordelia who spoke up at last.
"We'll see if you're still as happy about that when you're dealing with two a.m. feedings in the middle of a demon battle," she said, but her tone was light and teasing.
Still smiling, Angel placed his son carefully upon the bed. He'd get a crib tomorrow, but for now this would do. This would be perfect.
He placed a hand lightly on the side of the infant's head. "Goodnight, Allan," he whispered.
And the baby cooed and stretched slightly in his sleep. No matter what anyone else was thinking, Angel knew this child was a miracle. It didn't matter what his destiny was. If his only destiny – for the moment – was to make his father smile, then that was more than enough.
The End! There, I got it out of my system and feel much better now.