Title: Journey

Author: Melohdramatic

Rating: PG-13

Author's Notes: I got the idea to write this after the airing of "Billy". Everything that's happened on Angel from Season One to the end of "Lullaby" happens in this story. What goes on in the show after "Lullaby" won't be added into this story unless I see fit to add it later.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything except for the way Angel's child turns out.

Summary: After the birth of his son, Angel comes closer to humanity and love than ever before.

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"Okay, let's fix your shirt." Cordelia Chase said as she helped him into the sleeves of his plaid button-down. She began to button the shirt, when she noticed a stray hair sticking up on his hand. Not thinking twice, she licked her hand, and leaned in to smooth the hair into place.

"Cordy!!" He whined, trying to pull away but failing miserably. "Stop it!"

"Hold still, okay? I've almost got it." She finally got the hair into place after a few more seconds. "There. Now, that wasn't so bad, wasn't?" Before letting him answer, she went on. "Hand me the backpack."

As she began to settle the backpack on his small shoulders, she asked, "Are you nervous, demon child? It IS your first day of Kindergarten, after all."

"Don't call me that, Cordy!" He pouted. "I'll tell my Daddy on you."

"Oh yeah? And what'll he do?" She taunted, continuing to ready the boy for school.

"Well, he'll fire you, of course."

"Fire me? Are you kidding? Think about it, Journey. I'm Vision Girl. He can't fire me. He NEEDS me."

"Oh, man! You suck."

"Journey!" Cordy scolded. "Don't say 'suck'." She stood up and took him by the hand. "Okay, off to school now. To the Angel-mobile!" She exclaimed, taking the young Angel outside the hotel and to Angel's convertible. After buckling him and getting behind the wheel, she asked, "Hey, what are you supposed to say when they ask what you're pouring into your milk at lunch?"

"Black cherry syrup." Journey repeated.

"Correct. And what do you say if they ask to have some?"

"Um.. 'Sorry, but I can't. My daddy told me not to.'"

"Good job, kiddo." Cordelia praised and continued to ask questions as she drove the six blocks to the school. She pulled into a parking spot nearest the playground and got out. She walked over to the passenger side and helped Journey out of the car. "Okay, take my hand, and I'll take you to your teacher."

But Journey shook his head. "I'd like to do this by myself, if you don't mind, Cordy."

She knelt and looked straight into his eyes. "Are you sure, J? Cause I can walk you over there, no problem."

"No. I want to do it alone. I'll be okay." He reached out and hugged her. "This is where we go our separate ways."



Cordy squeezed him tight. "All right, J. I'll see you after school. Don't-"

"Don't get into anyone else's car unless you're the one driving it." Journey finished. "Now, show me who's my teacher and where to walk." After Cordelia showed him, Journey turned and began walking. "Bye Cordelia!" He called back over his shoulder. "I love you."

Cordy smiled. "I love you too." She watched him walk over to his teacher, who sent him of to play on the playground. Cordelia followed his every move with her eyes. She knew she should be getting back, but she just couldn't bring herself to leave Journey in a strange place.

Journey, always a friendly kid, walked his little backpacked self to the nearest group of boys. And as she watched him converse with the boys, she felt herself being pulled back in time to the very start of Journey's young life.

~~~

*I still remember the night he came into the world--to us-- with startling clarity. We were unsure of what to do, what to think. And for a while there, we weren't even sure if he was going to be born after all. I remember that after escaping a burning Caritas, I had gone with Wesley, Lorne, and Gunn to get Angel's car, so I wasn't there for the actual birth. But when we pulled up in front of the alley, and I saw the lack of Darla and the bundle in Angel's arms, I knew he'd come to us.

That night, when Angel held his son in his arms(after we'd rescued him from Holtz, of course), I'll never forget the look on his face. His eyes lit up, a smile filled his face. He looked so happy-overjoyed, even. Though, not happy in a "I'm going to bite you" sort of way; it was more like he was past that. He was genuinely happy, with no consequences. No turning into Angelus, no going schizo, nothing. It was like they were finally(finally!) allowing him to be happy.

All of us were mooning over the baby at the time, that I don't think that many of us realized that Darla was finally dead. Of course, Angel knew. He wasn't totally upset by the fact that she was gone, as her vampire death finally shut that door to his past, but you could tell that her vamp death had affected him. We took the baby home to the headquarters, and we all stayed there that night, watching over him. At some point, someone(I believe it was Fred) asked what Angel was going to name it.*

Angel looked down at the baby cradled in his arms. "I don't really know.. I haven't really thought about it." He looked around at his friends. "Any suggestions?"

"OH my God!" Cordelia said loudly, grabbing her head and beginning to slip into vision-mode.

"Cordy!" Angel exclaimed, reaching for her, and startling the baby, who started to cry.

Cordelia didn't feel Angel and Wesley helping her to a nearby chair. She was enthralled in what she was being shown. She saw such good things to become of this baby. He was destined to do so much good, to ease so much pain. But the vision told her that it wasn't going to be an easy battle; that he'd have a long journey ahead of him. Like his father. And Cordy was struck with inspiration.

"What'd you see?" Wesley asked over the loud wail of the baby.

Cordelia ignored him. "Angel.. let me hold him."

"Cordelia," Angel began, while trying unsuccessfully to stop the baby's cries. "What did you see?"

"Just hand me the kid." Cordelia demanded. "I made him cry, and I'll make him stop."

Angel looked at Wesley and Gunn, who shrugged their shoulders. "Okay." He placed the child in Cordelia's arms, and immediately, the wailing ceased. Angel's jaw dropped. "How did you-?"

Cordelia smiled softly as the baby went back to sleep. "His name should be Journey."

"Journey?" Angel asked, as he stepped behind Cordelia to look over her shoulder at his son. He seemed to mull it over in his head before repeating, "Baby Journey."

~~~

*And then there was the whole birth certificate caper.*

"Let's see." Wesley said, looking over the birth certificate in his hands. "We have almost everything needed. All that's left is for Angel to pick out a surname for Journey and for the parents to sign it." Wesley looked up. "You could use your human surname, Angel, although it'd probably be archaic."

"No. I'd rather him not have my name. I don't need another reminder of what I used to be." Angel handed Journey to Cordelia and walked over to Wesley. "I'll have to think about the name thing. But I could go ahead and sign it and someone can forge Darla's signature."

Wesley began to hand the birth certificate, which they'd had signed by a half demon doctor and nurse, to Angel. Then, he stopped. "Wait. You're dead."

The room got silent. Finally, Gunn blurted out. "So, he's dead. You've known this for years, English. What else is new?"

Wesley sighed. "What's new is that he can't sign a birth certificate. The unliving cannot have children, Gunn."

"Oh." Gunn replied flatly. "Yeah, guess you're right."

Angel shook his head sadly. "Now what are we supposed to do?"

"Well, he has to have a birth certificate, Angel." Fred added.

"There's got to be some way..." Cordelia trailed off softly, staring at the sleeping babe in her arms.

Silence filled the room as they all turned their eyes to Journey. After a few minutes, Angel's eyes moved from his son to Cordelia. "There is."

"There is what?" Cordy asked.

"There is a way." Angel answered, crossing the room to be by her side.

"And?" Cordy prompted.

"You." Angel told her as he gently took his son from her.

"Me? What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about you being Journey's mother---just on paper, of course."

"I'm not following."

"Listen, Cordelia," Wesley told her. "We'll write you down on the birth certificate as Journey's mother. But in reality, you'll be anything but. Angel accepts sole responsibility of Journey, though I'm sure we'll all help out from time to time."

"Yes, exactly." Angel agreed. "And then, he'd have a surname-Chase. Journey Chase. Doesn't it have a nice ring to it?"

Cordelia wrinkled her nose. "Not really."

"Oh, come on, Cordy!"

"Angel, Angel! Think about what you're saying. I'd have LEGAL CUSTODY of this child. Which means, though he's yours and you're going to take care of him, I can do whatever I want to him. I could make him wear girl clothes every day and there wouldn't be a thing you could do about it. I could move across country with him and you couldn't stop me. Because in a court of law, I'd be his mother. He'd be LEGALLY mine. Are you SURE you'd want to endanger this child like that?"

"Dude, girl's gotta point." Gunn interjected.

Angel looked at Cordelia for a few minutes. Finally, he said, "You wouldn't do that. You wouldn't do a thing to hurt Journey."

"Wanna bet?" Cordy asked. "Obviously, you don't know me."

"No, I DO know you. And that's how I know that you wouldn't harm this child in any way, shape, or form." Cordelia shifted her eyes from him and crossed her arms. He went on. "I'm right, aren't I?"

Cordelia sighed. "Maybe."

"And actually, you'd like to do this. You'd like to be Journey's legal guardian, wouldn't you?"

Cordelia sighed again. "Maybe."

"So you'll do it?" Angel waved the baby in front of her. "Oh, come on. You can't say no to this, can you?"

Cordelia looked from father to son before responding, "Fine. I'll do it." And as an afterthought, she added, "But I'm only doing this because I want to make sure this boy gets some sunshine."

Angel's face lit up with a smile. Well.. it lit up as much as an Angel smile would. "Thanks so much, Cordelia." On impulse, he leaned over and kissed her cheek. "You won't regret this."

"God, I hope not." Cordelia breathed.

* * *

*Wow. When Angel kissed me, I didn't know what to think. It was odd-he'd never really hugged me that often and then, wham! A kiss on the cheek? I have to admit that I was a little stunned. sort of like I am NOW.*

TBC