A/N: Just an idea that I had that wouldn't leave me alone, so here it is! Takes place many years post Chosen/NFA.
Disclaimer: Anything recognizable from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Angel belongs to the creators of the show and not me. Brody, Hallie, and Liam are my little creations though.
Buffy peered up at the rear view mirror to peek at her son sitting in his car seat behind her. "Yeah, sweetie?"
"Why don't I have a middle name?" Liam asked her in a surprisingly inquisitive voice for a 3 year old.
Buffy turned her attention back to the road as she thought about what her son had asked her. Was he really only wondering why he didn't have a middle name? It seemed a normal question for any other parent to be asked, but for the son of the slayer and the ex-Scourge of Europe it seemed just a little too normal. Buffy was always preparing herself to answer the tough questions. "Why does Uncle Xander have an eye patch?" or "Why can't my friends Aunt's do magic?" and her personal favorite, "Why do Daddy and Spike hate each other?"
Buffy raised an eyebrow at her son's odd question and asked with a small chuckle, "Why do you want to know?"
She could just imagine Liam scrunching up his face in wonder as he thought hard. It was a face that Angel said reminded him of Buffy in high school when they were doing research in the library and Giles would use his big words that just made her head spin.
After a few moments of silence Liam answered, "Well, Brody and Hal have them…why not me?" he finished in a tiny voice. "Are they better than me?"
Buffy felt her heart sink into her stomach as her son said the words. She fought back the urge to just pull over the car and wrap him in her arms and tell him how much she did love him, but California's speeding highway did not allow for such an event to happen.
Leave it to Liam to be the insecure one. Buffy could completely understand why he felt that way. Brody was the firstborn son. Enough said. Everyone thought Buffy and Angel couldn't have children until Brody came along, and he knew it, and took full advantage of the extra attention. Brody had his mother's eyes, looked exactly like his father, and wanted to be just like him too. The head of the family, the protector of his younger siblings, the head honcho.
Hallie was the first girl, so that got her extra attention as well, especially among the women of Buffy and Angel's family and friends. As soon as she was born Dawn and Willow spent hours chatting excitedly about buying her pretty dresses and taking her for manicures and giving her makeovers…well Hallie couldn't want those things any less. She was fiercely independent (like her mother), was frustratingly strong willed (again, like her mother), and made it clear that she didn't need anyone to pamper her (also…like her mother). She was adventurous and a dare-devil and it really didn't help that her god parents were Faith and Connor and they took every chance they got to plant ridiculous ideas in her head. Buffy honestly didn't know what she was thinking when she picked Hallie's god parents. Maybe it was because Hallie was an especially hard delivery and she was so drugged up afterward that the first two people who visited where going to be her new daughter's god parents, and it just so happened to be Faith and Connor. What a dangerous combination. Buffy was surprised that Angel didn't question her decision; she figured he was just scared to say anything at that point. Amazing what fourteen hours of labor and some heavy duty drugs can do to a person.
While Brody was a mini-Angel and Hallie looked just like a younger version of Buffy, Liam was a pleasant combination of the two. He was born a few weeks early so was a little small for his age, and was much quieter and more thoughtful than his older siblings. He was fiercely close to Buffy and was at her side every chance he got, usually because Angel was dealing with whatever mess Brody and Hallie had gotten themselves into this week. Buffy swore that he was going to be a bookworm when he learned how to read since his god parents, Giles and Dawn, were already giving him stacks and stacks of books.
Buffy stopped reminiscing and brought herself back to the present and her son's heartbreaking question. "No baby, don't ever think that!" she told him. "Your Daddy and I love you all so much, probably more than most parents love their kids."
"So…why didn't you give me a middle name?" Liam asked. Buffy sighed. Always a thinker, this one.
But really, why didn't Liam have a middle name? Buffy thought back to her and Angel's decisions in naming their children. Brody Alexander O'Connor's godparents were Xander and Willow, so his middle name was after Xander. Buffy remembered being a little nervous suggesting this to Angel, given his and Xander's past, but the two had been getting along much better in the past few years so he liked the idea. Maybe the reason they got along so well now was because Xander couldn't call Angel "Dead Boy" anymore. As for his first name, Buffy just really liked the name Brody and it was Irish, so Angel couldn't complain.
Hallie Katherine O'Connor got her middle name from Angel's long-ago sister. Buffy was once again nervous in suggesting this idea, well aware of the painful memories it would bring up for Angel. But after some thought, he decided that he liked it, that it was a way of honoring his younger sister and associating her name with a happy memory. What better happy memory than Angel's only daughter? The name Hallie came from a song that Buffy loved and said reminded her of the bittersweet times she and Angel shared while she was in high school.
But Liam was another story. Buffy thought back to the moment when her youngest son was named…
"He's so tiny," Buffy said in a hoarse whisper.
"The doctor said he's going to be fine, Buffy," Angel whispered and then planted a kiss on his wife's damp forehead. The exhausted parents looked down at their son all bundled up in blue blankets as he slept in his mother's arms. A few moments of silence passed before Angel whispered with a quiet chuckle, "You know, we're going to have to name him at some point. You still haven't told me what you're thinking."
Unlike Buffy and Angel's previous children, they hadn't had everything down to the name and middle name of the baby picked out well in advance to the birth. Buffy sat for a few more minutes in silence, starting down at her baby boy before she said anything.
"Liam." She spoke so softly that Angel wasn't sure she actually said anything at all. Silence filled the dim hospital room once again as Angel thought about what she said. Liam wasn't exactly the best person in the world…did he really want to name his son after someone like that?
"Buffy…I don't know…" Angel said warily.
"Angel, this is your chance to make right what Liam did wrong. Your chance to make sure there's a Liam O'Connor out there who does good, you can be the father to him that you never had. His life doesn't have to end in an alley," Buffy finished sadly.
She was right, Angel admitted to himself. He could make sure that this Liam O'Connor was raised right, with a family that he knew loved him with everything they had.
Angel made his decision and said quietly with a smile, "Okay."
"Liam, you don't have a middle name because you're named after your father, and he didn't have one either," Buffy finally told him.
"But Daddy's name is Angel," Liam said, his confused face coming back.
This is a conversation Buffy knew she was going to have with him sooner or later. "Angel is just his…nickname," So he didn't need to know all the details, not right away at least. "His parents named him Liam though, just like how we named you Liam." When he didn't say anything else, Buffy continued. "You're father is a great person, Liam. Aren't you proud to be named after him?"
"Yeah…" he said quietly, not really buying it.
Buffy sighed and tried the one approach she knew would cheer him up. "You know, we didn't give you a middle name because we didn't want Brody and Hallie to get jealous." She peered at him again in the rear view mirror. Liam snapped his eyes to her and Buffy knew she had his attention now.
"Really?" he asked, full of renewed hope.
"Oh yeah. Your name has the most meaning out of everyone's. It makes you even more special. We wouldn't want your brother and sister to get jealous if we added a middle name on top of that, now would we?" Buffy explained, smirking.
A slow smile spread across Liam's face as he thought about what his Mom said. So he really was the most important one! He knew it! All those times when he felt overshadowed by his big brother and sister seemed forgotten as Liam thought of the real importance he carried with his name.
Reviews are much appreciated! Oh and bonus points to anyone who can identify the song Buffy got Hallie's name from. Hint: it's on the P.S. I Love You soundtrack :)