Rating: PG (maybe)
Feedback: Please. Constructive criticism is always welcome.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with BtVS or AtS. (Characters, plots, and dialogue from the shows are borrowed with no infringement intent whatsoever.)
Distribution: Please ask and let me know where it's going.
Summary: Buffy remembers baby Connor. After his return from Quor-Toth she tries to reconcile him with his father.
A/N: I have assumed some things in this story, for instance there was no affair with Spike and Cordelia is still alive and is not in a coma. Also for the sake of this story I have changed some time lines. The story goes AU after the events of 'Dad' in AtS season 3 and 'Bargaining 2' in BtVS season 6.
Most of the time single quotes (' ') indicate a person's thoughts.
Chapter 1 - Baby Connor
When Buffy was first returned to earth thanks to Willow's resurrection spell, she was confused and disoriented and she did not remember much about where she had been, except that she was warm ... and she was loved ... and she was finished. As time passed and her memories began to return, she remembered the people that she was forced to leave behind - her mother, her nana, her cousin Celia, and a sweet little baby boy destined to be named Connor. She remembered the fun times that they had playing games and singing songs.
'I wonder how Connor is doing,' she thought to herself. 'Since Angel hasn't bothered to tell me that he has a son, it is obvious that he doesn't want me to be a part of his son's life. Still, I miss Connor; I wonder if he will remember me. Would it be so bad if I just stopped in for a one time visit?
'Would Angel think that I was trying to intrude on his new life? I don't care; I want to see Connor. I'm going to LA. I won't even spend the night. I'll just see how he is doing and leave.'
Giles had wanted her to go to see a friend of his in LA who might be able to help her adjust. She would use that as an excuse if anyone asked.
Once the decision was made to take a trip to LA, Buffy packed an overnight bag (just in case), let the others know where she was going and took off. At the thought of seeing Connor again she felt lighthearted and happy for the first time since her return.
The drive down to LA took a little over two hours. She parked her car in front of the Hyperion and she could hear a baby crying as she walked through the doors of the hotel. Wesley, Cordelia and two people that she did not recognize were in deep discussion and did not hear her enter. Wesley noticed her first. He turned to look at Cordelia briefly before asking, "Buffy, what are you doing here?"
"Hi, Wesley, I had to come to the city on business and I thought I would stop in to say hello while I was here," Buffy fudged. "Hey, Cordy."
"Buffy, how are you?" Cordelia asked with a nervous smile.
"I'm doing okay," Buffy answered. She was interrupted by a new outburst of a baby crying. "What's wrong with the baby?"
"We don't know; Angel has been trying to get him to… uh" Cordelia caught herself; she had spoken without thinking.
"It's O.K., Cordy, I know about Connor. I've known since the day after he was born."
"Really? How?" Cordelia wanted to know.
Buffy chuckled. "The demon grape vine is alive and well and Willie seems to know everything."
"I forgot about him." Cordelia heard Gunn clear his throat and she introduced him and Fred to Buffy.
Just then, a disheveled Angel came into the room. "I don't know what's wrong with him. He's dry, he's been fed… BUFFY, I…"
"Chill, Angel. Maybe Connor just wants you to sing to him," Buffy said with a smile.
"Oh, no, please don't," Cordelia groaned and the others agreed.
Buffy walked over to Angel and looking at the baby she asked, "May I?"
"Okay, but I have to tell you, he doesn't like strangers," Angel said as he handed the crying baby to her.
"Oh, we're not strangers," Buffy replied absently as she walked over to sit on a couch in the waiting area. Ignoring the others' queries, she started making sounds that they did not recognize; the sounds were beautiful to hear, but neither the tune nor the gibberish sounding words were familiar.
Connor quieted as Buffy continued singing to him; he broke into a big toothless baby grin as he squealed and gurgled with delight. He remembered Buffy. He reached up and patted her on the cheeks and grabbed a handful of her hair when she bent to kiss him on the forehead.
Angel couldn't stand it any longer. "Buffy, what did you mean when you said 'We're not strangers'? How do you know Connor and what did you say to him to make him stop crying?"
Buffy ignored Angel's questions. "He just needed to hear a little of the singing that he missed." She stood, walked over to Angel and tried to give the baby back to him, but Connor started to whimper and refused to let go of her hair. In 'gibberish' she told Connor to 'go to daddy'. The baby gurgled again and went to Angel but kept his eyes on Buffy.
"Okay, Buffy, what is going on? You didn't answer my questions."
Before she could say anything Wesley interrupted. "I think I can answer your questions, Angel. Correct me if I'm wrong, Buffy, but you weren't in hell as we were led to believe, were you? You were in heaven. That is where you met Connor. The language that you were speaking is the language of angels, was it not?"
"That's right. Babies remember that language after they are born, but because no one else knows it to speak it to them by the time they learn to talk they have forgotten it."
"Gods, Buffy, you were actually in heaven? Why didn't you tell me when we met after you were brought back?"
"I had only been back a short time then and I didn't remember everything. My memories had not fully returned."
"I knew that something was different about you, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I knew that you didn't behave like someone who had spent time in hell; it just didn't dawn on me that you were in heaven."
"It didn't dawn on me either," Wesley said, "and since Willow told us that she had retrieved you from a hell dimension, I took that to be true. If I had just considered for a moment, I would have realized differently. You died saving the world; where else would you have gone except heaven?"
"Angel was in hell for hundreds of years, but that was just a short time here; you were dead what, five months? How long was that in heaven?" Cordelia wanted to know.
Without taking her eyes off Connor, Buffy replied softly, "Eons." After hearing sounds of shock and disbelief she looked up and added, "Look guys, don't worry about it. At least I got to go, right? And if I continue to fulfill my duties as a slayer, maybe I'll get to go back." She smiled at them letting them know that she really was okay.
Buffy spent the rest of the afternoon in LA and except for the time when she put him down for a nap, she and Connor were constant companions.
While Connor napped Buffy and Angel had time to talk and to catch up on each others' lives since Angel left Sunnydale. She told him that she knew about the forgotten day, the Shanshu prophecy and that there was no longer a curse on his soul.
He was surprised and pleased at that but his reaction was subdued, not at all what Buffy had expected, had hoped for, and she made the assumption that she knew why.
She had noticed the interaction between Angel and Cordelia and the warm familial atmosphere that existed in the hotel. She felt that since she was not a part of that she had no right to expect anything more than friendship from Angel. After all, that is all that he had offered her when he met her after she returned.
Angel welcomed her into Connor's life and invited her to visit the baby as often as she liked, but he did not suggest the possibility of anything else between himself and Buffy. She was hurt by that but did not allow her true feelings to show; she realized that Angel was moving on with his life and she had to do the same.
Buffy gave Connor a kiss and an 'I love you' goodbye and promised to call him often and to visit him whenever she could; she gave a friendly goodbye and a wave to everyone else. Everyone, including Angel, got the message that she intended, that she was aware that what she and Angel once had was over and that she was okay with it
In her heart she knew that this wasn't true, that her feelings for Angel would never be over, but this was the best way to give Angel the freedom that he seemed to want and still be able to see Connor.
Later that evening after Cordelia and Wesley had left for the day and Angel was upstairs with Connor, Gunn and Fred were alone in the lobby of the hotel unaware that Angel could hear their conversation.
"Man, Buffy is quite a woman," Gunn said thinking out loud.
"She is very pretty," Fred replied looking up from the computer.
"I'm not talking about her looks. I mean, yeah she's a knockout and everything, but I was thinking about all she has been through and still she is more concerned about everybody else than herself. She was ripped out of paradise and she doesn't seem mad about it at all; she just hopes that she can go back.
"If that was me I'd be mad as hell at the people that ripped me out.
"And what is the deal with Angel? I think I've given him too much credit. How can any man in his right mind turn his back on a woman like that? It is obvious that she is still in love with him."
Fred tried to digest everything that Gunn had said. "Cordy told me that he left her so that she could have a normal life. I know that he was still in love with her at one time; remember his reaction when he found out that she had died? Since he came back though it's like he's in love with Cordy now."
"I don't understand it myself," Gunn said. "How can you be in love with one person so much one minute and a few months later you're jonesing for somebody else? It's like he doesn't know what real love is, like he's just after the next available thing."
"I don't think that's it," Fred said, trying to defend Angel.
"Then what is it, Fred?"
"I don't know," she admitted.
Upstairs Angel listened to everything his friends said and thought to himself, 'I know I did the right thing by letting Buffy go; she deserves so much better than me. I just hope that she can find happiness here on earth and that she is granted a return to heaven when the time comes. At least I'll be able to see her when she comes to visit Connor.'
Buffy kept her word and called to speak to Connor every few days. Whenever Connor was unusually cranky, a quick call to her to let him hear her voice over the phone was all it took to have him gurgling happily. Even though they exchanged only the barest of pleasantries, Buffy was always happy to hear Angel's voice on the phone.
She was not surprised when the phone rang one night and the caller ID indicated a call from Angel Investigations. She answered the phone with, "And how is my little man this evening?" At first there was no reply. "Angel?" Still nothing. "Angel, what is the matter? Has something happened to Connor? Is he ill?"
"Angel, please, you're scaring me; what has happened to Connor?" By now Buffy was shouting.
Through tears he told her everything that had happened, about Wesley, Holtz, Wolfram and Hart, his efforts to retrieve Connor, everything. They bonded in their shared grief over the loss of a dear little baby that they both loved.
He turned down her offer to come to LA saying that Connor was gone and there was nothing anyone could do to bring him back; he did, however, accept her offer to call in a few days to check on him.
Chapter 2 - Connor Is Back
Angel couldn't sleep, once again. It was mid-morning and he was still tossing and turning in his bed. One bad scene after another floated through his mind. Where was Connor? How could his own son hate him so much? Even if Connor had tried to kill him outright, this he could understand. He recalled the many times that, as a young man, he had wished that he had the courage to kill his own father.
But Connor had left after his initial appearance at the Hyperion and had been seen only twice since then. Both times he has sworn vengeance against Angel and had promised that he would kill him. 'What had Holtz done to Connor? What kind of human being had he turned an innocent child into? More important than that, how could he help his son? Was Connor beyond help? Where should I start? Can anyone help him?'
These thoughts played over and over in Angel's mind and he did not know where to start. He spent every night looking for his son. He searched roadways and alleys, abandoned buildings and warehouses – nothing.
It was as though his son had disappeared. He knew that was not the case. On rare occasions he caught what he thought was a familiar scent, but it was old. If Connor had been there, he was long gone. Once again he was too late.
Each night he dragged himself back to the Hyperion Hotel bone tired and extremely frustrated. Connor was not used to this world. The police might get the wrong impression and try to arrest him. That would be disastrous. Connor would not allow himself to be captured.
'Maybe Buffy could help… Where did that idea come from? Buffy has her own life now. She doesn't even know that Connor is back.'
More pictures floated through his mind, this time of Buffy's face, smiling, looking at him with love in her eyes. He fell asleep then and for once in a long time he was not thinking of Connor.
Buffy entered her bedroom upon returning from patrol one night and found a note from Willow on her pillow telling her to call Angel right away. He answered on the first ring and what he had to say was the last thing she expected to hear: Connor was back and he was a teenager. She did not hesitate. "I'm coming to LA," she said and hung up the phone before Angel could reply.
Buffy had searched for Connor for three days and had been unsuccessful in finding him. She had come close but he always eluded her. On the fourth night she yelled "Steven!" when she saw him jump from the second floor to the landing of a building only a few yards in front of her. For some reason he stopped and turned to see the owner of the voice. Buffy was desperate; she started to sing one of his favorite baby songs. At first Connor just stared at her without understanding. She continued to sing.
"B-Buffy?" he said haltingly. She smiled and opened her arms to him as she continued singing. He came to her, wrapped her in his arms and kissed her on the forehead and each cheek, part of a game they had often played so long ago.
"You remember," Buffy said through laughter and tears.
"I could never forget you," Connor said also through laughter and tears. "How are you here?"
"Come with me and I'll explain. I'm staying at my father's house; he's away on business."
Buffy sat on the sofa in her father's living room with her arms around Connor who sat beside her with his head on her shoulder and his arms around her. She had shed silent tears and held him closer as he told her about his father (Holtz) and life on Quor-Toth, how he had returned to earth and Holtz's death. She shivered in disgust as she listened.
She tried to collect her thoughts as she listened to Connor. 'I know that it was life on Quor-Toth and the teachings of a madman whose desire was for vengeance that had driven Connor to hate Angel. How can he be saved? How can I help him, help him return to the sweet lovable person that he was meant to be and how can I help him become reconciled with his father (Angel)?'
Her thoughts were interrupted when she realized that Connor had fallen asleep in her arms. With efforts not to awaken him, she straightened him out on the sofa, removed his shoes, covered him with a blanket and tiptoed out of the room.
She called Angel from the bedroom telephone to let him know that Connor was safe and with her; she told him briefly some of what Connor had told her and that she thought it was best that Angel not try to contact his son until he could get over some of his anger and hatred. Connor had made it clear that he did not want to return to the hotel. Angel reluctantly agreed but he was happy that his son was with Buffy.
Buffy heard Connor thrashing about and crying out in his sleep. 'He's having an awful nightmare,' she thought. She went to him, touched his face and hair gently and softly sang one of his favorite songs. He calmed down but did not wake up. 'I wonder if he gets these nightmares every time he tries to sleep,' Buffy thought. It pained her deeply to see him suffer.
Connor woke up about two hours later to the smell of food. He followed the delicious aroma to the kitchen where he found Buffy stirring something in a pot on the stove. "Something smells good," he said looking over her shoulder. She held a wooden spoon to his lips and let him taste the spaghetti sauce.
"Why don't you get a bath while I finish getting the food ready? There are clean towels in the bathroom and I put out some of dad's old clothes for you; they should do until we can go shopping for some of your own."
During and after dinner Buffy and Connor continued to get reacquainted. She told him about being called to be a slayer, about meeting Angel, their affair and separation and life in general in Sunnydale.
He had been told the legend of the slayer by Holtz and was not surprised that Buffy was a slayer. He asked to accompany her when she went on patrol and she agreed. Buffy was pleasantly surprised at Connor's fighting skills; he was strong and fast and they fought together almost as seamlessly as she and Angel did.
Buffy decided to stay in LA with Connor for as long as it took in hopes that she could help him adjust and maybe help him to see Angel in a different light. Since her father was rarely in the US he welcomed her living in his house and he gave her access to his bank account for upkeep and maintenance of his house as well as money for Buffy herself in hopes that she would return to college; he even paid for a car for her.
Chapter 3 - War Then Peace
Several weeks later Buffy received a call from Giles who informed her that she was needed in Sunnydale. She and Connor threw some clothes into the car and headed for Sunnydale right away.
After introductions were made Giles explained that the First was back, the Watchers' Council headquarters had been bombed and watchers and potential slayers everywhere were being slaughtered. Giles had brought the last of the potential slayers to Sunnydale for protection.
Once Buffy saw the severity of the situation she sent her sister, Dawn, to LA to stay with Angel at the Hyperion until the upcoming battle was over.
As the showdown with the First approached Angel, Faith, Wesley and Gunn showed up at Buffy's house to join the fight. Cordelia, Fred and Lorne stayed in LA to protect Dawn if necessary.
Angel brought what he thought might be helpful information and an amulet on a chain that he said should be worn by someone ensouled, but stronger than human, a champion; he assumed that he would be that someone, but Buffy opted to have Spike wear it. Angel was not pleased, but he let it go. Now was not the time for confrontations and a division in the ranks; they had a war to win.
Buffy divided her resources into teams of two each based on their strengths and weaknesses and placed them in strategic locations in the high school, the site of the confrontation. Everyone was aware of the importance of this battle. If they lost, hell would reign on earth. To a person each was determined to fight to the very end to save Sunnydale, to save the world.
Unknown to anyone else Spike and Angel had discussed the amulet and decided that if it required the strength of a champion then the strength of two champions would be even better.
When the amulet started to glow, Spike yelled to Angel and the two of them held onto the chain with the amulet between them. A bright light shot upward from the amulet through the principal's office and out into the sky; it returned with laser-like fierceness and fried all of the First's army. It hit Angel and Spike simultaneously and both screamed and fell to the floor in pain.
Faith yelled for everyone to get out as she, Buffy and Connor helped Angel and Spike to their feet and out of the crumbling building.
Wheezing and gasping for breath Spike and Angel finally stopped. "I can't go any further," Spike said; "I have to catch my breath."
"WHAT?" the other three asked in shock.
"Let's get out of here," Buffy said as they joined the others and headed for LA.
Dawn gave a squeal of delight when her sister and the others walked through the door of the Hyperion. They were all injured in one way or another, some far worse than others. Among those that had to be hospitalized were Anya and former principal Wood; fortunately all were expected to survive.
Cordelia ran to Angel and hugged and kissed him. Her action was not lost on Buffy and Connor caught the pained look on Buffy's face as she turned to leave.
"Buffy wait," Angel called as he pulled away from Cordelia.
"I just want to check on the rest of the injured," Buffy fibbed.
"I'll go with you." Angel turned to Fred. "Help everyone get settled in rooms and order enough food for all of us," he told her. "We'll eat in the dining room." When they got outside Angel said, "Buffy, you have to excuse Cordelia; she gets a little over-exuberant at times, but there is nothing more than friendship between us."
"Have you ever told her that?"
"No. I didn't see a need to tell her anything. She knows how I feel about you."
"Really? Well she knows more than I do."
"I told you a long time ago that I loved you, that I would always love you. My feelings for you haven't changed for a moment. Do you know how happy I was when I found out that you knew my son in heaven, that you loved him? And again when you found him and kept him safe after he returned from Quor-Toth?
"Buffy, I love you and Connor more than anything else in this world and nothing would make me happier than for the three of us to be a family together. He and I talked for the first time before the battle in Sunnydale and I know that his change in attitude toward me is due to your influence."
"My feelings for you haven't changed either, Angel, and I love Connor like he was my own son. Let's get everyone inside and fed. It's been a long day. We can talk again tomorrow."
Over dinner Dawn wanted to know how it happened that Angel and Spike were now human. "I guess sharing the power of the amulet saved us and made us human instead of killing us," was Angel's explanation.
"The powers couldn't let their champion die while he was helping to save the world, could they? This is your reward for all the good you've done since they sent you to me. And Spike, since you also helped, it was only fair that you were rewarded as well," Buffy told them.
"How do you know this, Buffy?" Cordelia asked.
"Have you forgotten where I was? I saw a lot while I was there and one of the things that I saw was Spike and Angel fighting against a common enemy and both of them becoming human. I didn't say anything about it before because I didn't know when it would happen. Things had to happen normally without my influence."
Over the next several weeks Giles and Wesley worked together to find watchers and homes for the potential slayers. Since the slayer line actually now ran through Faith, she returned to Sunnydale with Giles as her watcher. The two of them along with Willow and Tara moved into the Summers' house on Revello Drive.
To Anya's great pleasure she and Xander announced their engagement before leaving LA to return home. Gunn and Fred got married and Wesley and Cordelia became a couple. The four of them continued to work for Angel at Angel Investigations.
Spike helped out at AI for a while until he decided to travel the world to see in daylight places he had been as a vampire.
Buffy, Connor and Dawn moved into Hank Summers' house in LA which he officially deeded to Buffy since he had decided to marry his secretary and make his permanent residence in Europe. Connor got his GED during the summer and entered UCLA in the fall and Dawn transferred to Hemery High in LA. To her father's (and Angel's) delight Buffy transferred to UCLA to continue her education majoring in psychology.
Angel and Buffy got married in a small ceremony in the Hyperion the summer following her sophomore year in college. Connor and Dawn stood up for them.
Buffy still sings angelic songs and speaks to Connor in the angelic language. He can't speak the language but he does understand it and he loves hearing her sing.