There is nothing I can say to excuse my long absences. My job, which involves a loooot of writing, got too demanding this year. So, it is taking a while, but here it goes.

Thanks for staying and reviewing.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Buffy instinctively got into her fighting position, but Angel pulled her behind him, while his team members ran to the weapon cabinet.

"Angel!"

Angel looked to his side in time to catch his favorite sword, which was thrown at him by Gunn, while the Commandos tried to get through the doors, although they were thrown back.

"Angel… what is happening?"

Buffy tried to get around Angel, but he held her behind him. He turned to talk to her.

"Buffy, go upstairs."

"But I…"

"Mom! What is happening?"

Angel looked up to see his son standing in the balcony. He glanced to the doors glad that Tara and Willow put up a protection spell in the whole hotel. Nobody with bad intentions would get in, but that was W&H and he didn't know how much the barrier could last against them.

"Go upstairs, Buffy. Stay with Connor in my room until I come for you. These people are old enemies of mine. I'll explain later."

When Buffy tried to speak again, Angel kissed her.

"Please, Buffy. If you stay you will get me killed. You are not up to fighting. Just stay safe for me. I brought you here to protect you, not for you to fight."

Buffy nodded and run upstairs. She grabbed her son hand and looked one last time to Angel before running to his room.

"Angel!"

Angel turned around when Faith screamed his name… in time to see an old enemy that should be dead walk through the main doors of the hotel.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

"Stop!"

Hearing the thunderous voice of the man who just walked in made the armed commands stop their attempts to get into the hotel. He descended the small set of stairs to get to the main room.

"What are you doing here? Last time we fought…"

"Angelus. It is good to see you again."

"No, it is not. What do you want?"

"Chocolate cake, to know the future…."

The man smirked.

"World… peace…?"

"I don't have time for your riddles. If you got through that barrier you don't want to fight…. Now. So, I ask again. What do you want?"

"Direct to the point. You haven't changed your style. You know how our contracts work with W&H, with the beyond the death deal and all that. I came here to see The Slayer and your son personally … of course."

"You won't get to them…"

"I didn't come here to get to anyone…"

When Angel raised an eyebrow, the man finished what he was going to say with a devilish smile.

"Yet…. Well, I know… I brought my friends, but you know me. I like the attention. So, where are they?"

Nobody answered. Angel showed his sword to the man.

"You can't kill me… again."

"Well. I have two powerful witches here. They can always find a way to hurt you."

Angel turned to Willow to see her dark self staring back at them with interest. The veins in her face were enough to scare any normal person, let alone one who knew of the witch's powers. The smile in the man's face vanished.

"Let's not play games anymore, Angelus. I am just going to tell you that we will get what we want. No matter what! She will not be able to save you."

"Angel, what…?"

"Not now Faith!"

Angel turned back to stare at the man standing mere feet from him.

"So, if you are so sure… why are you here doing this show?"

"I like to see you squirm."

Angel raised the sword again.

"Get out of my house… Hamilton."

Hamilton bowed and left, the commandos following him.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Lilah Morgan sat in her luxurious chair looking through the big window behind her. Her hard work in the firm was close to pay off. The last step for the ceremony the Partners sought were done when the building department of W&H had secured the place she needed for the task the Partners wanted. The enchantment was secured and she had only to wait for the time to come. Just one more month and she would be free of her obligations.

"Will you?"

Lilah turned around to see Hamilton standing in front of her. He hated the fact the man could read minds if the bearer of the thoughts was unaware of his presence.

"Hamilton. So, how was it? Did you see the girl?"

"I saw only the brunette. The titular slayer was nowhere in sight, but I can say the vampire was pretty much upset."

"You must hate it you won't have a go with him again, huh?"

"Yes, but it is for the greater… well… bad."

He smiled.

"So, how was it?"

"The witch was there. Whatever she did in the place, it is strong magic. None of the men could get in."

"But you could?"

"Yes. This proves your theory. Nobody with bad intentions can go in the place. Since I was not interested in harm anyone I could get in. Why to use that slayer anyway? It would be a lot easier to grab the brunette."

"The partners requested the blonde. I don't know why and I don't care. I want the job done."

"You won't be able to take the Slayer out of that place."

"Well. We just have to make her come out of it, don't we?"

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

When Angel saw Hamilton vanish in the air, he turned around and ran to his room. The moment the door opened, Buffy threw herself at him. He hugged her and saw his son sat on the edge of his bed.

"Oh my God! Are you ok? I could hear screaming and…"

Buffy took a good look at Angel, who just put some of her hair behind her ear and hugged her again. Then, he walked straight to his son. He got down on his knees and looked at the scared boy in front of him.

"You ok?"

Connor just shook his head affirmatively. Angel put one of his hands on his shoulder.

"I know you don't know me that well and… and probably don't trust me that much, but I want you to know that I love you already. I'll protect both you and your mother."

Connor looked up at his mother to see her crying. She smiled at him. Then, Connor just hugged his father. Angel breathed heavily and felt like his heart was mending. It was like every piece of it was being glued together. It was the most incredible feeling since the first and second time he made love to his mother. He felt his eyes moisturizing.

"Are you… are you going to die?"

"No."

Angel knew that maybe that was not the truth, but he was going to do everything in his power to keep his family and friends safe. From W&H and himself. He cleared his throat and smiled at Buffy. She gave him a sheepish look when he yawned.

"I think your bed time, huh? Come on, Connor…"

"Can't I stay here?"

"Connor, your… your father needs to rest…"

Angel looked pleadingly at Buffy.

"He can stay. The bed is big. As a matter of fact, both of you can stay here with me."

Buffy looked to both of her men and decided she could have this moment. They were a family after all. Angel took his shoes as did Buffy. After a while, Angel and Buffy were settled in bed with their son between them.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

AN.: So, W&H needs the slayer and the ex-vampire for whatever they are plotting. How will they grab them? What is this ceremony about?