Fic title: Shattered
Summary: After Buffy's funeral, Willow and Angel turn to each other in their grief. One night changes everything
Beta: Iwillnotyeild. Thank you so much, sweetie!
A/N: I'm sorry about the long wait on this chapter. I promise it won't take as long for the next one. I would also like to say that this fic has been nominated at the absence of light awards. Yay! So, thank you so much to whoever it was that nominated me!
Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any of the characters therein.
Feedback: Always gratefully appreciated!
1"Angel, come on wake up." The anxiety in Willow's voice grew with every word the longer the vampire remained unresponsive. Willow patted the side of Angel's face, just a little bit harder than she had the previous time. "Please, please wake up," she begged, but Angel didn't stir.
If vampires could faint, did that mean they could lapse into comas as well?
Willow frowned as she looked down at the somnolent vampire. She sighed, setting back on her heels and bit her bottom lip. A knot of premature guilt twisted in her stomach. "I'm really sorry about this," she said to Angel, then putting on her Resolve face, she reached her hand back and slapped Angel as hard as she could. "Angel, wake up!" she yelled loud enough to wake the dead...at least she hoped.
A small groan sounded from him and Willow released the breath she was holding. She slumped slightly as the tension left her body.
"Oh thank goddess," she murmured.
Angel's eyes slowly cracked open. He squinted up at Willow's worried face looking down on him. He blinked a few times to clear his vision. "Willow?" he mumbled confusedly. "What happened?"
"Uh... you don't remember?" Willow asked, nervous. It was hard enough telling Angel the first time, she didn't want to have to do it again.
Angel's brow knitted and he let out a grunt as he pulled himself up to sitting position. "You came here to tell me what happened with the doctor," he began.
Willow nodded that he was on the right track.
"I asked you what he said and you told me..." Angel's face blanched as the memory came back to him. "You're pregnant?"
Willow nodded again, this time her head bowed, her hair drawing a curtain over her face.
"How could you be...?" Angel began to ask, but stopped. His expression turned hard, a cold look clouding his coffee coloured eyes. "Who is he?" he asked bluntly.
Willow's head snapped up at his tone, confusion was written clearly on her face and in her eyes. "Who's who?"
A hallow chuckle sounded from Angel as he swept himself easily to his feet and took a few steps back.
"Oh come on, Willow," he said. "There had to have been someone else if you're pregnant."
Pain filled Willow's eyes as she looked up at Angel's accusing glare. "You think I slept with another guy?"
"Well, I can't be the father now, can I?" he rejoined. "And it certainly wasn't Tara, so...What else am I suppose to believe?"
Willow's mouth was left hanging open, stunned by Angel's accusation. She closed it, clenching her teeth together and pressing her lips in a tight line as she stood up and crossed the divide Angel had put between them. The hurt look in her eyes had been replaced with burning outrage. All the remorse she had felt at having to slap him to wake him up subsided—she only wished she could have hit him harder. She settled now for poking him in the chest.
"How dare you?" she cried, so full of anger that her body shook. "How can you even think such a thing? Don't you know how much it killed me betraying Tara by being with you? Do you honestly think that I would add to that pain by sleeping with someone else? Gee, thanks a lot for having such a high opinion of me." Willow's chin quivered. She brushed her finger over her cheek to wipe away the tears that had escaped.
Angel heart wrenched seeing the pain he had caused in Willow's eyes. Apparently getting rid of the demon didn't mean Angel couldn't be a bastard all on his own. How could he doubt Willow for even a second? She was the most loyal person he had ever known.
"Willow, I'm sorry," he said, contrition clear in his voice. He put up a hand to touch her face and she stepped back out of his reach. Angel winced, her reaction stinging more than the slaps she had issued to him earlier when trying to rouse him. He dropped his hand and looked down, ashamed. "I'm so sorry," he repeated. "I shouldn't have said that. I just... Well, try to understand where I'm coming from here Willow. You just told me that you're pregnant. Given the situation that shouldn't be possible, it's perfectly reasonable for me to wonder."
"You don't think that I know how impossible this situation is?" Willow asked. "Hello, I have the impossibility growing inside of me right now! You think that you're confused? Well join the back of the queue on that one, pal, 'cause I'm way ahead of ya." Willow crossed her arms over her chest, her jaw setting.
Angel sighed. "You're right. I was out of line," he conceded. "What I'm feeling must be even more difficult for you considering your position. I'm sorry, Willow." He put extra emphasis on the words this time, a slight pleading in his tone.
Willow took a breath, sniffing back tears, and nodded her head. "It's okay. I know it must have come as a shock. Maybe I overreacted. This has just been a really trying day, ya know? I'm still processing."
"I understand," Angel said. "It's... a lot to process." There was a pause. "Willow...are you absolutely certain about this? I mean, could there have been some kind of mistake? Maybe—"
Willow cut off his line of thinking with a shake of her head. "There's no mistake. I thought there must have been too at first, so I had Dr. Shapiro do the test again. Still positive. And even after that I couldn't believe so I took a bunch of home pregnancy test; same results. So it's pretty conclusive."
Angel's brow drew in pensively. "I just don't understand... Vampire's can't procreate. Not the way humans do anyway. If we want progeny, we make them by turning someone."
"Yeah, I know," Willow said. "I remember doing some research on the subject back when I first found out about vampires. And when you and Buffy were..." Willow's words trailed off with a wince. Her emotions were on overload enough at the moment without bringing up the best friend whose ex-soul mate Willow was sleeping with.
And whose baby I'm carrying.
Willow's head spun. A wave of dizziness hitting her. She closed her eyes and rode it out.
"Are you okay?" Angel's concerned voice broke in.
Willow nodded. "Yeah. I'm fine," she assured. "I mean, except for the fact that I'm not at all fine, that is."
Angel frowned. He didn't like seeing Willow in distress like this. He stepped toward her again, inwardly sighing with relief when she didn't back away, and put his arms around her.
Willow allowed Angel to pull her into his embrace and rested her head on the solid wall of his chest, her own arms going around him in return.
"It'll be okay," Angel told her. His confident tone belying his own doubts that he was feeling. "We'll get through this. Together."
Willow closed her eyes, tears spilling. The way Angel said it, she could almost believe him. Almost.
After a moment of holding Willow, Angel pulled back a bit so that he could look down at her. "Can I try something?"
Willow's brow furrowed. "What?"
Angel moved his hand down and slipped it underneath the hem of Willow's shirt.
"Okay, not that I don't want to, but I don't really think now is the time—oh." Willow stopped her demurral when she realized what Angel was doing. He laid his palm flat against her belly, feeling. Willow watched Angel's face with bated breath as the grooves between his eyes deepened and he pressed his lips together. His hand was roaming slightly over her lower abdomen, suddenly it stopped and Angel's eyes flashed.
"What?" Willow asked, her heart in her throat. Angel didn't answer, instead dropping down to his knees and replacing his hand with the side of his face, pressing his ear against Willow's stomach.
"Oh my god..." he said, his voice an awed whisper. .
"What? What is it?" There was a note of panic to Willow's voice now.
"It's... I think it's a..."
"A what? What?" Willow demanded.
Angel pulled back and looked up at her. "I think it's a heart beat."
"Really?" Willow squeaked. Suddenly Willow found herself jealous of Angel's heightened hearing. She should be able to hear it too.
A heart beat.
Did that mean it wasn't a vampire then? Did it mean it was a human baby after all?
No. How many times had Willow witnessed Buffy rip out the heart of a demon and it still be beating.
Heart beat didn't equal human.
The sobering reality of the situation hit Willow again and she stepped back, pulling her shirt down.
"Willow?" Angel rose to his feet. "What's the matter?"
"What's the matter? Is that a serious question? 'Cause, I thought the matter was pretty obvious. I'm pregnant Angel!" she yelled as though it were necessary to remind him. "With god knows what! I think that's a pretty big matter. You have no idea what I'm going through. How could you? No one could. Except maybe Cordelia," she added as an afterthought remembering the ex-cheerleader telling her about her brush with paranormal pregnancy. As she recalled more details about Cordelia had said about the demon spawn she had been impregnated with, the more Willow's head spun. Vertigo overwhelmed her and she swayed on her feet.
Angel was at her side in an instant to catch her. "Willow?"
"I think I need to sit down," she said.
"Here." Angel guided her over to the sofa and eased her down. "Is there anything you need?"
"Answers would be nice," Willow replied.
"I was thinking more along the lines of water," Angel replied.
Willow shook her head. "No, thank you." Willow sat back on the sofa, bringing her hand to her mouth and biting her nails.
Angel put a tentative hand on her knee. "We will get answers, Willow. I promise." The worried glance Willow flicked his way, told Angel that she doubted his surety. He sighed. "I can call Wesley. He can get started on looking. He has resources."
Willow suddenly shot forward and grabbed Angel's arm. "You mean you're going to tell him? About...everything?" Her voice was high pitched with anxiety.
Angel's brow furrowed. "Well... yeah. That was kind of the idea. What's wrong?"
"Well, if you tell him, then he'll, you know, know," Willow fretted.
Angel cleared his throat, delicately. "Yes, there's a chance that if I tell Wes what's going on that he'll figure it out—he's smart like that."
Willow's lips pinched and she narrowed her eyes at Angel. Now was not the time for levity. "You've been around for over two centuries and you choose now to find your sense of humour? Great timing."
Angel rubbed a hand over his brow. He was out of his depth here. All he was trying to do was make Willow feel better, but he couldn't. He felt helpless. "You want answers right?"
"Of course I do."
"Well, then Wesley is our best chance of getting them," Angel said. "As familiar as you and I might be with mystical forces, neither of us has the kind of education that a Watcher does. We can't do this completely on our own. I don't see what other option we have. Unless..."
Willow gave Angel a wary glance. "Unless what?"
"Well, there is one other Watcher that we know, and he happens to be right here in Sunnydale."
Willow's eyes popped. "Giles?" she squeaked. She shook her head from side to side. "No! No way. We cannot tell Giles."
"Yeah. I thought you would react that way," Angel said. And if Willow wasn't convinced enough yet, Angel took a more blunt approach. "Besides, we are going to have to tell people sooner or later anyway. It's only a matter of time now before you start to show, right?"
At Angel's words, Willow placed a hand on her belly and looked down. She could almost feel her stomach growing beneath her palm, picture her skin stretching. Willow slammed her eyes closed, hoping to erase the imagery. The changes in store for her body were the least of her worries. It was just all too much. She was unbelievably overwhelmed by it all. She didn't have the first clue about how to deal with any of it.
Willow bent forward, propping her elbows on her knees, she placed her head in her hands and began to sob.
Angel's heart twisted in his chest. He moved from where he sat perched on the edge of the coffee table across from Willow, and sat by her side, gathering her up in his arms.
"Shh, baby, we'll get through this," he murmured. "As long as we're together we can get through anything." Angel surprised himself by just how true his words sounded. But they just felt right. "And, hey, if I call Wesley now, who knows, he might even have answers waiting for us by the time we get to L.A."
Willow's sobs cut off abruptly with a loud sniffle, and she pulled back from Angel. She gave him a confused look through tear-filled eyes. "What do you mean by the time we get to L.A.? We're going to L.A.?"
"Of course we are," Angel said, slightly confused. "I thought we already talked about this."
"Well, talked, yes, we did. But, decided? Well, I don't quite remember having gotten that far."
"I'm not sure what could be left to decide," Angel replied. "You coming to L.A. just makes the most sense. Especially now. With the baby on the way. Do you really want to raise a child on the Hellmouth?"
"First of all, I was raised on the Hellmouth, and I turned out just fine," Willow argued. Or at least I always thought I had, until recently. "And, second of all, are you seriously going to sit there and tell me that your life in Los Angeles is any safer than mine is here?"
Angel pressed his lips together, not arguing. How could he?
"That's what I thought," Willow said.
Angel sighed. "All right, so maybe it isn't technically any safer in L.A. than it is here, but at least in L.A. we'll be together. I'll be able to protect you and the baby there."
"God, would you stop that!" Willow suddenly shouted.
Angel was taken about by the outburst. "What? What did I do?"
"All the baby talk," Willow said. "It's driving me nuts. We still have no idea if whatever I'm carrying is a baby. I'm pregnant under very strange, mystical circumstances Angel, there are a lot of things to rule out first before you have us decorate a nursery. I mean, how can you be so calm about all of this. I'm freaking out here!"
"I know," Angel said. "Believe me, this is quite a shock for me too."
"Well, your not acting like it! You're just all, 'Oh, a baby, well let's just tell everyone and go to L.A. an tra la la.'"
"I never said 'Tra la la'," Angel lamely replied. "And I don't understand why you're upset with me. All I'm trying to do is make things easier for you."
"Well, you're not! You can't!" Willow shot to her feet and began to walk away.
Angel got up and put a hand on her arm to stop her. "Willow, wait–"
"I can't," Willow whispered, then looked back at Angel. "I'm sorry. I just...I just need a little time on my own for awhile, okay? I need to clear my head. But, you are right about, Wesley. You can call him if you want."
"Okay," Angel said, his usual stoic self. "When you're ready to talk about this, you know where to find me."
Willow nodded and hesitated for a moment. She swooped forward and pressed a quick kiss to Angel's cheek, then whirled around and continued out of the mansion.