Hi guys! I know it's been a really long time, but here's another chapter.
So, some of you aren't going to like this chapter. Sorry. But if you bear with me, I promise it'll get better. I know exactly where this story is going and I'm pretty sure you'll like it a whole lot better in another couple of chapters.
On a different note: ff net has decided to remove a lot of stories for reasons we don't all agree with. I support the petitions to stop this. However, just in case, I beg of everyone, please backup your fics somewhere else. Eventually there will be somewhere else, like Archive of Our Own (which is invite only right now, though I think you can request and invite), where there are no restrictions and all fics are welcome. Please, everyone backup your fics until they can be put in a place like that.
Now, on to the chapter:
Buffy didn't want to be here. She wasn't enjoying herself. She wanted to be in L.A. with Angel. She wanted to be with her husband.
She was happy for Xander and Anya, she really was, but she felt so alone. Dawn had left for Janice's house, Giles was talking to a quiet Xander and a hyper Anya, and Willow and Tara were absorbed in their own conversation, which from where Buffy was appeared to be an argument. So Buffy was sitting on the couch by herself, wishing she was in L.A.
'I could go' shethought. 'I could make some excuse and go see Angel. Maybe I could wake him up again. Or welcome him home from a hard night's slay. Or possibly surprise him in the shower…'
Xander noticed that Buffy seemed absorbed in her own little world so, after politely excusing himself from Giles and his excited fiancé, he went to sit next to her. "It's kinda crazy, huh?"
Buffy's head snapped toward him. He had startled her and her eyes were wide. "What?" It was obvious she hadn't heard him.
"It's crazy," he repeated, "I'm getting married."
"Yeah," Buffy replied with a slight smile "crazy."
Xander was quiet for a moment, then laughed a little when another thought occurred to him. "I never thought that I'd be the first one to get married." Xander smiled and clasped her shoulder before he returned to a beckoning Anya. Buffy smiled, too. Her smile, however, held a hint of a secret, something that Willow and Tara (who had paused their fight) both saw.
"Am I doing something completely wrong?" Buffy's question caught Spike completely out of the blue. "She never used to do anything like this."
"Teenagers rebel, pet. Can you honestly tell me you never pulled anything like this?"
"That was different!" Buffy protested "I had to protect the innocent and save the world! Dawn isn't doing either of those things. She's just… acting out." All of the fight had suddenly gone out of her. Now she just looked tired. "Let's just find her," she sighed.
'Bloody hell' Spike thought, 'Poof was right.' "He told me." Spike called after Buffy. She froze and slowly turned to look at him.
"W-who told you what?" Spike thought Buffy looked scared.
"Angel, he told me about the two of you."
"B-but why?" Tears were welling in Buffy's eyes, "We said we wouldn't tell anyone." She sounded small, like a lost child.
"Don't cry, pet," Spike said as he walked to her and reached to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. "He's worried about you and asked me to help you and watch out for you when he's not here. For the record, I'm worried about you, too."
"Oh," she breathed out. Buffy had looked away while Spike was talking, and now she looked back to him, "Thank you." He could tell her sentiment was sincere.
"Of course," he said softly. Spike pulled away from her, squared his shoulders, and spoke much more confidently, "Now, let's go find Niblet, drag her home, and shove some sense into that hormonal teenage skull." Buffy laughed, then took his offered hand as they went to look for Dawn.
"You sound stressed," was the second thing Buffy quietly spoke into her phone.
"You got that from 'hi'?" Angel didn't sound convinced.
"It's not what you said; it's how you said it."
"How I said it?" again, unconvinced.
"Since I met you, every time we've actually said 'hi' you say it like...like… well, you say it in a way that is not how you just said it. The way you just said it was short and clipped, therefore, you sound stressed. What's going on?"
"Angel," Buffy sounded annoyed. She wanted a real answer.
Angel sighed. "The man I got out of a hell dimension, do you remember?"
'Hell dimension?' Buffy thought, 'Which one…Um, guy, fire…Cordy.' "The guy you had to rescue to save Cordy?"
"That's the one, turns out he's evil. If a man touches him or any of his bodily fluids they turn homicidal on any women near." They were both quiet for a long time. Buffy knew exactly what Angel was thinking.
"What if you'd been here?" his whisper was full of fear. "I just got you back. I can't lose you again."
"You won't Angel. We're not going to lose each other." The conviction Angel heard in Buffy's statement made him smile.
"I love you Buffy."
"I love you, too. Good night."
Angel called her the next night, and she told him how odd it felt to burst into musical song.
He didn't call her the night after that.
Or the night after that.
The next night he didn't answer his phone either.
It kept happening.
Buffy had been ready multiple times to go to L.A., demand to know what the problem was, and then promptly smack Angel upside the head. But then Willow and Tara had broken up, and Giles had left, and Spike had stopped her from drinking herself silly. He'd dragged her home, put her to bed, and then sat silently while she cried over Giles and expressed her fears about Angel's sudden silence. And then Dawn disappeared again, and it had been Willow's fault, and then Willow had gone off the deep end. With all of the commotion Buffy had just been so exhausted, and there hadn't been any time to seek Angel out. Buffy's worry had grown everyday she couldn't go to him, but then she had felt Angel coming to her, and she was finally able to sleep soundly, even if it was just until he showed up.
He didn't wake her up. That was the first thought Buffy had after her conscious mind became aware of Angel's presence. She had been lying on her side facing the window, so all she had to do to see him was open her eyes.
But what she saw was not what she had expected to see. Angel was there, but he should have come over to her and knelt by the bed. Instead he was still perched on her window sill, like he wasn't sure he was welcome in the room. And, even more unusually, he wasn't looking at her. He was hunched over, looking at something cradled in his arms.
"I'm so sorry," he spoke so lowly that Buffy had to strain to hear him, "It wasn't supposed to be like this. If it ever happened it was supposed to be with you." He looked up at her then, and his eyes reflected the same emotions that had been in his voice. 'I've never met anyone else who could experience such intense joy and sorrow at the same time.' Buffy thought.
"Angel," Buffy said, sitting and pushing herself up so that her back was against her pillow, "What should have happened with me?" He walked over and sat on the edge of her bed, which gave Buffy the opportunity to see what was in his arms.
Angel had a baby.
Why did Angel have a baby?
Buffy was confused. "Angel, why do you have a baby?"
He told her. She was shocked. But she was happy.
"I'm so sorry." It had to be the tenth time he had said it.
"Don't be sorry Angel. This is wonderful. He is wonderful. Your son is wonderful."
"You really think so?" Angel looked hopeful and relived, like the weight of the world had been lifted off him. "Do you want to hold him?" Angel asked timidly; he wasn't sure she would. Buffy just held out her arms.
Looking down at the bundle of tiny person in her arms Buffy was overcome with some feeling she couldn't name. Angel saw it happen, but couldn't name the emotion either. Suddenly, Buffy's head shot up and she looked at Angel with panic in her eyes. "He's mine to, too, right?" She sounded frantic, "I get to be his mother?"
"Of course, Buffy. I was hoping you'd want to. There's no one else I'd rather raise him with."
'Well, of course,' Buffy thought, 'you think I'm the most amazing person on the planet. Oh Angel, don't you realize that's you? I mean, I- Oh. Oh no.' "Angel, I need to tell you something." He was suddenly very worried. "I, I kissed Spike," She confessed in a near whisper. She then proceeded to babble. "I didn't mean to and I don't think he meant to either but there was the dancing daemon and the swelling music and all of the emotion but Angel I promise it won't ever happen again not with Spike or anyone else I promise Angel I swear but I'd understand if," her voice dropped to a whisper and she looked back down at the baby, "I'd understand if you didn't want me anymore."
"Oh Buffy," he sighed, and then held her face with his hands, "I love you," he kissed her forehead, "I want you," he kissed her lips, "And I forgive you. I don't want you worrying about this. It's behind us. And, honestly, as I came bearing the fruits of my unhealthy relationship with Darla, I have no right to judge." Buffy smiled at him, but didn't say anything. They needed no more words.
Hours later Buffy and Angel were dozing in bed with the baby tucked between them when a thought occurred to her. "You want him to stay here with me, don't you?"
"He's not safe in L.A. I couldn't bear it if anything happened to him. I know you'll protect him while I get everything else figured out."
"What do we do afterwards?"
"We'll have to figure that out when we get to the afterwards."
A few minutes later, "What do I tell the others?"
"That I brought him, and that he needs protecting. Just don't tell them why."
A few minutes later, "Angel? Are you still awake?"
A sigh, "Yes, Buffy. I'm still awake."
"Oh good. Because I need to know his name."
Angel smiled at her. "I was going to wait and talk to you about it, but they needed to know at the hospital," he bent to kiss the baby's head, "Connor. His name is Connor."
When Buffy woke the next morning Angel wasn't there, but that wasn't what made her panic. What made her panic was that Connor wasn't there either. She bolted upright and franticly looked around her room, calming when she saw the bassinet next to her bed. She figuring Angel must have placed the boy there before he left. When Buffy moved to look at him she saw a note had been balanced on top and, immediately recognizing Angel's elegant penmanship, she began to read.
I'm sorry if I worried you, but Connor's a newborn and very breakable. I have no doubt that even in your sleep you would have known not to hurt him, but I didn't want to take any chances.
I brought a few things with me. There's a stroller on the back porch, some diapers and clothes and formula in the bag on the floor. I put a few prepared bottles in the fridge, all you have to do is heat them up. You'll have to get the rest. Use my card. I checked the funds in the account and there's enough that you won't have any problem. I also changed the account and put it in your name. You should be getting a card with your name on it in the mail.
I'm sorry Buffy, but we need to have limited contact until I get things smoothed over. There are so many people after Connor and I don't want to lead anyone to the two of you. I love you and I WILL call you, but less often than before. I know, I don't like it either.
I love you Buffy. We'll make it work, I promise.
Buffy read the letter several times. She knew it was true; contact every day would put their son in danger, but it didn't mean she liked it. 'Wait' she thought 'that doesn't make sense. We're married. They'll come here anyway.' She sighed in exasperation. 'That man. You'd think that would be something he'd realize.' Buffy decided she'd just have to call and tell him that he'd made a stupid decision on her behalf again, and she did not appreciate it.
Buffy walked out of her room a few minutes later carefully carrying Connor in her arms. After she had read Angel's letter it had dawned on her that she didn't know how to properly heat a bottle, and she had begun to panic. Maybe Willow knew? Or she could find out?
"Good morning Buf- Why do you have a baby?" Willow was more than shocked. She would never, ever have expected Buffy to suddenly have a baby.
"Angel brought him last night. His name is Connor, and he's in danger. Do you know how to heat a bottle?" Buffy looked at Willow with an anxious expression, "I don't and I think he's hungry." It was then that Willow noticed Buffy was very carefully bouncing the baby in her arms.
"Um, no, But I can Google!" Willow offered, "I'm sure I'll be able to find how easily. Lots of new moms need help." She moved closer to look at the boy being cradled by her friend. "He's so cute!" Willow practically squealed, "How long is he staying?"
"I don't know," Buffy replied, "Until it's safe for him to go… back." 'I'll have to tell them' she was thinking as she followed Willow downstairs, 'When it's safe Angel will want Connor with him, and I'll have to go, too. After all, I am his mother. Maybe the others won't be so mad about Angel because there's a baby involved. '
"If I didn't know better I'd say he looks like you."
"What?" Buffy had been absorbed in her own thoughts.
"Connor. He kind of looks like you."
Buffy smiled sadly. "Yeah, he kind of does."
Dawn immediately loved Connor and informed Buffy that she wanted to hold him as soon as her cast was off. Anya had started cooing over him, saying how adorable he was, complaining that she and Xander were supposed to be the first to have kids, and asking Xander how long after the wedding they would have to wait before they could procreate. Xander almost fainted.
The only big problem had arisen when Xander had pulled out the paperwork to file a birth certificate from the diaper bag. He was not at all pleased that that it had been filled out in Angel's handwriting and that he and Buffy were listed as father and mother.
"Because Xander," Buffy argued "It makes sense. This way I don't have to explain where I got a baby from. He's just mine. And it explains why Angle has given me access to one of his accounts. And there's no use arguing anymore because I'm not changing it."
Angel called that night to see how they were doing, and Buffy was able to make him see the error of his ways.
"All I was doing was trying to protect you both."
"I know that Angel, but sometimes I need to be included in the decision."
"Will it make you feel better if I promise not to do it again?"
"Yes, it will. And if you do do it again I'll—Hey! I can threaten to withhold sex as a viable punishment!"
Angel laughed into the phone. "But you wouldn't, right?"
"I don't think I could deny myself. I have to go Angel. Connor's fussing and I need both hands to change him."
"We're going to be wonderful parents, Buffy. I can tell."
"Yeah, I know."
Okay,so I'm begging for reviews. What got me started on writing this chapter was going back and reading old reviews. So, seriously, more reviews=quicker update. I'm not sure how to make the bribe anymore clear. :)