Guardian Angel

Chapter 9

Part 1

As expected Cordelia and Groo were the last ones to leave the hotel. With all of the demons that had been coming and going during the past few weeks, there was still a concern for Connor's safety. Maybe Angel and Buffy were paranoid, but they did not completely trust those who came with Penn and Drusilla to protect the baby. Truth be told, Buffy didn't trust Drusilla herself; at times the vampiress seemed completely sane, while at other times she seemed to be so far out in left field as to be completely out of the realm of sanity.

Things were quiet tonight, too quiet for Buffy's liking. Even with Gunn, Fred and Lorne staying in the hotel, she still felt uneasy leaving Connor alone in his nursery, so Lorne agreed to sleep in Connor's room for the night. She and Angel had not had much alone time since she moved to LA and they were looking forward to tonight.

She was about to join Angel in his suite when she heard what sounded like hundreds of footsteps downstairs. Angel had also heard the noise because he reached the top of the stairs that led to the hotel lobby just as Buffy was half-way down.

They found Cibor, half a dozen other demons and what looked like at least two hundred younger demons ranging in ages from infancy to maybe early teens.

Cibor spoke directly to Buffy. "Forgive our intrusion, please. These are the elders of my clan," he said pointing to six obviously ancient beings who bowed gracefully before her, "and these are the young ones that you freed from Eero's prison. We wish to thank you and to make you a promise."

The group spoke as one in Buffy's mind. "For as long as our clan shall exist, we pledge our loyalty and protection to you, young Connor and all of your descendants."

One of the elders spoke aloud. "We will not be seen by you unless you require our presence, but we will always be near to protect you and you will forever have our gratitude."

Without another word, the group bowed as one, turned and left the hotel.

Buffy still stood there as Angel joined her on the stairs. "Buffy, what ..."

"They're all telepaths, Angel, even the infants. They all spoke to me. They promised to protect Connor and me and our descendants for as long as their clan exists."

"Gods, Buffy, do you realize how long that could be?"

"Yeah. Some of their elders looked to be nearly as old as Ness was."

"Well, it looks like we won't have to worry about the safety of our descendants, will we?"

"Our descendants?" Buffy asked, knowing full well what Angel was implying.

"Of course. Connor's going to need brothers and sisters to play with."

"I think we should talk about this...oh"

She was interrupted when Angel picked her up bridegroom style and headed up the stairs.

She reached over his shoulder and pointed toward the lobby. The doors locked and the lights went out automatically.

"Handy little gift you've got there," Angel said smiling his approval.

"You should see what else I can do," Buffy replied and kissed him to silence him.

Part 2

Cordelia's wedding at the Hyperion Hotel was simple but elegant. She could not have an all out open affair as she had always wanted because of the concern for Connor's safety, however, Angel spared no expense on the wedding and it turned out perfect for his friend.

The threats against Connor continued and Cordy and Groo offered to stay and help, but Angel felt that it would be unfair to them to delay their honeymoon and their return to Pylea at this time because, according to the Powers as Buffy had been relayed to him, until he was old enough to be trained as a warrior and could defend himself, there would always be threats against Connor. Besides that, conditions in Pylea were still deteriorating without Groo.

The residents of the Hyperion lined up in the hotel lobby to say goodbye to Cordelia and Groo. Cordelia said her personal goodbye to each of them, Lorne, Fred, Gunn, Buffy and Angel who was holding his son.

When Cordelia reached her, Buffy was surprised when she was grabbed in a big hug. "He's my best friend, Buffy; I never had such a friend before. I'm leaving him in your hands; I know you will, but I'm telling you anyway, take good care of him, Buffy, he'll never betray you. I know you'll take good care of Connor, too. The Powers couldn't have chosen a better guardian than you."

"Thanks, Cordy, I'll do my best; much success and happiness to you."

"It's not like we won't see each other again. You're coming to visit too, right?"

"I wouldn't miss it."

They hugged again.

By the time she reached Angel and Connor, Cordy was fighting hard to hold back the tears. Angel passed the baby to her without a word.

"I hate having to say goodbye to you two," she told Angel; "you have been my friend longer than anyone else. You and Connor are my real family and I love you both."

"We love you, too, Cordy," Angel said as he squashed Connor and her in a hug.

Groo followed Cordy down the line shaking hands and saying goodbye to his new friends. When he reached the end of the line, he whispered to Cordelia, "It's time, princess."

With that Lorne opened the portal and Cordy and Groo stepped through. "I'm going to miss those two," the green demon said as he turned away to keep the others from seeing his tears. Angel and Fred made no effort to hide their own tears.

Part 3

Things quieted down greatly at the Hyperion and life was comparably simple after the confrontation with Eero was over and Cordy and Groo had left for Pylea. Buffy knew it was time to pay Lilah another visit and she hoped she wouldn't have to make permanent arrangements for the Wolfram and Hart attorney.

She found Lilah sitting alone in her room in the middle of the afternoon. She touched Lilah's temple briefly and spoke her name softly and said, "Why aren't you in the entertainment room with the others? They seem to be enjoying themselves."

"I don't deserve to be with them; they don't know what I've done. You don't know what I've done," Lilah said looking up at Buffy with sad eyes; "I deserve to be right where I am, right where you put me."

"Why do you think that."

"Gods, slayer, over and over I saw everything I've done since I became an employee at that dreadful company. It was sickening; I deserve this punishment for the things I've done and for not heeding your warnings regarding Angel and his son.

"How could I have become this person in the few short years that I've worked for them? I was never like this before; I used to be a decent person. I used to be happy and carefree; I had friends and I enjoyed life. What happened to me?"

She covered her face with her hands. "How could I have sunk so low?"

"Lilah, look at me," Buffy said as she removed Lilah's hands from her face and looked into her eyes. She was surprised at what she saw. There was no trace of the rude and arrogant woman that she met a few weeks earlier; instead she saw a tortured soul that deeply regretted her past deeds.

"What happened, Lilah? Why the change of heart?"

"When I saw you leave, I was furious. The next thing I knew I was trapped in my own mind. I saw every evil deed, heard every bad thought and every ugly word. Gods, Buffy, it was revolting. I was seeing someone that I didn't even recognize and the longer I looked the worse things got. I don't know how long I stayed like that. How long have I been here?"

"Six days."

"Only six days? It feels like I've been here for months."

"No, only six days. I wanted to give you time to think about your life and the person you've become."

"When I was finally in my right mind again, I knew that I could never go back to being the person I had become."

"Glad to hear it," Buffy told her, and she was – glad to see that, now that Lilah was in complete control of her own soul, she was a completely different person than the one Buffy met a few short weeks before.

Lilah next words caught Buffy completely by surprise; they were words she never expected to hear from Lilah's lips.

"Please help me, slayer; I promise you I will change my ways and I will never again go after Connor and Angel. Please help me find myself again."

Lilah sounded desperate as tears ran down her face and lapped under her chin. If this had been the Lilah from a week ago, Buffy would have been very suspicious of her; but she wasn't. Looking into the haunted eyes of the woman in front of her, Buffy knew she was not pretending.

"I think you just did."

"Oh, gods, I have to get away from that company, but how do I do that? I signed away my soul."

Lilah sounded desperate.

"What? You still don't get it, do you? You don't work for them anymore. I own your contract. I told you that before."

"You mean I could walk away from that job at any time? Why didn't you tell me?"

"I thought I'd let you figure that one out on your own," Buffy said with a smirk on her lips.

"Thank you. Thank you so much. I don't want to be that person that I've seen since I've been here; how can anyone love me, how...oh gods...Wesley...how can Wesley love me?" Lilah stuttered as tears threatened again.

"What about Wesley?"

"I love Wesley," she said before she realized it. "I didn't mean to say that."

"Why not?"

"He's a descent guy; how could he stand to look at me?"

"Maybe when he looks at you, he sees the real you, the one that you buried when you went to work for Wolfram and Hart."

"My mother," Lilah took a deep breath in. "We have to get my mother out of that place; she is not the kind of person that can survive there."

"I don't think we have to worry about your mother. Get your things. Why don't you go to see her? You're being released today."

"I am?" She hugged Buffy.

"Slayer, I will never forget you for this," she said as she ran around the room gathering her belongings.

As she did so, Buffy thought to herself, 'No, Lilah, the minute you walk out the front door, you will not remember me at all.'

Lilah found a group of the institution's personnel waiting to say goodbye to her as she approached the front desk. Each one hugged her and wished her well. Lilah was overwhelmed by the gesture. She found her car where she remembered leaving it and sped away to Wolfram and Hart to see her mother.

Mrs. Morgan was just getting ready to leave the office to come pick her up from the institution. "Why didn't you wait for me, dear?" she asked.

"I couldn't stay there another minute, mother; as soon as I was released I wanted to get away so I could see you." She hugged her mother. "Mom we have to get away from here, both of us, we need to get away and stay away from Wolfram and Hart."

"What made you change your mind about this job?"

"I don't know, I guess I just had an eye-opening experience, call it an epiphany if you will, even if I don't remember what it was."

"What will you live on?"

"I'm still an attorney and a good one; I'm sure I can get another job."

Lilah and her mother walked out of Wolfram and Hart that day and never returned. The next morning she called Wesley. He was happy to hear from her and he was more than happy to hear that both she and her mother had quit their jobs at the evil law firm.

Part 4

After Giles somehow got Faith released from prison and she moved into Buffy's old room, he functioned as Faith's watcher until Wesley was well enough to assume that responsibility. Wesley and Faith performed well together as they worked to keep Sunnydale safe.

Wesley and Lilah married and had a family while he remained Faith's watcher.

When Wesley officially became Faith's watcher, Giles was free to return to London where he rejoined the Watchers Council. Willow accepted an offer to attend Giles' Alma mater on a full scholarship.

Xander was eventually able to become owner of his own construction company which he moved to LA after he and Anya were married. Recalling how helpful she had been with Eero, Buffy and Angel invited Anya to join AI; she was pleased by the invitation and turned out to be a very valuable resource.

Angel and Buffy married three months after Cordy and Groo left LA for Pylea; they immediately started adoption proceedings so that Buffy would be Connor's mother; together they had four other children, two boys and two girls.

Gunn and Fred also married and had children while still working for Angel Investigations.

Demons of all sorts came after Connor. Some were sent by Wolfram and Hart, however none were successful as his guardian angel and his father along with Gunn, Fred, Lorne and Anya formed a formidable defense team.

True to their promise after their vow of protection, Cibor and his clan were never seen again while Buffy was alive, however, on more than one occasion, she was sure that she felt their presence protecting them during intense battles and she was certain that Cibor and the clan elders showed up for Connor's wedding.

As Angel aged, Buffy could not convince him to stay out of the battles to protect their family; even though he retained some of his vampire attributes, he was still human; his death preceded hers when he fell in battle. Only the rage that she felt over the loss of her husband carried her through the end of the fight, but she succumbed soon after.

From the higher realms Buffy and Angel saw Cibor and all of his clan when they came for her funeral; they heard him and the elders speak with reverence and gratitude for the guardian angel who was a legend among them and the savior of their clan.

Just as the head slayer had told Buffy years before, Connor became an awesome warrior for the Powers; his guardian angel had done her job well. The prophesies regarding Connor that had been revealed to Lilah eventually came true. After the deaths of his parents, he and his siblings continued in their fight to protect the earth from evil.

The end