Chapter 18 The High Mountain

Once I stood at the foot of a great high mountain
That I wanted so much to climb
And on top of this mountain was a beautiful fountain
That flows with the water of life

I fell down on my knees at the foot of this mountain
I cried, "O Lord what must I do?
I want to climb this mountain, I want to drink from this fountain
That flows so clear in my view"

Then I heard a sweet voice from the top of this mountain
Saying, "Child put your hand in mine"
I started climbing slowly, "Watch your steps at the edges
And take one step at a time"

I started climbing upward taking one step at a time
The higher I got the harder I climbed

I'm still climbing upward and my journey's almost ended
I'm nearing the top and you ought to see the view
Oh the water flows freely, there's enough to make you free
So friend if you're thirsty climb this mountain with me

A/N: Last chapter enjoy

"What we have lost will never be returned to us. The land will not heal. Too much blood. The heart will not heal. All we can do is make peace with the past and try to learn from it.

Buffy was in the field at a very different Black Cove farm. The farm has grown since the Civil War. She has grown now in her thirties she was a proud woman. Buffy was with a baby lamb that died and she was skinning it. Years ago she wouldn't be able to skin any animal but now it was easy. Black Cove was a thriving farm and today was a bright and sunny day much like the day when she first came here and saw him in the rafters looking at her. She was a far cry from that dainty southern bell so long ago. She was a strong woman now and she never wanted to go back. She could hunt and take care of herself these days and she had amazing archery skills. She was a better person because of the war. She was forced to change or die. She never wanted to go back and being helpless again. Just as she was finishing up she heard footsteps.

"What are you doing?" A boy's voice asked and Buffy looked up seeing her son. He was his father son he had Angel's eyes except they were hazel like a mix between Angel's chocolate brown eyes and her green eyes. He also had dirty blonde hair again like the perfect mix between her and Angel. But he looked like Angel and he was going to be tall like his father. He was just a boy only ten years old and he held another lamb in his arms.

"He died in the night love." Buffy assured her son and looked up to him holding out her hand. He didn't move as Buffy sat there. "Bring him here," She insisted but the boy held the helpless lamb close to him.

"Don't kill him." He didn't want this little lamb to die and Buffy gave her soft and reassuring smile.

"I'm not gonna kill him," She reassured her son and he walked closer to his mother. "We have to try somethin' or else he's gonna die too." She explained her son nodded and came up to her and handed her the little lamb. "It's all right," She whispered to the scared lamb. "We're gonna try a little trick." She explained to her son and he squatted down to watch.

He looked up to his mother greatly and thought she was one of the smartest people out there. Buffy had a smile as her son watched learning what she was doing. Buffy took the coat of the dead lamb and put it over the live lamb but it wasn't liking it. "Shh," She hushed the lamb and then the coat was on and they let it run off. The little lamb was back in the herd and started to drink tricking one sheep and Buffy smiled her little plan worked and then she took her son's hand and they headed to the house together dinner would be ready soon. She loved this little boy. He came out of pure love and joy from one cold winter night ten years ago and he was perfect.

Outside under the tree was a table being set for a feast. Willow and Cordelia were setting up the table for the meal. Whistler, Doyle and Oz were playing a tune and another child was running around well four more while a baby sat on the ground waiting for its mother to get her. Then Buffy's son let go of his mother's hand and took off running and Buffy smiled. He was fast and full of energy but he wasn't running because of the food he ran to a person.

"Dad!" And Angel turned around as his son hugging him as Buffy stood there smiling. Angel then bent over throwing his son over his shoulder and walked over to the table as he carried his son and then set him down. Angel then turned to Buffy smiling and wrapped his arms around her giving her a kiss and she smiled. Then another little boy came up to his mother he was five and Buffy hugged him and then picked him up setting him in a chair. Willow came out with a bowl of food setting it on the table as Cordelia sat in a chair with a baby in her lap and another child next to her.

Doyle, Oz and Whistler were playing and singing and Cordelia smiled. There was another little child standing on the ground about ready to have a fit no one was paying attention to her and Buffy leaned over and picked up her daughter. She had the wildest eyes they were green but a fiery green and she had thick dark brown hair like her father. Her daughter hugged her and then bent backwards and Angel came over kissed her as she laughed. She had a huge loud laugh that made both Angel and Buffy smiled. Buffy then set her daughter in a chair and then took a step back.

Angel made sure his three kids were settled in and Buffy smiled seeing her family her husband and three kids. His children loved him so much. 'There are days now when I manage not to think of the past. When the needs of the farm call with more urgency than past nightmares. This time of year there's so much life everywhere. I find you in all of it as when I first moved here as if you were still walking home to me. Now on this Easter day at Black Cove, every step of your journey was worth it.' She thought to herself seeing Angel there hoping he knew. He now had a huge family a family he dreamed of and they all loved him. He owned his own farm and the best part he thought he had the most beautiful wife in the world.

"I'm still climbing upwards." Doyle sung with Whistler as Oz played and the last bit of things were being set on the table. "And my journey's almost ended. So friend if you're thirsty climb this mountain with me." The song ended and then Buffy looked over seeing her eldest son already picking at the food on his plate. Angel sat down as Buffy leaned forward to him.

"Connor O'Brien nobody said 'eat.'" Buffy kissed her son's head and he stopped eating and looked to his little brother and Liam smirking at him like ha you got in trouble. The two boys then looked to their dad and Angel mouth to them he was hungry too and Connor smiled and sat and waited. Their daughter was about to have another fit she was hungry too. "Almost Isabella I promise," Buffy then sat down next to Angel as he was at the head of the table and he could see everyone and how they've grown since the days of war. Everyone waited and Buffy started. "For good friends, good food, good family all our blessings O Lord we thank thee amen." Buffy ended.

"Amen." Everyone repeated and started to dig in. Connor scarfed down the ham knowing his mom made it.

"That's for you," Buffy said to her daughter placing food on her plate as Isabella was ready to enjoy her dinner as was everyone. Oz and Willow helped each other with the food. These two weren't married Willow wasn't sure if she could marry someone but Oz lived with her and they did love each other and he was waiting and he was happy to wait.

"Sweetheart," Cordelia spoke up looking around and then looked to Doyle as he was ready to listen to his wife. These two had two children together like Angel and Buffy. "There's no cider." She said and Doyle looked around nodded.

"Right I'd best fetch it I got my orders." And Doyle headed inside for the cinder. He returned with the drink and they celebrated Easter together as one big family. Black Cove was no longer broken and like the animals of the farm there was so much life in the house.

The clean up was over and the night had settled in. Angel headed to his room and looked in. Buffy sat in the middle of the bed with Isabella in her lap and Connor and Liam at her sides. Buffy was reading a book out loud to them. Angel then leaned against the entry way listening. He had the family he always wanted well maybe just one more child but the three he had were perfect more than what he could ever ask for in life. Isabella was asleep, Liam was fighting sleep and Connor looked tired. Buffy then looked up seeing Angel there. She found a spot in the book to stop at as Angel came into the room and picked up his little daughter and she didn't stir. Connor got up and Buffy kissed her son as he went to bed. Angel then leaned down and Liam crawled into his father's arm and Angel held both kids. Buffy stood up and kissed her other two children and Angel left the room with Connor following his father.

The children were put to bed and Angel did one last walk through the house making sure everything was locked and headed upstairs. Cordelia and Doyle and their children lived here. Whistler lived with Willow and Oz still helping Willow her hands never did heal properly so he was an extra set of hands for them. All six rooms at Black Cove were taken it was nice the house was full the way it should be. Angel headed upstairs all the way to the end of the hall and he opened the door to the candle lit room where Buffy sat in their bed reading another book. She was a book worm and she's read so many. His kids were going to be readers to because well they were very interested in books and Buffy was teaching them how too. There were no schools nearby but Buffy was the perfect teacher. Also his tintype was still in this room on the mirror and next to the tintype was Buffy picture she gave him. She could hold a smile now and so could he there was plenty to smile about. Angel then crawled into the bed next to his wife and she wore the claddagh ring he saved for her so long ago.

Buffy wore it proudly as she closed her book setting it aside and leaned in and kissed Angel. He still had nightmares that he was being chased and hunted and that he wouldn't make it home. But when he woke she was there ready to comfort him and assure him nothing could hurt him ever again. Those nightmares were far and few between these days. At first when he got better from the gunshot wound he had a nightmare every night. But Buffy was always there to help. He feared this was a dream this happy life he finally had was a dream and he would wake up back on that battle field fighting. But this wasn't a dream at all it was real and he thanked God or whatever higher power was out there for it.

Buffy sat up smiling and he smiled too it was a good day but there was a great way to end it and she climbed on top of him and he sat back ready to enjoy Buffy's company. With two fingers he killed the light source of the room and only the stars lit the way. She took off his shirt and leaned in kissing the scars of war and the bullet wound inflicted from Lindsey. These scars would remind them of what they had to fight for but their pain would never endure for this couple.

Angel leaned forward kissing Buffy wrapping his arms around her. It was true if he went back in time he would do it all over again he wouldn't change it. The journey home to her was worth it she gave him three beautiful children and a warm loving heart. The hell he had to walk through made all this sweeter as he fell on top of his wife about to make love to her. He fell in love with her all over again with the start of each new day. He could watch his children grow up and he can sit out on the porch and grow old with Buffy. That was the greatest part in the end and at the end of the day he had Buffy in his arms.

Buffy looked up to him and ran her fingers through his hair and leaned in kissing his forehead. Every day from when he came home to her was a gift it had to be. They've changed but for the better they were stronger people which helped with their bond. She looked back into his eyes that still held pain but everyday it was less and less. Buffy wrapped her arms around her solider, her lover, her best friend and her Angel holding him the way it was always meant to be.

'I looked once more down Willow's well and this time there was nothin' there to haunt me. Just clouds, clouds and then... sun.'

The End

Yeah Angel lived of course he was going to live. In the movie Inman died and I didn't like it after all he went through he died. I know it was worth it but I wanted Angel to taste his victory. So he lives and there are three children to show for it. And Black Cove farm has grown since. Hoped you enjoy this story and here goes my list of thank yous.

For all who reviewed: Forevergal, SMGbest, Angelluffy, ba2006, Brandi Rochon and spyagent001.

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Thank you for everyone who has read this story and thank you for anyone I might have forgotten to mention.