A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes- Chapter Four

***

"Did Giles mention anything about getting her changed back?" Angel asked Spike later. They had finally managed to get her to go to sleep. Spike had even told her a bedtime story.

"He said he had a couple of leads. Maybe not long now." Spike told him. "But they have to find this Sorcerer guy first of all. Then they have to persuade him to reverse the spell. Fortunately, nobody in Sunnydale knows about Buffy being... Baby Buffy."

"Good."

"How is she?" Spike asked. Angel noted the concern in Spike's voice, but said nothing about it.

"She's good. She's Buffy as a four year old. Just, in fact, as I imagined her." Angel smiled.

"Bloody Hell, regular soft fool, aren't you?" Spike mocked him. Angel merely nodded.

"I guess I must be." He said, a little smile on his lips.

"I should be getting back." Spike told him. "They might need some help when they find whoever did this."

"You're in love with her?" Angel asked, realising. Then, echoing a conversation from long ago, Spike simply answered.

"Aren't you?" And all Angel could do was nod sadly.

***

Angel could hear her. She sounded scared. She wasn't screaming, exactly, more like whimpering. Was he dreaming or was it really her? He opened his eyes and couldn't hear anything at all. He sat up, all his senses on alert.

"Mommy!" Buffy's voice pierced through the night air. Angel leapt out of bed and ran into her room. Buffy was lying in bed, clearly in the throes of a nightmare.

"Buffy," He called to her, "Buffy!" She woke up, scared out of her mind and tears streaming down her face.

"Mommy?" She asked.

"No Buffy," He pulled the little girl into his arms.

"Angel?" She asked.

"That's right, Buffy."

"There was a monster."

"A monster?"

"Yeah. Awful big."

"What did it look like?"

"It was green and icky." She said. Angel heaved a sigh of relief. It sounded more like a childish nightmare than any kind of prophecy.

"It had big arms." She added.

"It's gone now, Buffy. If anymore monsters come, I'll fight them."

"You will?" Her eyes were dry now and she smiled a little.

"I will." He promised her.

"Good. You're a great poof." She said. Angel looked at her strangely.

"Who told you that?"

"Spikey said you were a great poof."

"Oh. Well, Spikey was wrong."

"Is it a bad thing?"

"You shouldn't call people stuff like that, sweetheart." Angel told her.

"Oh. I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault. It's Spike's fault."

"Are you going to tell him off?"

"Quite probably." Angel pulled the covers over her. "Go back to sleep now."

"I don't want to." Buffy told him stubbornly. "What if the monsters come back?"

"They wouldn't dare. And if they did, I'd fight them."

"OK." Buffy slid down into her bed, yawning. "Night Angel."

"Good night Buffy." He sat watching her for some time, until he was sure that there would be no more bad dreams. If Spike hadn't already left, he would've wrung the blond vampire's neck.

***

"Angel! Angel!" Buffy's voice cut through his dream of Buffy's twenty year old self. Opening his eyes rather reluctantly, Angel came face to face with the four year old sitting on his chest.

"What are you doing up, Buffy?" He asked, glancing at the clock. It wasn't yet seven in the morning.

"Buffy wants to play!" She jumped up and down. If he had to breathe, he would have been winded.

"Buffy, don't jump like that." He sat up and placed the little girl by his side.

"Why don't I read you a story?"

"Read a story?"

"Sure." He got up and found the copy of Cinderella he had bought for Buffy. He got back into bed and Buffy settled down into his arms.

"Once upon a time..." He began.

***

"Angel? Angel? Buffy?" Cordelia called out into the large, empty lobby of the Hyperion. Sighing, she climbed up the stairs to Buffy's room. It was empty. A feeling of panic began to rise inside her. Where was the little girl at seven thirty in the morning? Should she check Angel's room, just in case? She pondered this for a moment or two, before deciding that it was the best thing to do. She cracked the door open silently, then wider.

Her heart just melted when faced with the scene. Angel was lying in bed, fast asleep, the little blonde girl curled up also fast asleep in his arms. The book he had been reading lay, still open next to them on the bed. Cordelia sighed. They looked so sweet and content. She moved silently away down the stairs. She searched Angel's office until she found his camera, and went back upstairs to capture the moment on film forever.

***

"How's everything going, Giles?" Angel asked.

"It's really going rather well, actually." Giles told him. "We've located the Sorcerer and now all we need to do is persuade him to reverse the spell.

"How can you do that?"

"Well, Willow and Tara have some magic of their own, but I believe..."

"Violence?" Angel asked.

"Indeed." Giles agreed. "Spike and Xander will, uh..."

"I get it. Do you need help?"

"No. I think your efforts are best spent protecting her." Giles told him.

"All right then. When do you think it might be resolved?"

"It may be awhile. I'll contact you later." Giles promised.

"Sure. Bye Giles." Angel put the phone down.

"Still nothing?" Cordelia asked from her position on the floor playing Barbie with Buffy.

"They've found who did the spell. Now all they have to do is get it reversed." He told her. Cordelia nodded.

"You don't want Buffy to leave, do you?" She asked. Angel shook his head.

"I don't wanna leave!" Buffy chimed in.

"Don't you want to go home?" Cordelia asked.

"I like it here." Buffy's bottom lip stuck out as it always did when she became stubborn.

"Then you won't leave just yet." Angel told her with a smile.

Hopefully, she wouldn't remember this when she became older Buffy. Or did he want her to remember? She'd already lost an entire day spent with him some time ago. He had adored the time spent with Little Buffy. No, Angel didn't want her to forget all of this. He didn't want to forget it. Angel wasn't sure he even wanted it to end.

***

Giles had arrived home exhausted. Persuading the Sorcerer had taken a while.

***

"Angel?" Buffy's little voice called. Angel sat up in his bed, wondering what she might want now.

"Yes Buffy?"

"I'm scared." She came into his room, Mr. Gordo clutched in her little hands.

"Of what, sweetheart?" Angel was immediately concerned.

"There's monsters in my room."

"No there aren't." Angel said. Seeing Buffy's scared face, he got up. "I'll go see, OK? Stay right here." She nodded.

He went into the room next door and switched the light on. Nothing. His vampire senses felt nothing. Then he turned the light off again. Where Cordelia had tidied Buffy's toys, they cast eerie shadows on the wall. Smiling a little, he went back to Buffy.

"There's no..." He trailed off. Buffy had slid under his covers with Mr. Gordo and was already fast asleep.

He couldn't help smiling softly at the beautiful vision. If he and Buffy ever had children, he hoped they were just like her. Stubborn and wilful but sweet and kind too. He got into bed and pulled the little girl securely into his arms. Yes, if he was ever lucky enough, he wanted his children to be just like her.

***

"Angel! We have it! We have the reversal spell." Giles told him excitedly down the phone.

"You do?" Angel's heart fell. He didn't really want Little Buffy to leave.

"We will start the spell at eight. All you have to do is get Buffy to wish."

"Wish what?"

"Well, it could be anything, but you should get her to wish that everything is back to normal. That should restore her true self."

"OK."

"That's eight this evening, Angel. You won't forget?"

"Of course not Giles."

"Xander is on his way up to Los Angeles so he can bring her home."

"Sure."

"Thank you for doing all this, Angel. I can't imagine it was very easy."

"Not at all, she's a good kid."

"That's not what I meant." Giles said.

"It's OK, Giles."

"Good. Bye then, Angel."

"Bye." Angel put the phone down and turned to Cordelia.

"It's over." He said sadly.

"That's good, right?" Cordelia asked gently, herself feeling a curious sense of loss.

"Right." Angel nodded. She didn't buy it any more than he expected her to.

***

"Now, Buffy, are you ready to make your wish?" Angel asked.

As Giles had instructed, he had the girl ready in the lobby of the hotel at eight. The little girl, still clutching Mr. Gordo, nodded. She didn't really know why Angel wanted her to wish for something silly like everything being back to normal. That seemed like a dumb wish. She began to think, could she come up with something better? The phone rang, and Cordelia leapt for it.

"Hello, Angel... Hi Giles. Sure." She handed Angel the phone, before going over to Buffy and straightening the little girl's dress.

"Are you ready Buffy?" She asked, a lump rising in her throat. She would deny it to her dying day, but Cordelia Chase had become attached to the girl.

"Ready." Buffy answered. Angel came over.

"OK? Ready to wish?" He asked, hugging her tightly.

Now Buffy was a little scared. Why were they acting so weirdly? Maybe her new wish would help.

"One... Two... Three..." Angel prompted. At exactly eight o'clock, Buffy said:

"I wish to live happily ever after!"

***

Angel and Cordelia exchanged worried looks. What had Buffy said? What was going to happen? The room was filled with the brightest light any of them had seen, and they closed their eyes against it. Buffy's laughter echoed through the room. After a moment or two, the light died away and Cordelia opened her eyes.

"Buffy?" She asked, her eyes adjusting slowly to the light. Buffy aged twenty was lying on the floor of the lobby, torn four-year-old size clothing around her. Cordelia grabbed the blanket on the sofa and draped it over her.

"Cordelia?" Buffy asked, confused.

"Hi. Do you remember anything?" She asked. Buffy sat for a moment, still clutching Mr. Gordo.

"Uh..." She paused. Her eyes widened in shock and horror. "Yes. You.... You gave me baths!" She accused Cordelia.

"Sorry." Cordelia said insincerely. A gasp behind her alerted her to Angel. Like Buffy, he was lying on the floor. He was lying on the floor gasping for breath.

"Angel?"

"Angel?" Buffy and Cordelia spoke at the same time.

"Buffy?" He asked, his eyes opening. "You're older again." He noted.

"Yep." Then it occurred to her. "You're breathing!" She exclaimed. He nodded.

"It would seem so." Cordelia said. Angel was disoriented and still having difficulty breathing. But he said one word before slumping onto the floor.

"Oracles."

***

When he felt stronger, Angel made his way straight to the Post Office and underneath to the portal.

"I beseech access to the knowing ones..." He started the ritual.

"Come before us, warrior." A male voice called.

"Hi," Angel said. The Oracles were back, more or less as they had been before Vocah slew them.

"You have a gift?" The female Oracle asked. He pulled a small box from his coat. It flew across the room to her.

"Tiffany's Lucida cut engagement ring in platinum." He told her.

"So beautiful. Like ice." She said.

"What is it you want to know, warrior?" The male asked imperiously. He might not consider Angel a lower being anymore, but that didn't make him any less pompous.

"I'm human."

"A dream is a wish your heart makes." The female Oracle told him. "Ask the girl."

"Buffy? It's permanent this time? I'm not going to have to come back again?"

"The powers say yes. Go in peace, warrior." The male Oracle said. Next thing Angel knew, he was outside again.

***

"What did they say?" Buffy was dressed at the door when he arrived. Xander too, was there, having battled through LA traffic.

"They said a dream is a wish your heart makes. They told me to ask you." He told Buffy.

"A dream is a wish your heart makes?" Buffy mused. She wandered around the lobby, deep in thought. She leaned on the counter. Lying there was the book of Cinderella Angel had read to her.

"That's it!" She yelled. Angel shot over to her.

"I wished to live happily ever after." She said excitedly. "This is it! Angel, happy ever after!" She was jumping up and down.

"What?"

"I wished to live happily ever after. I thought the wish you wanted me to say was silly. You're still all strong, right? But you're a real, live, flesh and blood human. That's happy ever after!"

Tears began to form in her eyes for a moment, before it became a torrent of tears. Angel wrapped his arms around her.

"What's the matter, Buffy?" He asked softly. She sniffled.

"Happy ever after? You want happy ever after, don't you?" She asked him. He nodded.

"More than anything. More than anything." He told her, tears forming in his eyes too.

***

Angel and Wesley returned wearily from another busy night of demon slaying. The house was all quiet, eerily so. Then, a screech pierced through the air. They exchanged wary glances with each other. Then suddenly, a door opened and a little blonde hurricane entered the room, headed straight for Angel.

"Daddy! Daddy!" She screamed, giggling as she jumped into his arms.

"You're all wet," He said, kissing the four year old girl on the forehead.

"I know. Mommy gave me a bath."

"Mommy hasn't finished." Buffy came into the room, her shirt somewhat damp.

"Mommy!" She whined.

"No." Buffy was firm. So, the little girl turned and looked into deep brown eyes.

"Daddy!" She used her most persuasive tone.

"Katie Scarlett, go and finish your bath." He put her down. "Now."

"Daddy!" She sounded more angry and stubborn now.

"If you go and finish your bath, I'll read Cinderella to you."

"You will?" She asked excitedly. He nodded. She scrutinised him closely.

"Promise?"

"Promise." She accepted it and went off to finish her bath.

Then, when she was all washed, dry and ready for bed, she and Angel snuggled up onto her bed to read Cinderella. When Buffy came in, she found both fast asleep, Cinderella forgotten, as it had been once before.

THE END