They're Joss', I just play with 'em sometimes.
Angel Matthews used his free hand to wipe his tired eyes. His wife Darla was beside him, going on and on about something or other, though he had not a clue on what.
Nor did he care.
His head fell back against the elevator wall and he closed his eyes.
He was tired. It was the middle of the afternoon but his work schedule usually had him sleeping at odd hours. Still, he could have been well rested if he'd known about the appointment they were headed to.
But no. Darla had failed to mention it to him before. Then, just a few hours ago, had got on his case about needing to take heir child to get the next set of vaccinations done.
He had to keep from laughing any time that was said, by her or anyone else.
There was nothing "their" about it. He hadn't touched his wife in the past two years. And, he was pretty sure he never would again at that.
The elevator made a slight ding and the doors opened. Angel sighed, opening his eyes and pushed himself off of the wall to get going.
Darla followed, still talking. Non stop.
The trip to the office from the elevator was rather short and he reached for the heavy glass door and stepped inside.
Angel felt his heart both sing and sink at the sight he caught before him. He swallowed watching Buffy start to smile then it quickly vanish.
He didn't miss her rolling her eyes as Darla came in behind him. Still talking.
He could feel the moment the blonde behind him noticed the blonde before him. He inwardly groaned.
Darla stepped to the side of him, getting closer as she began to speak. He looked at them both before getting out of there, instead heading to the desk.
The brunette was on the phone, but just getting off of it. She had smiled and held up a finger for a moment before sliding the giant glass window door open.
He smiled, telling her they were here for their appointment.
"Everything still the same with her? Same insurance, address, phone number for you guys?"
Angel nodded. "Yep."
"And you're here for..." she looked down at her computer, "four month wellness check?"
He nodded again.
"Alright then," she said with a smile. "Go on and take a seat, I will let the doctor know you're here."
He nodded, managing a smile as she closed the window again.
"Hey, Angel," he heard as she had closed it.
Angel smiled at the soft voice of the boy and turned around. His eyes briefly glanced over his ex before landing on him. "What's up, Champ?" he asked with a smile.
The boy began to speak and it was almost as if the rest of the world slowly started to fade away. Angel couldn't help but feel a tug on his heart as he watched the young child get more and more animated as he spoke.
Then, of course, Darla had to ruin it.
First, by touching him, then by speaking... again. And trying to butt in, ending the conversation they had been trying to have.
He wanted to growl, yell at her to shut up and let the boy spend forever telling him stories, but he just sighed and looked at her then back down at the kid. "We'll catch up next time, okay?" he asked. Praying there would be a next time and soon.
The boy just smiled, bright as could be and voiced similar wishes for them to meet up again soon.
"Me, too," he told him. His eyes lingered on him, then went to Buffy. Again, Darla ruined the moment by giving him a not-so gentle shove.
Again, he fought the urge to scream but instead he started walking off to go find somewhere to sit down.
He sighed before the blue seat he'd chosen. He put the car seat down on the floor then stepped around it, folding his long body into the chair.
Darla sat next to him, her fingers coming to rest on his arm.
He bit another growl and snarl back. Instead, he removed his arm from the rest and did his best to ignore her.
A few moments later, crying began. He opened his eyes and looked down at the screaming girl.
Darla smiled, leaning over him some to look down and began cooing and babytalking at her. She shook some toys at her and tickled, but it didn't seem to let up. "Aww, do you want Daddy to get you out and hold you?" she asked.
This time, Angel did growl. Very lowly. "If he were here, I'm sure he'd love to," he said.
Darla gasped. "What?!" she asked, her head turning so quick he was surprised it didn't snap.
He met her glare. He was about to blow but instead, "I forgot something in the car," was said and he began standing up.
"Where are you going?"
He didn't answer, he just started walking back across the waiting room floor and out the door. His hands kept fisting up as he walked down the hallway back toward where the elevator was. He hit the down button then started pacing around the small area.
'Why did she have to be here?' he thought. But he knew the answer, to an extent on that. Of course Buffy would bring her son to the best pediatric center in the county. Hell, in the next five.
Angel suddenly felt dizzy and walked over to a small leather bench against the wall. He heard the elevator arrive, the door opening, just as he sat down. He just leaned forward, letting his head fall down and into his hands.
He knew, without question, the child with his wife was not his. Just as he knew the child with his ex, without question, was.
He had raising a child which was not your own shared with Buffy's husband, Riley Finn. One big difference being Riley seemed to enjoy it and love the boy. Angel on the other hand couldn't stand Darla nor her new addition.
Angel sighed again, mentally lashing out at himself for getting into this whole mess.
It hadn't supposed to go the way it did. Hell, he didn't even know why it had. Only thing he could come up with was he was just stupid.
And was he ever paying for it now.
Angel lifted his head and sat back. A few years ago he had everything he ever wanted. At the time, some he didn't even know about. And he did a royal job of fucking it all up.
A big cause, that went right along with his stupidity, was jealousy. In his heart, Angel knew Buffy wasn't that girl... yet, he was always afraid she would find better and would hurt him. Then, over some innocent message a friend from one of her classes had left her, he just... he ruined everything.
He left her, accused her of awful things, and began ruining her reputation in his hurt, guilt and anger. And stupidity.
He could hardly believe it now.
Looking back, he knew he had way over reacted. The message hadn't even hinted at anything between him and his girl. His mind was just fucked up and went there.
When he had heard about Buffy moving on to Finn he was pissed. Beyond pissed. He wasn't sure to this day how he managed to have not hunted him down and beat the ever hell out of him. Not that he had any right on it, of course.
He kept tabs on them though. And as closer they had gotten and happy as they seemed, the more he darkened.
When it started going around that the two of them were engaged, so quickly, he about truly lost in then. He couldn't believe it. Nor when they actually got married, just like that.
As though he never mattered, that their relationship hadn't. That now she was just as happy as could be, head over heels in love, couldn't even wait to rush to the alter.
It had changed him. He was a wreck, lashing out at everyone, mostly himself. He began drinking, quite heavily.
Which, was how he met Darla, too. One drunken night in a bar. He'd been chased after many times, but he was so out of it... and she was blonde. She looked nothing like Buffy, felt nothing like her, didn't sound like her, didn't smell or taste like her. But it would do.
That night he took her home. She wasn't allowed to speak or touch him. He took her from behind and just pretended she were someone else.
Which continued on here and there. He'd call her up when he was drunk enough. And she'd come running.
Then... then came the rumors, then the confirmation that Buffy Finn was with child.
He remembered the glass of whiskey falling out of his hands when he was told. By Darla, no less. His heart broke, all the more in that moment. He threw Darla out then rushed to the bathroom and emptied his stomach several times over.
This was the worst news he could ever imagine.
But, as time went on, he began to notice a few things. Like the fact Buffy was showing early. Everyone else didn't pay no mind, he had everyone under the impression she'd been cheating long before, and they just assumed now that it had been with Finn. But he knew better. And there was no way...
But, he couldn't fully let himself believe it either. That she was with his child. And not him. That she was married to that boy... and. Just no.
But his heart knew.
He went to his uncle's office the next day and asked to be transferred to an oversea's office. He'd been offered it not too long before and ended up able to still grab it up. So he rushed out of Sunnydale, dragging Darla along for the ride.
He came home for holidays or small vacations. And on one of those, he ran into Buffy again.
There was a get-together he had been invited to. He hadn't wanted to go but Darla was insisting. They were newly engaged, God knew why, and she wanted to brag.
He went just to shut her up.
Not that it really worked.
Angel noticed Buffy soon after entering the ballroom. He felt his heart go to pieces all over again. She was beautiful, and looked so happy. So untouchable.
He watched her the whole evening. And became more and more curious as she kept running off.
One time, he broke away from Darla and went to follow her. His heart pounded as he noticed they had a room in the back set up for any children brought along. There were only a handful in the colorful room, playing with toys and books and such. Parents would come and go, though they did have a young girl in the back staying with them full time.
Angel watched Buffy with her son from a safe distance. He couldn't take his eyes off them. More so, off of him.
The boy was a spitting image of him. Not that it exactly surprised him in any way. But it was surreal to see all the same.
He had no doubt in his mind, now more than ever, that that kid was his. Through and through.
Angel watched her for several minutes then noticed she was getting ready to say goodbye to the boy and head back to the main room.
He was never more thankful for his glass of alcohol in his hand than at the moment she had walked close enough to him.
She paused, startled.
"He looks like me," he said out loud to her. He took a drink to try and calm his nerves.
He watched emotions dance across her pretty face. "Well, he's not," she said, and looked surprised at it.
He knew she was lying but didn't call her on it. Couldn't bring himself to.
Instead, Angel nodded and looked away. She had stood there for an extra moment before excusing herself and walking past him and on down the way.
He finished his glass then slowly walked closer to the kid's playroom. He knew he was getting some odd looks from the sitter but he didn't care. He just stood there for what seemed like forever, watching the boy.
That night he decided he'd move back to Sunnydale. To be closer to him, even if it remained so far away all the same. Part of him also hoped he could somehow work things out with Buffy, despite it all. Though, he had no idea on how.
He never found himself trying though, now years later.
She remained with Riley, and they seemed happy. Finn seemed to do a great job as a husband and father. He hated to admit it, but it was true. And he... he didn't know why, but he'd gone through with his own marriage to Darla. And lived to regret it every day. He wasn't a good husband to her, not a good "father" to the child in their house either.
He knew he could have been for Buffy and their son, but he just wasn't here.
He didn't think he ever would be, either.
Every once in awhile he and Buffy would run into one another briefly. The boy was usually with her, sometimes Finn too. But he always tried to sneak in anything he could with him. He'd talk to the boy, run a hand over his head, find something to give him or buy him any chance he got without it seeming too odd.
He was thankful Buffy never called him on it, or asked him to stop. Finn never did either. There was tension in the air when he was around but that was it. Everyone always remained polite and friendly.
He had that at least. And it was something. Hell, to him, that was good enough to be the world for him.