Kate Lockley rang Lindsey's doorbell. She waited a minute and then heard footsteps approaching.

"Katy. I'm glad you came." He looked tired and haggard. She stepped close to him and kissed him gently. He put his arms around her and held her tight, as if he were trying to draw strength from her. She saw the tracks of tears going down his cheek.

"Lindsey, what is it? What's wrong? Did something happen in L.A.?"

He took her hand and drew her into the room, leading her to the sofa where they both sat.

"Yes, it did. It happened a long time ago, but yesterday was the culmination."

Without thinking, she looked at his right hand, but it was still there. It hadn't magically fallen off.

"Tell me." And then the words from Star Trek echoed in her mind, the ones even greater than "I love you." "Lindsey, let me help."

He smiled. "I need you so much, Kate. I gave my son away today."

Kate was stunned. Lindsey had a son! Unbelievable! In the last year and a half, they had become very close. She thought they knew everything about each other.

"I didn't know you had a son." She closed her eyes. Last night, before he called, she had had a feeling that he was planning to propose. But he had a son? How? And, even more important, who? Lilah? No, it couldn't be.

"Neither did I until yesterday. Here, read this." He handed her a letter that had been lying on the coffee table. "It explains everything."

Darla! He had had a child with Darla! And that blonde witch hadn't told him.

"What was she trying to do?"

"She wanted revenge on Angel for leaving her. She wanted him to love the child and then have me, his worst enemy, take his son away from him. She knew how devastated he'd be."

Kate took a deep breath. Lindsey hadn't been unfaithful to her, her heart sang. But now he felt used, betrayed. "When did this happen?"

"The night before she left. While I was asleep, she took everything she wanted and left without a word or a note or anything. She bit me, and I think she gave me a taste of her blood, probably to make this happen. That's why I went out after Angel with my truck and a sledgehammer. And a stake. Unfortunately, he was stronger than I was, even when I had beaten the living daylights out of him. He smashed my prosthesis and 'borrowed' my truck."

"Tell me what happened in L.A. this morning, please. If you want to, that is."

"I do. All the way to L.A. on the plane, I was thinking about having a son. I had hoped you would be willing to accept him and to love him as I knew I would. I was sure you would, though. I have no doubts about your capacity for love." He put his hand on her arm. She leaned close to him. "But then I began to think about Angel. He had had him for a year. He must have loved him tremendously. And Darla had done this out of revenge, not out of love. I wouldn't let her use me again."

She slipped her arm around his shoulders. "Go on."

"When I got to the Hyperion, I saw Cordelia, Wes, Gunn, and a new girl surrounding Angel and supporting him. I could feel the love that surrounded that little boy. They were all willing to fight me for him. And he snuggled into Angel's arms. I knew then that I couldn't ask them to give him up."

"What did you do?"

"I told Angel that I couldn't take him away, but I wanted to be able to see him and be a part of his life. I want to be Uncle Lindsey. And then I drew up custody papers and had them signed and witnessed. He'll be Angel's until he's 18 unless Angel is dusted before that. And then I came back here to you. Kate, I love you so much, but I've never needed you more."

Her arms tightened around him, and she pulled his head onto her shoulder. For a few minutes his body shook with sobs, and then, slowly, he pulled himself together.

"Thank you. I needed that."

"Lindsey, I love you so much. I wish I could take the pain away."

"It'll go away with time. And at least I know Connor is happy. I'm glad that Darla was wrong about me. Once upon a time I would have taken him and laughed in Angel's face."

"I don't think so. When push came to shove, you wouldn't have made your son unhappy by taking away the only family he'd known for a year. Remember how you felt when your brother and sister were taken away from you? No matter how bad you used to be, you never did anything that would hurt a child. Darla didn't know that. I do."

"Kate, thank you. I needed that badly." He reached into his pocket and drew out a box. "I had planned to do this last night, but then I got the letter. I wanted to do this under more romantic circumstances, but I don't want to wait." He handed her the box. "Kate, please marry me."

Opening the box, she gasped at the beauty of the ring. But the shining eyes of the man she loved with all her heart were even more beautiful to her.

"Yes, of course. I love you so much. Yes, yes, yes!" Her eyes were filled with tears of joy, and she kissed him.

Just then the phone rang. Lindsey wanted to ignore it, but he was an assistant district attorney, and it could be a call he had to take. Looking at the caller ID, he was surprised to see it was from the Hyperion.

"Lindsey McDonald."

"You don't really know me, and I'm not sure why I'm calling you, but I just had to tell you what a wonderful thing you did. I know it was quite a sacrifice for you. I could see it in your eyes."

Mama? It sounded so much like her voice. "Cordelia?"

"No, it's Fred. Winifred. You met me this morning. I just had this impulse to call you and tell you how I felt. You're a very special man. What you did meant so much not just to Angel but to all of us. We all love Connor so much."

"Winifred?" That was his sister's name. "Thank you for calling. I'll be coming back to L.A. now and then to see Connor, so maybe I'll get a chance to get to know you better. Please tell Angel and everyone that Kate and I are getting married. Maybe you all can come to San Francisco for the wedding once we set a date."

"I'd like that. Thank you. And congratulations. Goodbye, Lindsey."

"Goodbye, Fred." He turned back to Kate. "Now, where were we?"

Later that night, in bed, Lindsey was snuggled up to Kate, pressed close to her back, his face against her soft blonde hair, when he heard a voice.

"Lindsey McDonald. You have performed an act of great love and sacrifice today. You will be rewarded. There is still much you have to atone for, and you will continue to work toward redemption, but do not grieve for your son. Within a year after you and Kate are married, you will have a child, the first of several. They will fill your life with joy as Connor fills the lives of so many with joy. Now sleep."

Lindsey drew Kate just a little closer to him and, smiling, slipped off to sleep.