Don't own a thing.
This story is dedicated to my old high school friend Ashley. Today marks one year since she lost her Brian. I always thought they were an amazing couple and great parents to their girls.
Getting pregnant while still in high school had not been in Buffy Summers' plans by any means. But that's what happened.
Being in a small town like Sunnydale sure hadn't helped manners. She wasn't the first teenager to wind up in such a predicament but she'd been one of the first and one of the few to come through in recent years. But she managed.
Her parents were there for her, best they could be, but since their splitting up a few years before it hadn't always been easy. Her father just kept slipping more and more out of the picture, but thankfully she had a good woman who carried on for both of them.
Another thing to make things harder was the fact her boyfriend, her son's father, Parker, decided to up and split on them. The relationship ended and he acted as though he had no more interest in her and not once any in their child. In the end, she figured it was probably for the best though.
Buffy pushed herself harder to be a better student, daughter, friend and mother. And she liked to think she'd done a pretty damn good job with it.
She graduated, smiling as bright as she could. Her mother sat in the stands with her newborn son cheering her on. Rupert Giles, the school's librarian, and the biggest help when it came to her studies, stood right next to them, smiling and clapping.
Thinking school had been tough seemed ridiculous after a few years out in "the real world."
Buffy moved her and her son, Collin, out to LA for a new job. She loved the work, but it was tough being a single parent at times. Her mother remained an amazing help, coming out whenever possible and she started making a lot of friends from work.
When she got promoted, Buffy moved to another part of the building and that was where she met Xander Harris.
At first, Buffy knew he'd had a crush on her but as time went on he became her best friend in LA. Not to mention that girlfriend of his he'd met along the way. Anya was certainly a character.
It was one late afternoon when Anya came to get Xander when she was invited to a family event. Buffy tried to wave it off, explaining she had her son and all, but they talked her into it.
And that was where she met him.
Buffy smiled as she greeted various members of Xander's family, tried all the food brought to her, thanked everyone for compliments on her cute son. She'd come in feeling out of place but soon it started drifting away and she found herself enjoying it.
Xander's family were certainly something else.
"Oh, Buffy, hey... you haven't met Angel yet have you?"
Buffy turned around, finishing the last of the cookie in her hand. "Hmm?"
Xander pushed a large, handsome man in front of her. "This is my cousin Angel," he said with a point. "Angel, this is my good friend Buffy Summers."
Buffy smiled, taking his hand when he offered it up for a shake. "Nice to meet you."
By the end of the family picnic, Buffy found herself agreeing to go on a date with this distant cousin of her co-worker and friend.
She'd had a nice time around him, which had pretty much been the entire second half of the day. He'd sat with her, played with Collin, helped them out to their car.
She'd had very little interest in dating since Parker, but something about him struck with her and she was more than a little interested in seeing where things might go with him.
It turned out, things would go quite far.
They'd dated heavily from the start, no games or drama... for the most part. She'd moved in with him less than six months in and he'd been everything she could ask for from being the perfect mate to being the perfect father figure in her child's life. He took to it without any question, without hesitation. It'd never been asked of him, he'd just dove in, doing it without thinking.
They got engaged quickly, but it was drawn out to make all the perfect details come together.
All of his family came, hers did too. Even her father showed up, though her mother's new husband, Mister Rupert Giles, was the one who walked her down the aisle. Her best friends from both LA and Sunnydale were in the wedding party, as well as her son.
It was one of the happiest days she'd ever had. That either of them ever had.
When they found out they were pregnant, both of them were completely over the moon. They'd been trying for almost a year and couldn't believe it all the same when the stick showed both lines.
Before they knew it, their family had grown, gaining a second son, Connor.
Angel had taken to Collin since meeting him and had been the only father he'd ever known. Angel loved him no more no less than his biological son. They were both his, end of story.
Even after Connor was born, Angel had started bringing up the idea of wanting to adopt Collin officially. Buffy had cried with the idea, saying she'd love for that to happen.
For the time being though, it was a plan. It seemed every time they got money for it, something would come up. But it was always there, always wanted.
A year after their second son was born, it was confirmed Angel had cancer.
It made little sense by medical standards. This type was known for heavily being biological but no one in his family had such, not to mention he was only thirty-four and most people aren't diagnosed with such until they are well past fifty-five.
But here they were.
He was operated on and put in chemo and treatment right away. His doctor's were all amazing.
He'd gotten very sick, transferred to doctor's all over the country, but he'd beat it for the time being. He started getting better.
For a short few amazing years, he was cancer free.
They went about their life. They bought a new house, he started a new job, Buffy was promoted again. They went on family vacations any chance they got, they did everything they possibly could.
It loomed over their head, but until they needed to... they all did their best to continue life, making the best of it.
It was four years after his first diagnoses that they found cancerous cells again.
This time, the outcome looked very bleak.
He returned to chemotherapy but it only made him worse. They had to continually stop him, let him recover, then try something else. All the while he continued going downhill.
His family was sent to Disneyland by an amazing charity group and there the idea of adopting Collin was brought back up again. They knew they had little funds but they also knew in their hearts there was little time left for their family and for it to be done.
So when they got home, they went to a lawyer and started the process.
He continued to worry. That Parker wouldn't agree, that they'd run out of time. But Buffy never let him get down about it. She reminded him he wasn't about to go from them yet and that Parker never cared about his son, and the fact he'd never paid child support he'd been court ordered to give was just another reason he'd be more than happy to sign his rights over.
The final chemo type that they tried failed, as all the others had. The doctor's said they would let him rest then they'd try it one more time.
The cancer had spread everywhere. It was in his stomach to his lungs to his heart. He was so tired and miserable all the time.
They went around to meetings with different hospice companies, finally settling on one. Buffy knew they needed help and it was his idea. the biggest reason for it was they had amazing programs for their kids, their two sons who were about to lose their father. The services they provided for Collin and Connor were a Godsend.
Buffy took time off from work to be with her family. The company was amazing, very understanding and supportive as they had been through everything thus far.
They had some good times... a few last dates, outings with the family. He could never stay out too long though, growing too tired. He had to be rolled around in a wheelchair with an oxygen pump and his strength had dwindled down so much.
Collin was older so he understood a little better, Connor was more afraid of the tension that followed them it seemed. When Angel started having moments where he wasn't lucid, it broke Buffy's heart to see it frighten her son and could only image what it did to her husband.
She started them in therapy, trying to make this even a tiny bit easier on them, trying to even in a small way prepare them for what was to happen.
Their court date had been set, but one afternoon when Buffy was out running errands she got a phone call from the judge asking if they could come in early, on that afternoon. Buffy rushed to say they could and hurried back, getting her family together to head to the court house.
Angel had been miserable for weeks, but he was alert this day, ready for it.
Xander came along, as did Anya and Angel's parents. Anya took photos of the event... from getting dressed, the ride over, wheeling Angel in, the judge talking to Collin to make sure this was what he wanted and swearing Angel on the same.
He'd stood, smiling, answering the judge's questions.
And then it was final. Papers were signed. The judge was very sweet with them, especially Collin. She let him come around to the bench, put on her robe and get pictures taken. He got stamps, stickers and a pencil from her.
Collin Summers became Collin Roarke.
Angel smiled, though he was tired when they got back home. But he was happy, he could let his mind rest.
Before going to bed, they did a small celebration amongst themselves for the day. Angel remained tired but couldn't have been happier. His son was legal his, another win for the life he was about to leave behind.
While laying in bed, Buffy stroked his hair as he told her how happy he was, blessed he felt. But he also told her of his worries, of his boys forgetting him, of all the things he was going to miss out on. Together they cried, Buffy swearing his boys would never ever forget him and he'd always be with all of them, every step of the way.
Angel passed away hours later.
Buffy woke to find him, tears streaming as she rolled over. Sitting up, she turned on a bedside light and stroked his face, whispering how much she loved him before forcing herself up and to get things squared away.
As they took him out of the house, she stopped them, putting a hand on the body. She looked over at her sons on the sofa in the other room and smiled.
She knew he stayed alive long enough to get the adoption taken care of. She had no doubt about it.
The funeral was held a week later.
They'd continued therapy during and after. She was very impressed with the worker they had, she was amazing with the boys.
Buffy knew she couldn't go home, as much as she sometimes wanted, but instead moved in with Angel's parents who became a lifesaver. She knew she wouldn't stay there forever, but for all of them it was nice for right now.
She knew things would never be the same, but could only do the best she could manage.