Part IV, Trouble

Buffy, Angel, LA, happy, smoochies.

Author’s Notes: I borrowed the silver waist chain idea from Lela.

Thanks for all the great feedback and interest in continuing the story!

Reminder: I took some liberties with the timeline. Buffy’s 24 or so in this story.

Song lyrics referenced include “Wish You Were Here” by Incubus; “Have you ever needed someone so bad” by Def Lepard. “The hardest thing I’ll ever had to do” by 98 Degrees.

Warning: lots & lots of explicit sex; little to no plot. Please do not read if you don’t like either. And if you’re a Cordelia fan, you may not like it.

Rating: Adult; explicit sex

Disclaimer: Own nothing. All belongs to Joss, ME, Fox, et.al.

Pairing: B/A

Distribution: My site, EverySixSeconds; sites currently with permission to host my fics; all others please ask.

Originally posted: Mar 14, 2002

“I wish you were here… IIII..wish you were hereee…” Buffy sang along with the radio as she drove to LA. She and Angel had been doing the semi-long-distance relationship thing for the last 4 months – alternating weekends between Sunnydale and LA as much as possible. They’d actually been able to spend every weekend together but two, and now that it was Christmas break, Buffy was looking forward to three whole weeks of uninterrupted Angel. He’d even promised to take some time off work and take the three of them to Yosemite. Connor was beyond excited at the prospect of playing in the snow.

Buffy had just exited off the freeway when she noticed a nicely dressed man standing at the entrance of a dark alley. His expensive BMW was parked on the street. That in itself was more than unusual for this neighborhood. As she looked in her rear view mirror, she saw a flash of light then the man was jerked into the alley.

“Oh, brother. Can’t I just have a nice, peaceful holiday for a change.” Buffy grumbled as she pulled the car over and got out to investigate. Peeking around the corner, she saw a beautiful woman – who then turned into a large, horned demon. The coarse clothing was a stark contrast to the shiny golden band around the arm of the beast. The demon had just snapped the neck of the man that he/she had apparently lured into the alley by appearing as a beautiful woman. Buffy watched as the demon picked the man’s pockets.

“Great. Petty theft. During the holiday’s no less.” Buffy stepped forward with her crossbow aimed and ready to fire. The demon turned quickly, then began to change form. Within seconds, the demon appeared as Willow, then Xander, then Anya and even their new baby, Christina, before finally appearing as Angel. Buffy knew then that the demon was a shape shifter and had been reading through her thoughts before finally appearing as the most dominant one. Closing her eyes – after all, she was about to shoot an Angel look alike – she fired the crossbow. The demon yelled in pain, before turning back to it’s earlier horned form and charging toward her. Buffy fought with the beast for quite awhile – it’s strength formidable – before the clasp of the golden bracelet broke and it fell from the demons’ arm. As soon as that happened, the demon’s strength dropped by half, finally allowing Buffy to subdue it and snap it’s neck. She slumped against the wall, blotting at the cut on her head that was bleeding into her eye. Sighing heavily, she finally moved, dragging the body farther into the dark alley before covering it with some boxes and newspaper. She’d see if Angel or Gunn could help her take care of the bodies later, right now she was exhausted and wanted a bath.


 

Buffy flinched and shot Angel a dirty look as he attempted to clean and bandage the cut on her head. Raising his eyebrow at her, he continued his ministrations while Wesley examined the bracelet that she had taken from the demon.

“Ah ha! I think I have it now. Angel, does this look at all familiar?” Wesley held up the item in question, which was so bright it was almost exuding light. It also seemed to hum with a strange energy.

Angel looked at Wesley, then the bracelet before returning his attention to Buffy. “No. Should it?” Now intent on checking her for other injuries, Angel was running his hands down her back. When she hissed as he found a cut on her back, he reached for the hem of sweater, planning to pull it over her head – without a thought about the company presently in the room. Which earned him a slap on the hand and another dirty look from Buffy.

Sighing, Angel stopped and turned to Wes. “What is it?”

“I believe this belongs to one of the Oracles. I thought maybe you would recognize it from one of your visits there.”

Angel looked more closely at the bracelet. “Could be. I don’t really remember any jewelry. They did seem to have the same unusual light and energy though. Tomorrow we’ll take it to them and see.” Turning his back on Wesley, Angel pulled Buffy from her perch on the counter. He was intent on examining her for other injuries, whether she cooperated or not. If necessary, he knew of ways to convince her.


 

Buffy looked nervously to Angel as they stood in front of the portal to the Oracles. He had told her what to expect and had even given her another bracelet to offer as a gift if necessary.

Buffy nodded once, then stepped through the gateway.

“Slayer. Why are you here?” The two Oracles stepped forward, recognizing Buffy instantly.

“Um, I, uh, I found this bracelet. On a demon.” Buffy looked around, amazed that such a place existed under a place like the deserted post office. “We thought it was yours.” Buffy held out her hand with the bracelet.

“Oh, my bracelet.” The female Oracle was clearly delighted as she reached out her hand and the bracelet sailed through the air to her.

“It was stolen from me days ago. I am happy to have it returned.” The Oracles exchanged glances, too aware of the power of the bracelet in the wrong hands. “For returning this to me, you deserve a reward. What do you desire?”

Clearly not expecting this, Buffy had no idea what to say, what to ask for. “Um…”

Regarding her carefully, the female Oracle said “You shall be given a gift, Slayer. Something that your heart desires.”

And with that, Buffy sailed out of the portal and into Angel who was waiting.

“Well?”

“It was hers, Wes was right. She said something about a reward, but not what.” Buffy grabbed Angel’s hand, “Bracelet mystery solved. But it’s Christmas Eve. We’ve got Connor’s bike to put together for Santa delivery in the morning. Let’s go home.”


 

It was almost dawn when Buffy and Angel finally crawled into bed. They had assembled and wrapped the remaining gifts and now the apartment really did look like Santa had been by. The rest of the AI team was coming over later in the afternoon for dinner and gift exchanges – until then, it was just their little family. Connor was sleeping soundly and things were quiet.

The room was cast in a soft glow, illuminated only by the candles that Buffy had lit earlier. Buffy was wearing only a short red chemise, selected specifically for this evening – their first Christmas together as a couple in over 5 years.

As Angel’s lips traced a soft, slow pattern on her face, Buffy closed her eyes. “Mmm. Three weeks, uninterrupted. No school. Only a little work.” She opened her eyes to look at him. “Remember – you promised.”

Closing her eyes once again, she dropped her head back to the bed giving him access to her throat. His lips and tongue traced a small pattern, stopping to lick softly at her pulse which was slowly accelerating. “What do you think we can do with all that time?” he murmured against her.

“Well. Catch up on our-” Buffy gasped as Angel’s teeth teased her nipple through the silky material.

“Our what, Sweetheart?” Angel looked down at her, smiling slightly before running his fingers through her hair on the pillow. Before she could answer, he pressed an open mouth kiss against her lips, his tongue caressing hers before sliding deep into her mouth.

Familiar sensations flared through her senses, heated her blood, warming her skin. How many times would they make love before it would take more than the merest touch from him, the slightest look and she was on fire with desire for him? Her response to him was showing no signs of dimming, despite the months together and hours spent making love. He only had to look at her, or she at him and it seemed that she was running wet with desire.

“You make me feel so good.” Buffy purred as Angel lowered his head to torment her breasts through the thin material, sucking and biting at her nipples.

“You make me feel so-” Angel once again brushed his mouth against hers, “hard.”

Returning his attentions back to her breasts, nuzzling and laving them, the material clinging wetly to the hardened peaks. Moving lower, his shoulders spread her legs with gentle pressure as he pressed his mouth to her wet center through the thin material of her gown. Delicately he caressed her through the silky material, teasing and tormenting her before finally lifting it out of the way to press his mouth to her naked flesh. Mercilessly he ate at her, using his teeth, lips and tongue to explore every inch of her hot, wet sex. As he licked a slow path down the swollen flesh her fingers tightened their grip on his hair, holding him against her as she whimpered softly. He loved the taste of her, the smell. He had long ago perfected the art of foreplay, understanding how the prolonged sensations could heighten passion to a feverish pitch. Teasing first with his tongue then closing his mouth around the taut nub of her clitoris, Angel sucked gently gradually increasing the pressure. Within minutes, Buffy gasped and came, moaning his name softly and arching against him.

“Hmm. Now you look wet. Ready.” Sliding one finger back and forth across her swollen flesh, he looked up at her with tantalizing promise in his eyes, his dark gaze provocative, sensual. “Are you ready for me?” Slowly he began rubbing circles around the now throbbing and sensitive clitoris, continue to torment her as her hips lifted in a rhythm to meet his hand.

“Yes Angel. Please…” Buffy groaned, highly sensitized and desperate to feel him inside her.

Angel moved up her body slowly, planting soft nipping kisses and bites to her flesh along the way and sliding her chemise up her body and off. He paused to kiss her, his lips possessive and firm against hers, his tongue dueling with hers for dominance. Gripping her hips firmly, he surged forward plunging into her with barely restrained violence. Buffy’s orgasmic cry ricocheted around the room as she came again with his first hard thrust. He waited for long minutes buried inside her, feeling her pulse around his hard cock.

When she stilled, he slowly began to move his hips, thrusting with firm strokes. Nibbling at her ear and licking at his mark on her neck he whispered to her, telling her how good she felt, how he felt inside her. He promised pleasure in seductive love words that sent added spirals of heat swirling through her breasts and between her legs. Her breath now coming in little panting moans, her small hands clutched at his back and pulled him forward into her. Tiny feet slid up and down his calves, caressing, before continuing up along his thighs. Wrapping her legs around his waist, she pulled him closer, deeper.

Buffy planted small sucking kisses on Angel’s neck and upper chest. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she tugged his head down for a kiss, her tongue teasing his lips before easing inside his mouth. Continuing to rock her hips against his, she slowly glided the sensitive pads of her fingers down his neck and over his broad, powerful shoulders. Palm flat and fingers splayed, she slid her hand down over the defined pectoral muscles to rest over his heart.

Suddenly Angel’s eyes opened as he felt the blood surge through his body. His heart beat and he gasped for air – the first breath he had to take since the day that he was human. Buffy’s eyes flew open as she felt the thumping of his heart under her hand. The orgasmic sensation now overwhelming with the added blood rushing through his body, Angel locked eyes with Buffy as he continued to plunge in and out of her body – his pace frantic and increasing. He felt her, sleek, wet and pulsing around him as he thrust deeper.

Buffy groaned as she reached her explosive climax, Angel following shortly pouring into her unchecked, each spasm riveting and acute, the world reduced to carnal physicality. Dropping his head to the pillow next to her, he clutched Buffy to him.

“Angel?” Buffy voice was soft, her hand still resting on his chest where his heart slowly ceased to beat. “Are-are you okay?”

Leaning up, Angel kissed her tenderly. “Yes.” The need to breathe now passed, his heart no longer beating – they looked at each other.

“What happened?” Buffy placed her hand on his face, soothing gently.

“I don’t know.” Angel was as confused as Buffy. Kissing her palm, he smiled slightly. “Maybe great sex?” He was confused himself but wanted to ease any of Buffy’s fears.

Buffy tried to smile, but her face still held a worried look. “Do you think-”

Angel stopped her words with a kiss. He didn’t understand what had happened in those few minutes – which now that they had passed, it was almost like he had imagined it, but he knew he didn’t want Buffy to get her hopes up about the possible Shanshu. “I love you, Sweetheart. Merry Christmas.”

“I love you too Angel.” Buffy sighed against him, knowing that Angel didn’t want to analyze it further.

Rolling to her side, he pulled her close. Despite their contentment, it was a long while before either of them slept.

* * * * *

Squeals of delight from Connor roused Buffy and Angel early on Christmas morning as the little boy discovered his presents under the tree. They laughed at Connor’s obvious enjoyment of his new bicycle (complete with training wheels) and various toys. Buffy was overwhelmed by Angel’s generosity, having received several new outfits, a pair of exquisite peridot earrings (he said they reminded him of her eyes), a new pair of trendy sunglasses and a few choice lingerie items. Buffy had given Angel two new sweaters, a sword that she had picked up at an antique shop and thick silver chain.

Wesley, Fred, Cordelia, Gunn and even Lorne all arrived in the early afternoon, Angel and Buffy hosting dinner. After exchanging gifts, they all sat around talking, telling stories and watching Connor play with his new toys. Buffy missed the gang from Sunnydale, but felt a sense of utter contentment at being with Angel and his friends.

Only Cordelia’s occasional snide comments and rude remarks prevented the day from being absolutely perfect. And Buffy tired quickly, *very* quickly, of the 98 Degrees song – “The hardest thing I’ll ever had to do” that Cordelia played over and over. Angel had given her the CD as a Christmas gift – and Cordelia was less than subtle in her attempts to imply that the song meant something more, that it reflected Angel’s feelings for her. Little did Cordelia realize that Fred had actually picked it up for Angel – he knew nothing about their songs, only remembered that Cordy had mentioned she liked the group. Buffy had also raised her eyebrows, but to her credit said nothing, when Angel opened his gift from Cordy – boxer shorts, cologne and a “coupon” for a free day of pampering and a massage from Cordelia herself. Cordelia left no doubt that Angel could have anything he desired from her.

Later that night, after everyone had left and Connor had fallen asleep, exhausted from the events of the day, Buffy and Angel relaxed in their room.

“Oh Angel. Lookie. Another present.” Buffy lifted the brightly wrapped box on the bed from somewhere on the floor. Angel lay on the bed, looking absently at a magazine while waiting for Buffy to come to bed. He smiled at her, wondering what she was up to. He had seen her bring that box in to their room earlier and hide it under the bed.

Looking at her once again, he noticed that she was wearing his robe – which was covering her from head to toe. He frowned. That was very un-Buffy like.

Buffy opened the box, then looked at him mischievously. Eyes sparkling, Buffy pulled out two crimson scarves. “What do we have here?” Buffy took a couple more items out of the box – a feather and two vibrators – one small one, the other slightly larger.

“What do you have in mind?” Angel’s interest was peaked.

“Well… I was thinking maybe there was one more, ummm, *thing* you might give me for Christmas.” Buffy smiled coyly at Angel, moving closer to him on the bed and slowly looping one end of the scarf around his wrist and tying it snugly.

“Hmm. And what would that be?” Angel smiled slightly, his erection stirring.

“Well, I thought you might-” Buffy tugged the scarf through the slat in the headboard, pulling his wrist above his head. Straddling his chest, she pushed his other arm up and tied it with the other end of the scarf. Whispering softly against his lips “Indulge me in a little fantasy…”

Buffy kissed him softly, teasing his lips with her tongue and nipping gently. Between kisses, Angel murmured, “I might.” Sliding a pillow under his head, she kissed him again and asked “Comfy?”

Without waiting for an answer, Buffy slid off the bed and pulled the blankets down exposing Angel’s nude form. He was fully aroused, his erection lying hard against his stomach. Slowly she dropped her robe, revealing that she was wearing nothing but a silver waist chain and a matching silver choker. Angel felt a surge of lust at the sight of her.

Picking up the other scarf, she tied it around his eyes. She knew that he was highly visual – rarely closing his eyes when they made love, preferring to watch her instead – so this would be a different experience for him.

Picking up the feather, Buffy trailed it lightly down his nose, tracing his lips before drawing a line down the middle of his chest with delicate strokes. Angel stirred, the tantalizing touch of the feather capturing his attention as he waited for the next stroke. Buffy continued to draw a path down his body, lightly caressing his stomach, his navel before moving down first one leg then the other, skipping his groin. Each time she drew near his erection with the feather, Angel tensed and pulled against the scarves holding his wrists, the anticipation heightening his senses.

“Nuh-uh. No moving. This is my show.” Buffy tapped him lightly on the hip before dropping the feather back in the box.

Leaning down, Buffy ran her hand across Angel’s chest, stroking softly with her fingertips. Leaning down, she sucked on his nipple. “You like?”

“Not as much as you do.” Angel murmured softly, knowing how much Buffy liked it when he kissed and fondled her breasts. Buffy returned her attention to his chest, continuing to torment his nipples, pulling them through her teeth before releasing them and sucking them back into her mouth harder.

Pressing kisses to his chest and stomach, Buffy reached down and lightly traced his cock with her fingertips, trailing her hand down slowly across his testicles, stopping to cup and roll them gently. Continuing on, her hand slid down between his legs to trace the sensitive flesh there. Sliding her hand up once more, she gripped his cock with forceful pressure and began moving her hand up and down stroking the velvety flesh. He grunted softly in surprise at her forceful grip before growling quietly, the sound rumbling deep within his chest.

Licking her lips, she looked down at him. “Want me to kiss it?”

Under the blindfold Angel closed his eyes, dropping his head to the bed. “Yess…”

“I get wet just thinking of this.” Buffy murmured softly, leaving a wet trail of kisses along his body as she moved down and slid between his legs. Sitting back on her heels, she stared at his hard cock before using both hands to slowly caress and stroke every inch of his hard, smooth flesh.

“I know.” His voice soft, seductive, Angel wondered how much he would be able to take before he broke free, flipped her on her back and dived between her legs.

Opening her mouth wide, she enveloped his cock in her mouth until the tip rested against the back of her throat. Sucking softly, she moved her head up and down, sliding him deeper into her mouth, relaxing her throat muscles to swallow his entire length. Angel groaned and strained once against the bonds that held him.

“Mmm… I love your cock in my mouth. Your taste.” Buffy lifted her head to look up at Angel from her position between his legs. Slowly she picked up the small vibrator and turned it on. Angel jerked at the first touch of it against his arousal. “Should I swallow it – when you come?” Without waiting for an answer, her mouth followed the path of the vibrator as she used it to caress him, planting open-mouthed wet kisses to his cock before sucking his balls into her mouth. As she ran her tongue across them, she slipped the vibrator lower and pressed it between his bottom cheeks. Slowly sliding the tip inside his asshole, she murmured, “Do like that baby?” Angel stirred and released an unneeded breath, his focus entirely on the sensations that were converging under Buffy’s attentions.

Returning her mouth to suck greedily at his cock, Buffy took it deep in to her mouth and throat. She tormented and teased him, bobbing her head as she sucked and gently moved the top vibrator slightly in and out to the same rhythm.

“Would you want to do that to me?” Buffy’s words combined with the physical sensation of her mouth and the vibrator, topped off by the imagined sight of Buffy kneeling between his legs was more than enough – Angel came – his cock twitching as he shot his seed down Buffy’s throat. She sucked and licked gently for long minutes, waiting while Angel recovered from his orgasm before turning off the small vibrator and dropping it on the bed.

Climbing up his body, Buffy straddled his waist, moving so that his erection pressed against the crack of her bottom.

“Did you like that?” Buffy murmured, leaning down to kiss him softly on the lips. Removing the blindfold, she kissed each eyelid before returning to his lips.

“Mmm. Couldn’t you tell?” Angel softly whispered against her lips. “When do I get my turn?”

“Later. Much later…” Buffy whispered huskily as she picked up the larger vibrator and turned it on. “Now watch.” Staring down at him, Buffy rose to her knees. Using the vibrator, she teased her jewel-hard nipples before trailing it down her flat stomach and between her legs.

Angel’s erection stiffened quickly as he thought about Buffy masturbating on top of him, his hands still tied over his head. As he watched, Buffy slid the vibrator across her clit and labia, whimpering softly. He could hear the soft squishing sounds of her wetness as she slid the vibrator between her legs, sawing back and forth across her wet cleft. Her breath coming in short pants, Buffy closed her eyes and dropped her head back, her hand moving the vibrator slow and sure between her legs. One hand reached up to squeeze her breast and pluck at her nipple before bracing herself on his chest, nails curled. With her hips moving in rhythm to the motions of her hand, Buffy pushed back against Angel’s cock, now pressing firmly to the sensitive area between her bottom cheeks. Angel moved his hips slightly upward, rubbing against her as she moved. “Oh god….Angellll…” After several minutes, Buffy cried out and leaned forward, reaching her climax. “Ooooh. That was….really… ummm…”

“Untie me.” Angel murmured softly, looking down at the top of Buffy’s head where she rested on top of him. Once more he pulled against the scarf that held him, testing the strength of the tie. He knew that he could tear it if he wanted to but he’d play along with her – for a while more at least.

“Ummm. No. Not yet. You’re still my fuck toy.” Buffy smiled teasingly and looked up at Angel as she removed the vibrator from between her legs. Holding it against his lips, she whispered “Taste…”. Angel hesitated for a brief second before his tongue lapped at her juices evident on the device. As he opened his mouth, Buffy slid the vibrator slowly in and out between his lips. “Hmmm You look like you might have done this before.”

Angel’s eyes met Buffy’s. He had done a lot of things in his long life as a demon that might surprise her. Well, he’d save that for another time – or perhaps never. He appreciated her naiveté about some things – no need to spoil it. “Maybe.”

Tossing the vibrator aside, she kissed him, gradually building up pressure as she probed his mouth with her tongue and wrapped her arms around his head to hold him close. She kissed him for several long minutes before shifting up and pressing her nipple against his lips. “Lick…”

Angel swept his tongue across her nipple and aureole, laving the spiked tip roughly. “Suck…” Buffy’s voice was soft, her breathing harsh and irregular. Angel obeyed, suckling fiercely at her breasts as she offered him first one then the other.

Panting heavily and close to orgasm, Buffy moved backward and slowly eased his erection inside her. Angel watched her through half-closed eyes as she moved up and down on him. “Ride me.” His voice was a harsh whisper.

Outside their bedroom door, Cordelia was arguing with Gunn. “I told you – I had a vision. Buffy is going to stake him!” Gunn looked sideways at Cordelia, a little irritated and groggy since she had woken him up and dragged him down here. Not to mention that he wasn’t sure he believed her story completely – he had heard more than a few lies from her in the past few months, all intended to cause trouble between Buffy and Angel. He did know one thing though – he really did not want to bust into their bedroom if they were “occupied”. “Delia, are you sure? I mean 100%, absolutely sure of what you saw? And when?”

“If you don’t bust through that door right now, our friend is going to have to vacuumed up with the dust buster – I know it!” Cordelia hoped she was convincing – she wasn’t telling the truth, but anything that might keep Buffy and Angel apart was good in her book. If Angel thought Buffy would stake him, then surely he’d stay away from her…

“I’ll knock – but I am *not* going in there.” Gunn was adamant, particularly since he could hear soft sounds through the door. He had a pretty good idea what was going on, and was sure that both vampire and slayer would be pretty pissed off if they were interrupted.

Cordelia shot him a dirty look, then knocked hard on the door yelling. “Angel?!”

After a few seconds, she knocked again harder. “Angel! Damn it – answer me!”

“What do you want Cordelia?” Buffy’s muffled voice could be heard through the door.

“I want to talk to Angel.” Cordelia put her hand on the doorknob, prepared to turn it.

“He’s busy.” Buffy smiled down at Angel as she rocked her hips slowly back and forth, her groin pressed firmly into his.

“Buffy. I *need* to see Angel. I had a vision.” Cordelia was getting frustrated. Gunn shugged, leaning back against the wall sleepily.

“Cordy… unless it’s world… in peril stuff… we’ll deal… with it… tomorrow.” Angel answered, his voice sounding throaty and deep and punctuated with pauses.

Gunn smiled leeringly at Cordelia, “I think they might be a little busy right now.”

“But Angel… In my vision Buffy staked you.” Cordelia stammered, clearly expecting that they would take her seriously – or at least stop fucking for a minute and listen…

“Are you sure you didn’t see Angel staking *me*?” Buffy smiled again, the idea of staking Angel so far removed from her mind that it didn’t even seem plausible. But him staking her – well, she planned for that to keep happening.

“It was a vision Buffy. They usually do come true.” Cordelia retorted. Impatient, Cordelia tried to open the door. It was locked. “Let me in.”

“Let’s talk about it tomorrow.” Angel was trying hard to concentrate, but finding it difficult as Buffy continued her subtle movements.

“Besides, there are no stakes in here Cordy. He’s safe – relatively.” Buffy looked down at Angel, feeling another wave of desire at the sight of him between her legs, the crimson tie around his wrists which rested on the pillows above his head. “For now.” Her last words only loud enough for Angel to hear.

“Good night Cordelia. Gunn.” Angel turned his attention back to Buffy, dismissing their uninvited guests.

“I’m not leaving until I see you Angel.” Cordelia was incredulous that they would ignore her.

“Then you’ll be waiting until morning, Cordy.” Buffy had no intention of leaving her position, happily perched on Angel’s lap.

“Daddy?” Connor walked sleepily into the room behind Cordelia and Gunn, Cordelia’s shouting through the door having awakened him. “What’s goin’ on?”

At the sound of Connor’s voice, Buffy sighed heavily and leaned down to untie Angel’s wrists. “Game Over.” Kissing him quickly, she climbed off him. Scooping up the sex toys strewn on the bed, she threw them into the box that she shoved under the bed. Angel pulled on his sweats as Buffy grabbed Angel’s robe and put it on.

Buffy opened the door and gave Cordelia an irritated look. “Connor honey, say good night to Daddy. He has to talk to Aunt Cordy.” Buffy picked Connor up and walked over to Angel.

“Hey big guy, you should still be in bed.” Angel ruffled Connor’s hair then kissed his head, noticing that the little boy was already starting to doze off in Buffy’s arms. Buffy padded down the hall to Connor’s room.

“This better be good.” Angel turned to Cordelia, crossing his arms over his chest. Naked chest, she noticed.

“I-I, had a vision. Buffy killed you. I just thought you should know, but excuuuse me for caring.”

“I appreciate your concern Cordelia, but I don’t think that there’s anything to worry about.”

“But, it was a vision Angel.” Cordelia was insistent.

“You told me that not all your visions are clear, maybe you just misunderstood what you saw.” Angel softened, he felt responsible that Cordelia had visions and he knew that they were painful for her. “Look, I appreciate your concern but there’s nothing to worry about. Just go home and get some rest.”

“Sorry Angel. Didn’t mean to interrupt anything.” Gunn smiled.

“You have no idea.” Angel’s expression said it all.

“‘Night.” Gunn pushed away from the wall and took Cordelia’s arm, leading her out. As they left, Gunn’s voice could be heard clearly as he chastised Cordelia for dragging him out in the middle of the night. He had seen Buffy throw herself in front of danger time and again to protect Angel during the past few months of patrolling and fighting with her – he didn’t believe that she would ever hurt him.

Angel turned to Buffy as she walked up to him. “Now, where were we?” Wrapping his arm around her shoulder, he pulled Buffy close, nuzzling her cheek.

Buffy pouted. “They interrupted my game. And now you’re untied.”

Angel kissed her, whispering against her lips with a small smile. “Should we start over? Or maybe I can make it up to you… somehow…”

Picking Buffy up in his arms, Angel headed into the bedroom, kicking the door shut with his foot. Quickly divesting them both of their clothes, Angel sat down on the bed and pulled Buffy into his lap. Kissing her heatedly, his hands roamed down her body.

“I can’t get enough of you,” Buffy sighed as Angel rolled her on to her back.

“I’ll see what I can do” Angel murmured, his lips against her breast as he began a slow lazy rhythm with his hips, pushing her higher. Reaching down to tease her clit, Angel drew out their pleasure, Buffy coming twice more before Angel finally stiffened against her and found his release. Pressed close together, content, they slept.


 

Buffy, Angel and Connor spent the next 4 days at Yosemite. Buffy took Connor out during the day to play in the snow, at night the three of them went on hikes through the cold and quiet valley.

Only once did they run into any demons – Buffy yelling for Angel to take Connor back to the cabin, Angel yelling the same thing at her before he finally relented. Angel paced until Buffy returned unharmed. Even though he knew she patrolled alone in Sunnydale, he still worried about her.

It was a rare time for them – no worries, just their own little family. Angel admitted to Buffy that he was nervous about Connor’s future. The little boy would be starting school soon – how would that look to have a parent that could never show to parent/teacher conferences or daytime activities? Buffy said she’d always be there to help out, that she could be surrogate mom for Connor.

Angel studied her carefully, glad to hear her say the words that he had so wanted to hear. He had bought a ring for her several months ago – a platinum Claddagh ring that had a large heart shaped diamond in the middle. He still didn’t feel that he could offer her much, but he was going to offer marriage, his heart and a pre-made family. He just wanted to wait until she finished college before proposing, not wanting to alter her immediate plans.

“Buf-” Angel turned toward the door at the sound of it opening, “Cordelia. I thought you might be Buffy.” He had been trying to reach Buffy on her cell phone for the last hour without success. She’d gone out to run a few errands, but hadn’t returned yet and he was starting to worry. It was New Year’s Eve and he knew how much she was looking forward to going out tonight to celebrate.

“Oh. She called earlier. She was just leaving the mall, so she should be in about half an hour or so.” Cordelia walked slowly into the room, her hands behind her back. She had, in fact, seen Buffy parking her car outside, therefore giving her the perfect opportunity to put her next plan in motion. She’d been feeling disgruntled ever since her last plan seemed to have failed so miserably.

Angel looked up at Cordelia’s words, surprised. Buffy never called on the main office phone line that Cordy answered, she always called him directly either at the apartment or on his cell phone, but if she had called there was no message in either place.

“What’s that on your shirt?” Cordy moved closer, pointing toward the collar of Angel’s shirt. As she reached him, Cordelia moved her hand from behind her back and carefully smeared the lipstick from her finger on the shirt. “Oh. Lipstick. Here, let me have that – if you don’t clean it properly, it won’t come out.” Against his subtle protestations, she unbuttoned Angel’s shirt and dropped it on the back of the couch.

“Listen. Angel. I need a favor.” Once his back was turned, Cordy dropped the object that she had been holding behind her back on the floor, kicked off her shoes and followed Angel into the bedroom. He was standing near the open closet. “I’ve got an audition tomorrow for a commercial – it’s a sudden thing, the girl got sick or something. And, well – the audition requires me to kiss a guy. I’d feel better going into it if I could practice a little bit first. Would you kiss me? Just for practice.”

Angel took a step backward and looked at Cordelia warily. “Uh, Cordy. You know I’d always help you with just about anything but, but- can’t you ask Wes or Gunn?”

“If I asked them they’d think that I was coming on to them or something. You know how much the acting thing means to me. Please. You’re the only person I could ask.” Cordelia turned all every ounce of acting ability she possessed to appear both innocent and on the verge of tears. “Just one kiss? Pleeaasse? As a friend helping out another friend? Look Angel, I know you’re with Buffy. No one will even have to know.”

Angel always had a weakness for beautiful women, and beautiful women in distress were particularly difficult for him to resist. He was still uncertain and reluctant when Cordelia stepped forward and slid her arms around his neck. He moved back a step, but she only followed, leaning more heavily into him. “Please, Angel?” Pulling his head toward hers, she pressed her lips against him.

Buffy opened the door to the apartment and set her packages down. It had taken her longer than she had expected, but it had been worth the wait. She had a picture of her and Connor that had been taken at Christmas blown up and framed, planning to give it to Angel tonight as part of their new year celebration.

She smiled, noticing the high-heeled shoes on the floor, then Angel’s shirt on the back of the couch. He was usually so meticulous that it was rare to see things strewn about. What was he up to? Walking closer, she realized that the shoes were not hers. They were at least a size 10 – much too big for her size 5 ½ feet. As she picked up the object on the floor next to them, she heard a sound from the bedroom. What she saw next made her chest constrict with pain and the smile vanished from her face.

Angel pulled away from Cordelia just seconds after she had pressed her body to his. “Cord-”

“Am I interrupting something?” Buffy’s voice was calm, betraying none of the hurt and anger that she was feeling. Dangling Cordelia’s panties from the tip of her finger, she held them out.

At the sound of Buffy’s voice, Cordelia turned toward the door but kept her arms around Angel’s neck, schooling her features into the best guilty expression she could come up with.

“Buffy. It’s not what you think.” Angel unwrapped Cordelia’s arms from around his neck and moved past her toward Buffy.

Buffy stepped back, dropping the offensive object from her hand. “Oh. You’re not planning on screwing Cordelia in our bed? Cuz that’s what I’m thinking.”

“It’s not like we haven’t done it there before, Buffy, remember it was Angel’s bed-” Cordelia’s voice was a contradictory mix of innocence and a sneer.

“Cordelia.” Cutting her off, the anger evident in his voice, Angel’s tone was enough to prevent even Cordelia from saying anything else. “Buffy-”

“Get out.” Buffy stared at the brunette coldly, events of the past several months now making sense. Messages left for Angel that were never delivered, times or dates that were mixed up, clothes of hers left at the apartment that were torn or ruined without explanation… She wanted to talk to Angel, but not with Cordelia still in the apartment.

Dropping her gaze from Buffy’s angry stare, Cordelia gathered her panties and shoes and left the apartment.

Turning once again to Angel, Buffy crossed her arms over her chest and waited.

“Buffy. Cordelia said she had an audition tomorrow. That she needed to practice kissing for it and asked for my help.”

Buffy raised her eyebrows but said nothing, clearly skeptical of the brunette’s motives.

“I wasn’t going to help her, but she sort of threw herself at me before I knew what was happening. I’m not sure that I *wouldn’t* have helped her. She has done a lot for me.” Angel paused, waiting for Buffy’s reaction.

“Go on. Why were you half dressed? And in the bedroom?” Buffy was working hard to control her emotions. “Why were her panties out here? With. Your. Shirt.”

“She said I had something on my shirt – she offered to take it to have it cleaned.” Buffy looked pointedly at the shirt in question, still draped over the back of the couch. Angel shrugged. “She followed me into the bedroom when I went to get another shirt. As for her underwear – I don’t know. I promise you, nothing happened other than a very brief – and somewhat unpleasant – kiss.” Angel held out his hands in supplication, wanting Buffy to believe him.

Buffy took a deep breath and looked away, needing a moment to collect her thoughts. What did she believe? Did she trust Angel? Did he really want Cordelia? Suddenly she was feeling a sense of déjà vu – the insecurities she felt in high school when Angel and Faith had kissed and had pretended to be together surfaced. But, they had put that behind them…

“Angel. You know I love you.” Buffy quiet voice broke the long silence. “But I don’t trust Cordelia.” Buffy paused as Angel stepped toward her. “I think she’s trying to cause trouble between us. Think about it – all the messed up messages over the last few months, my stuff getting mysteriously ruined – she has to be behind it. I don’t even have to mention her ‘vision’ of me staking you.”

“I don’t think she’s intentionally causing problems, Buffy.” Angel wasn’t ready to see that Cordelia could still be as much of a bitch as she had ever been in high school – maybe even more. All he knew was that she had helped him out and stuck by him when he needed it. She was a dear friend to him and he loved her as such. If nothing, Angel was loyal to his friends. He couldn’t abandon her. “She’s had it rough – with her family losing their home, then the painful visions. She’s trying hard to make it with her acting career, but it’s tough. And I know she’s lonely.” Stepping closer, Angel pulled tried to pull Buffy into his arms. “She knows I love you. But even more importantly, *I* know that I love you. I would never cheat on you.”

Buffy resisted Angel’s attempts to pull her close, stepping back to look up into his face. She knew that it was going to be a challenge for her to put this behind her, but if she couldn’t trust Angel then they couldn’t have much of a relationship anyway. “Angel. I trust you. I have to trust you if we are going to make this – us – work. I believe you – about what happened with Cordy.” Buffy looked away, finding it hard to find any more words to convey her feelings.

Turning back to Angel, Buffy stepped into his embrace. Closing her eyes, she surrendered to Angel’s kiss hoping to wash away the vision of Cordelia in his arms.

Angel kissed Buffy gently on the forehead, then her eyes and nose before finally stopping once again on her lips. “Besides, you keep me too tired out to fool around with anyone else.” Smiling slightly against her lips he kissed her again, hoping to lighten her mood and reassure her of his feelings.


 

The tension was noticeable as the gang made their way to the nightclub where they had planned to spend New Years Eve. Buffy all but ignored Cordelia while Cordelia kept her constant chatter of catty comments and rude remarks. As if starting off the evening by criticizing Buffy’s outfit were not bad enough, Cordelia had pushed her way in front of Buffy to slide into the middle of the front seat of the car, next to Angel. Buffy met Angel’s eyes over the car’s roof, clearing indicating that he needed to deal with Cordelia or she would. Angel sighed, knowing Buffy was right, but then he was never good at confrontation of this sort…

Buffy stood out like a jewel as they entered the club, dressed in a simple turquoise slip dress, figure hugging and provocative, her blond hair flowing long and straight down her back. Many of the men in the club noticed her instantly, watching her as their group made their way to a table. The large, glowering man at her side would have done more to deter their attentions had he not had a brunette clinging closely to his arm.

Buffy was annoyed with Angel, the earlier incident with Cordelia still fresh in her mind and now having to put up with her antics tonight. Why couldn’t Angel just deal with her straight out? Why was he always making excuses and allowances for her?

Not long after they arrived, a tall, good-looking man worked up his nerve and stepped up to Buffy and asked her to dance. Buffy looked over at Angel, expecting some reaction, but he missed the whole exchange as he was leaning down to hear something that Cordelia had to say. And Cordelia, she was taking full advantage of the opportunity and was pressing her breasts firmly against Angel’s arm. In a fit of anger and frustration, Buffy accepted the invitation and headed out to the dance floor.

Angel noticed that Buffy was no longer at the table the second he turned away from Cordelia. Thinking that perhaps she went to the ladies room, he looked around the club distractedly then back at the group seated at the table. Wes, Fred and Gunn all stared at him nervously, Fred looking at the dance floor then back again. Out of the corner of his eye, Angel caught a glimpse of the turquoise color that Buffy had been wearing. Turning his head, he expected to see her making her way back to the table. He was not expecting to see her dancing. Or smiling. At some stranger on the dance floor. Angel stood so quickly that he nearly knocked his chair over backward. As he watched, Buffy danced toward the man then leaned in to hear something he said. She smiled, shook her head, then moved back and continued to move in a manner that in his mind was rather suggestive. Angel loved to watch her dance, her movements always sensuous and seductive, but only with him. Only for him. Fred, sitting closest to Angel, wondered if he realized that he was growling. Cordelia sat back and smiled, hoping that a chasm was opening between Buffy and Angel. From all appearances, this plan was finally working.

As the song ended, Buffy thanked Alex (she now knew his name) for the dance, then started back toward the table. As she made her way through the crowd, she was stopped several times and offered drinks or asked to dance. She politely declined all, now feeling rather childish and immature. Glancing up, she saw Angel standing at the table looking toward her, his expression rather forbidding. Suddenly feeling a momentary panic, Buffy veered left and headed toward the ladies room. Angel tracked her progress with his eyes, sniffing in irritation each time some guy stopped her or talked with her.

As soon as Buffy exited the ladies room, Angel grabbed her wrist and pulled him behind her. “Angel. What are you doing?” Buffy tugged, but was unable to release his grip without making a complete scene.

Angel pulled Buffy into the small room storage room at the back of the club.

“After watching so many *boys* out there pant after you, I’m feeling possessive.”  Reaching out, he slipped one strap of her dress down her shoulder.

“Angel…” Buffy swallowed nervously, unsure of Angel’s intentions.

He slipped the second strap down tracing his finger over the low décolletage of her dress before tracing the scar on her neck. “I’ve already marked you as mine. Maybe I need to do it again.”

“Angel… what are you-” Buffy took a step back.

Deliberately he leaned into her, pressing her back against the door as he kissed her, a demanding, forceful kiss intended to lay claim and establish ownership. Raising his head slightly, he murmured against her lips “You’re not going anywhere. Yet.”

Holding her immobile with his weight against the door, he ran his hand up her arms and tugged her dress down, exposing her breasts to his heated gaze. Cupping her breasts, he lifted them kneading them softly before rolling her nipples between his fingers. “Perfect. Beautiful. Mine.” Tugging again on her nipples, Angel swept his tongue across her lips before he sucked her lower lip into his mouth.

After a few minutes, Buffy broke the kiss to catch her breath, dropping her head back to the door. Angel slid his hands to her waist and shifted his attention to her throat, exposed as if she were offering it to him. He nibbled softly at his mark on her neck before he sucked her skin into his mouth. Sucking harder, he intended on leaving his mark on her again – albeit a mark of a different sort. Finally lifting his head, he looked at the faint purple hickey forming and smiled slightly. That would do. For a start. “I want to fuck you senseless.”

“Please Angel” she insisted breathily, her annoyance with him forgotten in the heat of passion. Her body responding to the feel of his hands on her body, the pressure of his lips on hers, the hard erection pressed into her stomach.

“Soon…” Licking the hard tip of one nipple, he slowly drew the taut tip into his mouth and sucked. “If you ask nicely.”

Buffy knew she should be angry, she should reject his authoritative and primitive behavior. But with his mouth sucking firmly on her nipple, she felt nothing but the racing heat of lust as it melted through her senses. “Please Angel. Please. Now…”

Pausing, his lips still close to her skin her murmured “Good girl.”

Buffy shifted against the door, desire surging through her. “What do you want me to do?” She breathed softly, shivering slightly.

“Turn around and put your hands against the door.”

Buffy bit her lip to stifle a whimper, the pulsing between her legs intensifying at his heated suggestion.

Lifting up her skirt with one hand, he stripped the thong panties down her legs with the other, placing them in his pocket. “Spread your legs.” Moving forward and unbuttoning his pants, Angel ran his hand down the curve of her behind before sliding it between her legs. “Wider.”

Buffy complied with his request, spreading her legs wide as he held her skirt up on her back.

“Wet already, Sweetheart.” Stroking his fingers across her clit, he teased her. With a twist of his wrist he deftly slid two fingers inside her. “Is that from dancing with that boy down there?” His voice was tinged with anger as he thought again about her dancing.

“Hard already, lover. Is that from Cordelia whispering in your ear and pressing her boobs into your arm?” Buffy looked back over her shoulder, her voice filled with sarcastic sweetness.

Sliding the head of his erection against her bottom “Hardly.” Angel snorted. “No. I only seem to want your hot little body. Your wet pussy.”

Tightening his grip on her hips, he slid inside her. She moaned softly as his rigid length invaded her, filling her. Bracing her arms against the door, she pushed back against Angel as he surged forward thrusting hard, slow and deep inside her. Leaning forward, Angel pressed his chest to her back kissing her nape and whispering heatedly against her warm skin. “Do you want anyone else Buffy? Do you want another man’s cock? Tell me.” Each word punctuated with a firm thrust.

“Only…you… Angel. Always…only…you” Buffy breathed in response, concentrating on the delicious feelings racing through her. She surrendered to the feeling, his body hard against hers driving into her over and over again, her breath coming in panting gasps, small whimpers escaping her lips.

“Come for me, Sweetheart. I want to feel your sticky wetness.” Angel’s hands released her hips, sliding up to clamp around her breasts caressing and tugging on her nipples once more. One hand continued down her body to explore her firm stomach, then lower still to caress her clit as he continued to plunder her body.

“You can’t make any noise when you come, they’ll hear you.” His words, whispered harshly against her neck set off her orgasm. He continued to thrust as he felt the ripples of her climax around him. With three more deep strokes, Angel shuddered and sighed, releasing his seed into her body.

Kissing her neck softly, Angel regretted his behavior. He knew that he had acted rashly and impulsively. He only hoped that he didn’t hurt her in any way. “Sweetheart, I-” Buffy pulled away from him, wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing her lips to his.

Her hands, hot, demanding and urgent began unbuttoning his shirt. She stroked his chest, possessively claiming him for her own. She felt the same irrational possessiveness that he did. “Perfect. Gorgeous. Mine.” Meeting his eyes briefly, Buffy dropped to her knees. Taking his semi-erect and sticky cock in her hand, she looked up at him again before taking him into her mouth. Bobbing her head up and down, Buffy sucked voraciously before using her teeth to scrape gently across the tip. Within minutes, Angel felt himself once again close to exploding.

Reaching down, Angel pulled Buffy up meeting her eyes briefly before closing them and pressing his lips to hers. Kissing her hungrily, he walked her backward. As Angel slid his hands under her bottom and lifted her, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and her legs around his hips. Surging forward, he slid inside her and began to move. Buffy met his hard driving rhythm with a selfish violence immune to reason, frantic and panting. Inflamed and overwrought she abruptly bit his neck. Grunting in pain, he resisted the urge to bite back, unsure if he would be able to control his demon impulses if he did.

She was so hot, tight and wet around him that Angel gritted his teeth trying to control himself and hold back. Kissing her again, he thrust his tongue into her mouth matching the rhythm of his hips as he thrust inside her.

His mouth captured her scream as she bucked hard against him, pulsing and coming. Jerking her lips away, she sank her teeth into his neck while her nails were digging into his back through the shirt and jacket he still wore. Tension building inside him, Angel drove hard into Buffy before finally releasing a groan of his own and clutching her hard against him as he once more shot his seed inside her.

Between kisses, they fixed their clothing and talked. They both realized that they were jealous and possessive, Angel admitted that he needed to talk to Cordelia but he didn’t want to hurt her feelings, Buffy finally grumbling that she didn’t have either mirror or comb and hoped that she looked presentable.

“Where have you been?” Cordelia smiled brightly as Angel walked up to the table, not realizing that his tall frame was blocking Buffy, who was close behind him with her hand tucked into his. “Were there dem- Oh.” The smiled vanished from her face as she took in their appearance. Buffy was flushed, but appeared to be relaxed and languid. Her lips were slightly swollen from their passionate kisses and the bite mark on her neck was obvious. Angel’s hair wasn’t gelled as perfectly as it had been earlier and he too had obvious teeth marks on his neck.

“Do you guys ever do anything else?” Cordelia stomped off to the bar, needing a few more cosmopolitans to wipe the vision of Angel and Buffy out of her mind. Gunn, knowing that she already had three, stopped her and led her out to the dance floor instead.

Alex looked around the crowded club, knowing that it was getting close to midnight and hoping that he might be close to Buffy for the midnight kiss. Spotting her, he headed toward her just as she pulled Angel out on the dance floor. The countdown had only reached 8 when Buffy pulled Angel’s head down to hers for a heated kiss that lasted all the way through the countdown to midnight and then some. Alex stopped short. From the looks of that kiss, he knew he didn’t stand a chance. Sighing, he moved off in search of a new partner.


 

A few weeks later…

Yawning, Buffy rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Her stomach rolled and a wave of nausea assaulted her. She knew from her experience of the past few mornings that she’d probably lose the contents of her stomach in a few minutes, but eventually the feeling would pass and she’d feel better – tired, but at least not nauseous. Groaning, she rolled quickly out of bed and headed for the bathroom.

Later that morning, Buffy sipped a cup of weak tea and examined the results of the pregnancy test that she had picked up yesterday. She could deny it no longer. All of her symptoms – including her lack of her menses since before Christmas – all pointed to one thing, which the test now confirmed. Buffy was pregnant. But how? Of course, Angel had Connor – maybe a second miracle baby? She had to believe that it could be. She was nervous and excited, all at once. She had so wanted Angel’s baby. But what was his reaction going to be?

Buffy made her way slowly into the hotel. She still wasn’t sure how she was going to tell Angel and she was increasingly nervous about his response. And she was early. He wasn’t expecting her until tomorrow – along with all her friends from Sunnydale. Angel had planned a birthday party for her in LA, so the entire gang was going to make the trip over.

“Oh, Buffy. It’s you.” Cordelia couldn’t keep the hostility out of her voice as she saw Buffy walk into the room. They still weren’t on the best of terms after New Years – in fact, they pretty much avoided each other, a situation that suited them both. Buffy knew that Angel still hadn’t said anything to Cordy – the big chicken. He’d fight any demon, evil person or other creature of the night, but he was afraid to face Cordelia.

“Cordelia. What are you doing here?” Buffy walked into Angel’s rooms, not expecting to find the brunette loitering about.

“I work here, remember.” Cordelia sighed, talking to Buffy as if she were a child.

“You work for Angel Investigations, which does not include this apartment. You are not Angel’s personal assistant, no matter how much you might like that job Cordy. I suggest that, for health reasons, you will consider keeping your person out of these rooms in the future.” Buffy’s voice was pleasant, but Cordelia wasn’t naïve enough not to hear the threat.

“Buffy. You’re early.” Angel entered the room, clearly surprised to find both Buffy and Cordelia there. “Cordy. Did you need something?” Angel had been reserved in his dealings with Cordelia in the last few weeks, clearly not wanting her to think that he was in any way interested in her as well as annoyed with her continued sniping comments about Buffy.

“Yes. Missed you.” Buffy smiled and walked over to Angel, kissing him softly but clearly establishing her position to Cordelia.

“And. Um. We need to talk.” Buffy was clearly nervous.

Cordelia rolled her eyes and left the room, but lingered by the door after hearing Buffy’s words.

“What’s wrong, Sweetheart? Are you okay?” Angel seemed to notice Buffy’s nervousness, as well as her apparent tiredness.

“Angel. I’m pregnant.” The words came out in a rush and not at all as Buffy had practiced, much less intended or hoped. She watched him anxiously, waiting for his reaction.

“What? How?” Angel was clearly surprised.

“Well, clearly you know how – since we practice that part pretty diligently. I don’t really know how to explain it otherwise. I’m still a little uncertain about it myself.”

“Are you sure?” The words sounded harsh, cold.

“Yes.” Buffy had half-expected this reaction. If she hadn’t wished this so much, she might have questioned it more aggressively herself. As it was, she knew unequivocally that it was Angel’s child and that it was a miracle. For once, she thought, the Powers that Be smiled on her. Angel would believe so too.

“This is impossible.” Angel blurted, his mind in confusion. “Is it-” He paused, the words difficult. “Is it mine?”

“What?! What do you mean – is it yours?” The words cut through her like sharp knives, her dream shattering. “How could you ask that?”

Angel looked away from her, unable to meet her eyes.

Buffy waited until she could no longer stand the silence. “Of course it’s yours. Unless it’s an immaculate conception of some sort.” She let out a somewhat hysterical giggle at the thought. This was going just great.

“It can’t be.”

“What do you mean – can’t? Of course it can. You have Connor.” A chill washed over her at his words. Buffy chided herself – Angel was the master of causing her pain. How could she have forgotten? Worse, how could she have expected things to be any different?

“I can’t believe that a miracle like that can happen twice.”

“Can’t? Or won’t?” Buffy had held out hope that Angel would be happy for them, that he would be excited about this baby. That he would want it as much as he wanted Connor. Her hope was fading with each word.

Angel stared at her, unsure what to say. Unwilling to believe that he would be gifted with two children and a love as strong as what he felt for Buffy in spite of all of the horrible things that he had done in his long life as Angelus.

“Angel. We’re both freaks of nature – who’s to say that we can’t have our share of good miracles?”

“I do.” His whispered words were harsh in the quiet room.

“You, you- don’t believe me?” Buffy’s eyes filled with tears, her emotions running high.

“I don’t know what to believe.”

“So what? Do you think I’ve been screwing around in Sunnydale? I know Cordelia has spread that nasty little rumor around – Gunn told me.”

Angel looked away from her. He had heard the things that Cordelia had said, but had never believed it. He honestly didn’t believe it even now, but he was groping for a reason, an excuse.

His lack of response and long pause told her all she needed to know.

“I believed you when you said you weren’t *fucking* Cordelia! And I caught you red-handed! WITH HER. KISSING. IN OUR *FUCKING* BEDROOM!” Buffy gulped, her voice dropping to a whisper. “But I trusted you. I believed in you. You have less than that, and yet you don’t believe me?”

“It’s not the same thing, Buffy.”

“No Angel. It’s worse.”

Angel turned away from her, unsure what he believed. When he turned back around, Buffy was gone.

Out in the hall, Cordelia smiled.


 

As Buffy waited for Willow and Tara she turned on the radio, listened absently to the stations. Quickly changing the station from Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel”, Buffy stopped on an 80’s rock station. Sinking into the chair next to the couch, Buffy listened to the song that was playing on the radio and ironically thought it was rather fitting to her mood and the situation.

Have you ever needed someone so bad, yeah
Have you ever wanted someone you just couldn’t have
Did you ever try so hard that your world just fell apart
Have you ever needed someone so bad

Every dream I dream is like
Some kinda rash ‘n’ reckless scene
To give out such crazy love
You must be some kinda drug
And if my time don’t ever come
For me you’re still the one
Damned if I don’t, damned if I do
I gotta get a fix on you

Have you ever needed someone so bad, yeah
Have you ever wanted someone you just couldn’t have
Did you ever try so hard that your world just fell apart
Have you ever needed someone so bad

Their arrival interrupted Buffy’s musings, as Willow and Tara flopped down on the couch opposite her.

“Buffy. I heard you come home last night.” Willow looked at Tara, both of them knowing that something was wrong. They had heard Buffy just before dawn when she arrived home from LA. She *never* came home from LA that early – at least not any time in the last 8 months since she and Angel had reconciled. And with her birthday party planned for tonight in LA, they knew that something bad must have happened for her to be back in Sunnydale.

Buffy had finally cried last night when she returned from LA. Surely every hurt that Angel inflicted was somehow etched on her soul, her feelings for him had always left her defenseless and vulnerable. He was able to touch her in ways that no once else could – the happiness greater, the pain more harsh and severe.

Noticing her pale cheeks and sad eyes, Willow ventured “Buffy – is something wrong? Did you and Angel have a fight?”

“Will. Oh god. Things are such a mess.” Buffy sighed, fighting back tears. Once more in control, she looked up at Willow and Tara. “I’m pregnant.”

“B-Buffy. That’s great!” Tara smiled, not considering the issues and complications. “Isn’t it?” But noticing that Buffy wasn’t beaming.

Willow, knowing a little more of the history with Angel, realized what one problem might be. “Angel doesn’t think it’s his, does he?”

“But how could he not?” Tara blurted. “Oh. Vampire. No children. But, but – Connor?”

“No, he doesn’t.” Buffy choked back a sob, still unable to believe that her happiness of the past few months had come to such an abrupt end. A baby was supposed to be a happy event, so how could this have gone so horribly wrong? But of course, it was a Buffy birthday tradition that something bad happen – how could she have expected otherwise?

“What are you going to do?” Willow asked, just as the phone rang. Tara rose to answer it.

“I don’t know yet. I wanted Angel to be happy about the baby, happy for us. I wanted him to want a baby with me. I know it’s hard to accept – I mean, neither of us ever thought… But-but there has to be some reason… Willow. It is Angel’s baby. You believe me, right?”

Tara came around the corner, holding her hand over the mouthpiece of the phone. “It’s Angel. Do you want to talk to him?”

“No. Tell him I’m not here.” Buffy looked away, still feeling the pain from his earlier words.

Tara went back around the corner, telling Angel that she’d give Buffy a message.

“Of course I believe you. Hell-mouth here, remember? Stranger things that this have certainly happened.” Willow continued. “So how far along are you? Have you been to a doctor?”

“Um, about 6 weeks. And yeah, I went yesterday.” Buffy thought back to the time when she would have conceived. It would have been around Christmas… Buffy’s face suddenly brightened. “Oh my god, Willow. That night. Christmas Eve. Technically I guess it was Christmas Day…” Buffy jumped up and paced around the room just as Tara re-entered. Suddenly stopping, Buffy stared.

“W-what Buffy?” Tara looked at Willow.

Taking a deep breath, Buffy began “Well, when we were making love that night Angel’s heart suddenly starting beating. It was only for a few minutes – but it did beat. I know it did. I think maybe he was human for that time – human enough to father a child anyway.” Buffy smiled, first timidly then more broadly – all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. “The timing is right as to when I would have conceived. And that was the same day that we saw the Oracles! The same Oracles that told me that they would give me a reward. Something that my heart desired. That has to be it. Somehow they must have known that I wanted Angel’s baby…” Buffy’s thoughts trailed off. “Of course, I didn’t exactly mean I wanted a baby right *now* but better than never, right?”

“It makes sense. I think. So are you gonna tell him?” Willow shifted on the couch as Tara sat down next to her.

“I don’t know Willow. Maybe. I mean I think so…” Buffy chewed thoughtfully on her lower lip. “He didn’t exactly jump up for joy when I told him. I don’t know if he’ll believe me.”

“Are we still going to the party tonight?” Tara looked from Buffy to Willow and back again. “I-I mean, we should all go, right? It is your birthday party Buffy. Although, I’m sure that everyone would understand if you didn’t go under the circumstances.”

“N-No. It’s okay. We’ll go. I’ll have to face Angel again sometime.” Buffy thoughts were already whirling – what was she going to say? Would Angel think she was simply grasping at any excuse to claim that the baby was his?


 

The guests had mostly arrived – all except the guest of honor. Angel had not been able to get in touch with Buffy since she left last night. He’d tried calling her cell phone and home – leaving several messages in each place. He knew she was avoiding him and he couldn’t blame her.

He felt terrible about his earlier reaction to her news. He knew that they needed to deal with this rationally, but unless she would talk to him there was no chance of that happening.

“Where’s Buffy?” Angel crossed the room and met Willow and Tara as they entered the hotel.

“She’s coming.” Willow glanced at Tara. “She said she needed a few minutes.” Buffy had ridden to LA with Willow and Tara, wanting to use the ride as an excuse to return to Sunnydale early if necessary. Despite her earlier resolve, now that they had arrived she wasn’t quite ready to face Angel again. He had planned this big birthday party for her though, and all her friends from Sunnydale and LA were coming. Even Spike insisted that even he was going to make an appearance – despite the fact that being around Angel was not his favorite thing.

Buffy sat in the car for a few more minutes, trying to catch her breath and steel her nerves to walk into the hotel.

“Well, you know how moody pregnant women are.” Cordelia announced snottily to the room at large.

Everyone was silent at Cordelia’s announcement. Buffy had only told him last night about her condition and from Giles surprised expression, Angel knew she hadn’t told him. Or anyone else in the room – all of which were now staring at him in stunned silence. Only Willow and Tara didn’t seem surprised.

“Buffy’s pregnant?” Anya’s voice echoed throughout the room as she turned to Xander with a whine. “She can’t have a baby – we have the baby. Our baby has to be the smallest and cutest.”

Angel turned to Cordelia angrily. “Cordelia. We have to talk.”

Cordelia shot everyone in the room a smug look as she walked over to him and put her hand on his chest. “Yes, Angel.” Her voice was syrupy sweet as she leaned close.

Whereas Angel had been going to spare her the embarrassment of speaking his mind in front of the crowd, he no longer had any such reservations.

“Cordelia. I have been patient. I have been understanding with all your screw-ups – and there have been a lot of those. I’ve put up with your inept office abilities, knowing that you needed a job. I’ve apologized and excused your rudeness more times that I can count. I’ve ignored your subtle and not-so subtle attempts to seduce me, thinking that maybe you’re just lonely or that maybe I was reading more into it than you intended. But NO MORE. You’ve shown me time and again that you are self-centered and selfish. You’ve tried for months to cause problems between Buffy and I, and now you’ve shown your lack of tact once again by blurting out something that is none of your business. I don’t even have to mention that it’s something that you had no way of knowing without eavesdropping on a private conversation.”

Cordelia cringed in embarrassment, everyone in the room witness to her humiliation. Angel was angrier than she had ever seen him.

“You’ve told lie after lie about Buffy. Don’t look so surprised. Yes, I know you told Gunn that she had some group sex thing with Riley and his commando buddies. You mentioned more than once to anyone that would listen that you had heard that she was sleeping her way around in Sunnydale – with demons and humans alike. I thought by dismissing it as the idle gossip of a jealous woman, it would go away. I was wrong. I know now that I should have dealt with it differently. Maybe I didn’t want to believe that you would be that petty. You were supposed to be my friend.”

Angel paused. “But I can’t blame you entirely. It’s my own lack of faith in Buffy that may have caused more damage that you ever could.”

“Angel.” At the soft sound from the door, Angel turned.

“Buffy.” Angel walked slowly, tentatively over to Buffy, forgetting for the moment about Cordelia. “I’ve been trying to call you. We should talk.”

Buffy forced a smile. “Yes, I know.” Buffy had walked in just in time to hear Angel’s last words to Cordelia and while they were a balm to her bruised heart, it wasn’t yet enough. “But not tonight. I want to see my friends and have cake. And hopefully avoid another bad Buffy birthday.”

“Ok. I understand. Will you stay?”

At her quizzical look, Angel amended “Here. I mean in LA tonight. So we can talk tomorrow. Or whenever you’re ready.”

“Buffeee! Happy Birf-daay.” At that moment, Connor rushed up to Buffy wanting her to pick him up and swing him around like she usually did. At the sight of Connor, Buffy’s heart softened. She swept him up and hugged him, tugging on the party hat that he wore.

“Thank you! And look how handsome you look in your hat.” Buffy smiled before setting Connor down and taking his hand.

“We’ll see Angel, ok?” Buffy was met by Giles, Anya, and Xander as she past Angel and headed into the room.

“How could you get pregnant Buffy? We were supposed to have the only baby. Now we’ll have to have another one.” Anya’s words were the first indication that the news was out.

Buffy turned and shot Angel a dark look, angry that he had shared the news with everyone when they had yet to resolve things. Before she had a chance to say anything, Gunn stepped forward and hugged her. “Cordelia sort of let the news out. But hey, congratulations. And to you to, Angel.” Gunn raised the drink that he held in his hand in a mock toast.

“Um, Yes, congratulations.” Wes and the others followed suit, all offering their best wishes. Neither of them heard the questions that followed – when was the baby due, what did they hope to have, where were they going to live… instead, Buffy and Angel simply stared at each other across the room. Finally Buffy broke eye contact, and simply shrugged at everyone. “Nothing’s decided. This is all new, guys. Ok?”

Connor tugged on Buffy’s hand, “Are you gonna have a baby?”

Buffy kneeled down to his level, “Yes.”

“Is it gonna be my brother?” Buffy glanced up at Angel, unsure how exactly to answer this question.

Angel stepped forward, “Well, Connor it might be a girl. What would you think of a sister?”

Angel’s words tugged at Buffy’s heart. At least he wasn’t denying parentage in front of their friends and Connor.

“Um, okay I guess. But I want a brother.” Connor took his ball out of his pocket and headed off, having enough adult conversation for the time being.

Buffy stood up, her voice soft “Thanks.”

“For…” Angel looked at her, then around the room. All the party guests had drifted away from them, Willow and Tara having quietly herded everyone away to give them a few minutes of privacy. Cordelia had vanished.

“For the party. For what you said to Cordelia. And, for-for not saying you don’t believe it’s your baby in front of everyone.” Buffy looked away nervously.

“Buffy. I’m sor-”

“Let’s not. At least not right now. Party. Cake.” Buffy turned away and walked over to Giles who was looking at them anxiously. Sighing, she was sorry Giles had to hear the news this way – she needed to make amends to him.