Giles was understanding and supportive when Buffy explained about her pregnancy. She left out some of Angel’s reaction – not wanting her friends to think badly of him should they manage to resolve things – but she did casually mention that Angel was a little hesitant to believe that the baby was his. Buffy thought it ironic that no one else seemed to question the paternity – everyone congratulating both of them like they were a normal couple.
Xander however, was outraged that Angel would even have the slightest doubt and wanted to tell him so, but held back at Buffy’s request. He was now shooting dirty looks at Angel when possible from the dance floor, where he and Anya had been for the last few songs.
The birthday party was just winding down when Spike burst through the door – two vampires and a demon hot on his heels. Spying Buffy, Spike raced toward her shouting, “I hope you have a weapon handy Slayer!”
Angel moved quickly, grabbing a sword and crossbow from the closet off to the side of the room – glad that they had the party in the hotel – while Buffy raced for her bag hoping to retrieve a stake and muttering a quick “thank you Giles” under her breath for his repeated lessons in always being prepared.
Just as Buffy reached her bag, one of the vampires chasing Spike managed to grab her shoulder and spin her around. Spike, who had skidded to a halt next to Buffy, took a swing at the demon who was close behind, the blow causing the creature to stagger backward but hardly doing any damage to the large beast.
Buffy managed to land one good kick before she was punched hard in the face and sent tumbling into the chairs and wall behind her. Struggling to her feet, Buffy managed to kick out behind her, knocking the vampire into Angel who had just reached them. Angel, who had lost his temper and vamped out at the sight of Buffy hitting the floor, wasted no time in turning the vamp into dust with his sword.
Meanwhile, Gunn managed to take out the other vampire while Spike still fought with the demon. After watching for a few minutes, Buffy took the crossbow that Angel had dropped and shot the demon expertly in the heart. Spike kicked at the body before stepping over it. “Thanks.”
Angel’s eyes had not left Buffy since she had fallen hard. “Buffy, are you all right? The baby-” He paused, uncertain how to continue. “You’re ok, right? Both of you?”
Buffy smiled hesitantly up at Angel. “Yes. I-I, mean I think so.” She was touched at his concern.
“I don’t like you getting knocked around like that. Especially now.” Angel looked at the body of the demon then back and Buffy. “We’ll have to work something else out for patrols, at least until… Well, for a while.”
“Bloody hell, Pet. Knocked up?” Spike had overheard their exchange clearly and was obviously surprised and somewhat amused. “And you, Peaches. You’re 250 years old – not exactly a young age to be fathering a child. Oh, and a vampire, who, by the way, are *not* supposed to have children. How is it then that you’re on number two?”
“Uh, Spike-” Buffy looked nervously at Angel, knowing that he needed little to provoke him into fighting with the blond vamp, before changing the subject. “What was this all about?”
“Well, I was in town so I thought I’d meet up with a few old pals, play some poker…”
“And?” Buffy raised her brows, knowing that Spike was omitting some important details.
“And, they accused me of cheating. Which I was not, I’ll have you know.” Spike looked indignant. Buffy rolled her eyes, familiar with Spike’s repertoire.
“What?! I wasn’t. Not then, anyway.” Spike grinned, knowing that he’d been caught.
The sound of Frank Sinatra singing “The way you look tonight” started up as Anya reset the CD player now that the excitement was over.
“You can take care of the mess, right Spike.” Angel nodded toward the demon on the floor, his tone telling Spike more than asking. Dismissing Spike he turned to Buffy, taking her hand and asking softly. “Dance with me?”
Buffy sighed as she rested her head against Angel’s chest as they danced. She never tired of being held in his arms. She pushed their problems aside and savored the moment. Fred and Gunn joined them on the dance floor, Tara and Willow already dancing along with Xander and Anya.
As the party wrapped up and the guests headed home, Buffy looked around for Willow and Tara needing to ride back to Sunnydale with them. Fred and Gunn were cleaning up. Wes had left a while ago to see if he could find Cordelia.
“Have you seen Willow? Tara?” Buffy asked Fred as she came back into the room. Buffy already suspected that her friends had left, Willow and Tara conspiring to force her to talk with Angel rather than giving her the excuse of needing a ride that she had planned. Buffy sighed heavily, knowing that they were right. She needed to face this.
“Oh. Willow told me to tell you that she and Tara were staying nearby and if you really needed them to call her cell phone. But she said that you and Angel needed some time alone. I can hardly believe you’re having a baby – you’re still so tiny.” Fred stopped her rambling and studied Buffy’s face for a few minutes. “Is everything ok?”
“I don’t know, Fred.” Buffy looked up as Angel crossed the room toward them, returning from putting Connor to bed, “I’m not sure about anything.”
“Thanks for helping clean up Fred. You and Gunn can take off – I’ll take care of the rest tomorrow.” Angel gave Fred a quick kiss on the cheek. Taking her hand, Angel pulled Buffy toward him. “Buffy. I want to show you something…”
Buffy was quiet as Angel led her through the hotel. At the room next to Connor’s, he stopped and pushed open the door. Buffy gasped in surprise, taking in the sight. Connor’s old crib stood in the center of the room, filled with lavender tulips. Glancing around the room, Buffy took in the additional buckets and vases of pink, white and lavender flowers that filled the room, which was lit by the soft glow of the dozen or so candles placed along the window and the bookcase along the wall. On one small table, there was simple silver vase containing a dozen or more rich red roses.
“What is all this?” Buffy turned to Angel, smiling slightly as she took in the sight with wide eyes.
“I thought that this would be our daughter’s – or son’s – room.” Angel tugged her hand, pulling her into the room. “At least when we’re in LA. We can figure out the details. And you can redecorate however you like.”
Buffy looked around before returning her gaze to his face. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying I’m sorry. Sorry about the things I said to you, how I reacted when you told me that you were pregnant.” Angel looked away, ashamed. “You told me once that I hurt you without even meaning to. I swore to myself then that I wouldn’t hurt you again. Yet, I did.”
“We spent the last year rebuilding our relationship. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I hope that I didn’t destroy that.” Angel took both Buffy’s hands in his as he stopped in front of her. “Sweetheart. I love you. I know that the baby is mine. Ours.”
Buffy fumbled for words, “Well, I’m sure you were surprised…”
“I was surprised, yes. But that’s no excuse. You don’t know how many times I wished I could give you a baby. When you told me that you were pregnant, it was like a dream come true – I couldn’t believe it. It’s hard for me to believe that I could have so much after all of the things that I’ve done. Every day that goes by, I wonder how I got so lucky. I don’t believe that I deserve you or Connor, much less to be blessed with another baby.” Angel lifted her hand and kissed it, his words obviously pained.
“Angel, I wanted you to be happy about the baby, happy for us. I wanted you to want a baby with me. I know it’s hard to accept – I mean, neither of us ever thought…”
“Buffy. I am happy. I was confused and stupid. And you were right about Cordelia – I should have talked with her long before now.” Angel looked directly into Buffy’s eyes, pleading with her to forgive him. “I want this baby with you. So much.”
Buffy took a deep breath and turned away from Angel, once again looking around at the abundance of flowers. “I think I know what happened. I mean, how I got pregnant. Do you remember when we were making love on Christmas? When your heart suddenly starting beating? I know it was only for a few minutes…” Buffy paused before she turned back to Angel, wanting to see his reaction. He was watching her thoughtfully. “It would have been the night that I conceived – at least according to the doctor’s calculations as to how far along I am.”
Buffy looked away briefly before returning her gaze to Angel’s. “Earlier in the day we had also been to see the Oracles. To return to bracelet thingy. They said that they would give me a reward – something that I wanted. I think they knew that I wanted your baby and they helped to make that happen. I didn’t exactly mean I wanted a baby right *now* but better than never, right?”
“Anytime, Sweetheart. Anytime with you.” Angel smiled slightly, his eyes wide as he too made the connection and realized the truth of what she was saying. “I still find it hard to believe that something this good could happen to me. I’ve done so many horrible things-”
“Angel. You’re doing good things. You’ve helped a lot of people. You’re a good person, even if you don’t believe that. You’ve earned your soul. That has to count for something.” Buffy was never rational when it came to him – despite the pain and hurt Angel caused her, she always thought the best of him, was always supportive.
“Are we okay?” Despite her words, Angel wasn’t sure if Buffy had forgiven him.
“Well, we’re pretty low on trust right now. Believe me, I know this whole pregnancy is hard to accept – been there, done that. But I can’t believe that you doubted me. That you didn’t believe in me. We’ve been together for all this time, yet… ” Buffy walked away from him, stopping to pluck a rose out of the vase and breathing in deeply to inhale the rich fragrance. “Yet your first instinct was not to believe in me. Not to trust me. And that really hurts.”
Angel was quiet, uncertain what he could say. She was right, his thoughtless actions had hurt her again.
Buffy turned back to him again, a small smile playing on her lips. “This doesn’t change that I love you. That I want to be with you. And I’m sure that you can find *some* way to make it up to me – though it might take you, say, hours or days, weeks even.”
Angel’s head came up abruptly, her words bringing hope that they would be able to put the events of yesterday behind them. That Buffy might forgive him.
Her hand idly tracing a path along the lapel of his jacket, she stopped in front of him her expression serious once again. “Angel, there will be things in the future that may threaten to tear us apart. I’m prepared to always be there for you – to believe in you, to back you up regardless, to trust you. If you can’t do the same for me, then we should end this right now. I’ll raise the baby in Sunnydale…” She left unsaid the rest of her thoughts – that he could participate as father or not, his choice.
“Buffy. I know I was wrong. Even though I’m 250 years old, there are a lot of things that I’m still learning. I make mistakes just like anyone else. But I can promise you that I will never doubt you again. And *we* will raise the baby together – Sunnydale, LA, wherever.” Angel stepped closer and tilted her head up to look at him. “I’m prepared to grovel as much as necessary to keep you in my life.”
“Grovel huh?” Buffy’s smile widened. “And what all would this groveling include?”
Angel smiled as he lifted her in his arms, once again wondering how a demon could be so lucky, “It’s not something I can tell you. I have to *show* you.” He kissed her lips softly, tentatively. As she wrapped her arms around his neck, he deepened the kiss, carrying her to their bedroom.
Buffy swiveled her head around as Angel sat her down, taking in the additional flowers. “I bought out the florist down the street.” Returning from closing the door, he answered the unasked question and shrugged, pulling her into his arms.
“Oh, I should call Willow. Tell her I’m staying.” Buffy shivered as Angel nibbled on her earlobe.
“She knows.” Angel continued planting tiny kisses down her neck. “When she threatened to stake me earlier, I told her a little about my plans.”
“She what?” Buffy tilted her head, giving him better access to her neck. He was licking delicately at the slight pulsing of her vein.
“Let’s just say she made it clear what she thought of the way I acted. She loves you – she wants you to be happy. And well cared for.” Angel turned Buffy around so he could unzip her dress, lifting her hair to plant kisses along the nape of her neck.
Her dress pooled at her feet as Angel pushed it off her shoulders. Pulling her back against his chest, he ran his hands lightly over her stomach. “What do you think – boy or girl?”
Leaning her head back against him, Buffy closed her eyes. “Hmm… I’m not sure. Either flavor works for me.” Reaching up, Buffy wrapped her arms around Angel’s neck.
Angel’s hand stilled on her stomach, his fingers splayed as he resumed his gentle kisses and nibbles on her neck. “It’s a girl.” One hand drifted upward to cup her breast, his thumb lazily drawing circles around her silk covered nipple.
“And you know this how?” Buffy rolled to face him, sliding her hands around his waist and pressing her mouth against the coolness of his neck.
Unhooking her bra, he pulled it down her arms and tossed it aside. One arm encircling her waist, the other touching her check, he pulled her tight against him. Against her lips, he murmured, “I just know.”
Buffy sighed and leaned into his kiss, opening her mouth as his tongue gently traced her lips before probing inside. Angling her head, she invited his tongue deeper into her mouth, sucking it softly. Palms flat, Buffy’s hands slid up his chest tracing the muscles through the silk of his shirt. As her hands reached his shoulders, she stretched upward fitting her nearly nude body against his fully clothed one. Breaking the kiss, she sighed against his lips, “You have too many clothes on.”
Unwrapping her arms from his neck, he pulled her to the bed, stopping to kiss her heatedly en route. “I’ve still got some *groveling* to do.” Stripping her panties down her legs, he pushed her gently back on the bed.
Buffy lay back and watched as Angel removed his shoes and shirt. She licked her lips unconsciously at the sight, Angel’s sexy, half-naked body never failing to stir feelings of arousal within her. Leaving his pants on, he crawled up the bed. Gently he lifted her foot, kissing her toes and biting the pads gently. Wrapping a hand around each calf, he slid his hands upward, caressing and massaging gently. His lips followed his hands, leaving a trail of kisses along each calf and shin. Slowly he stroked her thighs, inching upward toward her as he parted her legs. Angel’s tongue followed his hands, licking a slow, wet path up her thighs. Buffy stirred restlessly on the bed, her hips rising in invitation to him as his hands and mouth drew closer to her wet sex. “You’re so beautiful, Sweetheart. So wet and pink.” His fingers lightly traced the swollen opening, sliding easily through the wetness. “Luscious.”
Buffy’s hips jerked at his teasing touches, arching toward him and desperately craving more. “Please…”
“Wait.” His tongue touched her clit, flicked softly and withdrew. Buffy whimpered softly, opening her legs wider as she braced her feet on the bed and lifted her hips.
“That’s it baby. Open wide for me.” Angel’s tongue licked across her wet flesh again, the leisurely pace intended to prolong the exquisite sensations.
Buffy expelled the breath she had been holding and whined, “Angell…”
Exploring first with his fingers, then his tongue he ate at her wet crevice, licking gently. Using his thumb, he applied pressure to the sensitive nub of her clit, stroking it firmly before sucking it into his mouth. At the first tugging pressure of his mouth, Buffy felt her orgasm begin, the sensations exploding within her. Releasing her grip on his hair, she collapsed back against the bed, panting heavily.
Buffy opened her eyes as she felt Angel’s lips gently pressing kisses to her stomach. He smiled up at her, before returning his attention to her abdomen. The slight additional firmness the only possible sign of her pregnancy. Angel moved slowly upward, kissing the plump swell of her breasts where they met her rib cage, before using his hands to stroke her breasts casually, cupping them in his large palms. Gently he kissed them, licking tenderly at the erect nipples.
Buffy moaned softly, wanting the firm, sucking pressure of his mouth on the sensitive tips instead of the gentle licks.
Angel continued his journey upward, kissing the curve of her shoulder, the scar on her neck, and the corner of her mouth. Settling between her legs, he slid his cock inside her, gently as if she might break. Supporting his weight on his elbows and knees, he began to move slowly, tenderly. Her erect nipples teased the hardness of his chest, her breasts moving against him as she stroked his back.
Buffy whispered huskily, “More…” Attempting force the pace, Buffy pushed her hips insistently against his. “Harder…”
Angel moved inside her delicately, sliding upwards and murmuring love words softly against her ear as he withdrew. Unfamiliar with making love during pregnancy, Angel was reluctant to drive into her with his usual forceful pressure. Reaching between then, he massaged her clit. Within minutes, Buffy was feverish beneath him and frantically near climax, her breathing ragged. Making sure that she was with him, Angel groaned and slid his arms under her bottom, pulling her into him. Together, they found paradise.
* * * * *
Buffy sipped her morning – now decaf – coffee and skimmed the paper as Angel made breakfast. Connor was drawing pictures at the table next to her.
When the phone rang, Buffy wasn’t surprised that it was Willow. She was calling to say that she and Tara were going to do some shopping in LA before heading back to Sunnydale later. Buffy said that, yes, she and Angel had made up, but she’d probably still ride back with them – she still had classes on Monday, besides she’d need her car. Buffy had just hung up the phone when a weary and obviously worried Wesley burst into the room.
“I haven’t been able to find Cordelia anywhere.” Wes poured himself some coffee and sat down.
Buffy looked at Angel, suspecting another ploy. Angel was still annoyed with Cordy, but certainly didn’t want anything to happen to her. “She’ll show up. She’s just mad right now. She needs some time to cool off. Pancake?”
Wes declined the food. “I’m not so sure. I’m sure she never made it home last night.”
“Why do you think that?” Buffy asked between bites of food. “Connor, eat your breakfast honey. You can play with your truck after.”
“I waited there for a while, but she never showed. I tried the few other places that I know she goes, but there was no sign of her.”
“Give her a couple of days, Wes. I’m sure she’ll be back like nothing happened.”
* * * * *
Angel was now beginning to worry that something had happened to Cordelia. It had been three days and there was no sign of her. Wesley was beside himself with worry – he had even been sleeping on her couch in case she returned.
Buffy, having returned from Sunnydale, insisted on helping the AI team look for her. It just wasn’t in Buffy’s nature to stay behind and wait.
“No.” Angel was adamant that Buffy stay at the hotel with Fred and Connor.
“Big girl. Super powers, remember?” Buffy ignored Angel and packed a few weapons in her bag.
“Pregnant girl. Remember?” Angel looked exasperated. “Buffy, sweetheart. One fall or punch from a demon could injure you and the baby.”
“I’ll be careful. Besides, cell phone.” Buffy held up her phone. “At the first sign of trouble, I’ll call.”
“Then I’ll go with-”
“No, because then we won’t be able to cover as much ground.” Buffy snuggled up to Angel, resorting to feminine wiles to get her way. “Honey, I’m already taking the area immediately around the hotel – it can’t really get much safer. I’ll be extra careful and I promise, no fighting. None.” Buffy smiled up at him before nuzzling his neck. She refrained from mentioning the few patrols that she had done this past week in Sunnydale.
“Be careful.” Angel sighed heavily, finally relenting. He knew that they did need to cover as much ground as possible if Cordelia was really missing. “Just the surrounding blocks. Come right back after. If you see any thing, call. Don’t check it out on your own.” Angel gave her a quick kiss then they all went their separate ways.
None of the AI team had noticed the pickup and camper that had been parked down the street from the hotel for the last few weeks. It was moved every few days to avoid any parking violations, but was so nondescript as to be essentially unnoticeable. The owner had parked there initially to get a few things at a nearby store, but had stayed on after catching sight of Buffy arriving at the hotel one afternoon.
Tucker had come to LA to meet up with his cousin who was being released from jail. Then they were heading back to Montana. Tucker lived mostly off the land, avoiding people as a general rule. His cousin had been locked up for almost 7 years, having killed a man during a robbery. A loophole in the system was giving him early release.
At first sight of the petite blond, Tucker had been star-struck. He waited, watching the hotel for any sign of her. Each time he managed to see her, he became more obsessed. He watched and he waited, but he was never able to catch her alone. She kept unusual hours, making it difficult for him to establish a pattern of her behavior. One day he’d been brave enough to enter the hotel, which is when he saw the brunette. He’d been so nervous that he fled before anyone spotted him.
When Charlie had gotten out of jail, they’d driven him back to the hotel, Tucker wanting to show him the two women. Charlie was the one that came up with the idea to take the two girls back to Montana with them. They needed company for the long Montana winters. Wives even. Tucker was hesitant at first, but finally agreed – his desire for the blond woman overcoming any reservations.
Buffy walked slowly along the street, but didn’t see anything unusual. There were a few homeless people, drug addicts and the usual derelicts, but no sign of Cordy. Buffy was about to give up and head back when she noticed that one of the homeless women happened to have a Prada bag. Buffy approached the woman, who was muttering to herself as she huddled against the building.
“Hi.” Buffy kneeled down, noting that the woman seemed not all together there. Drugs, most likely. “Can I see your purse?” At the woman’s hesitant nod, Buffy picked up the purse and opened it. Yep, it was Cordelia’s. The M.A.C. cosmetics were a good indication, but Cordy’s wallet and ID confirmed it. Keeping the wallet and Cordy’s cell phone, Buffy took the few dollars that were left and returned the money and purse to the woman. “Where did you get this?” The woman only babbled and pointed in the general direction behind her, clearly not completely coherent.
Buffy moved cautiously down the dark alley, looking for any additional signs that Cordelia had been there. “Ok, just a little dark and creepy.” Used to handling things on her own, it didn’t occur to her that Angel would consider her trip down the dark alley to be ‘checking things out’, so it didn’t even cross her mind to call him.
Out of the corner of her eye, Bufy thought she spotted something moving in the dark. Just as she turned to investigate, she was jumped from behind. Her vision swam as one man pressed a chloroform soaked cloth to her mouth and nose, then she blacked out.
* * * * *
Angel paced restlessly as he and the rest of the AI team waited for Buffy to return to the hotel. She was over an hour late. “Damn it! I knew I shouldn’t have let her go alone. She shouldn’t even be out there.” He had already been out twice in the last area looking for her.
“C’mon, man, let’s take another look around. We’ll probably even meet up with her coming back.” Gunn gestured to Angel, then started forward. He too was worried, but didn’t want to further alarm an already agitated Angel. “Wes, why don’t you wait here in case she returns?”
Angel and Gunn found nothing, not even the homeless woman that Buffy had seen earlier. She had packed up her things and moved on. It was getting closer to daylight and Angel was now getting frantic. Gunn insisted that he go home, but Angel growled and waited until it was almost dangerously close to dawn before leaving, dialing Buffy’s cell phone repeatedly, but receiving no answer.
* * * * *
The sunlight streaming through the tiny window shone brightly in Buffy’s eyes and she woke with a groan. As usual in the mornings, her stomach was rolling and unsettled and the motion of the moving camper didn’t help. Buffy rubbed her head and looked around, not seeing anything she recognized until her eyes lit on a dirty and disheveled Cordelia. “Cordy?” Buffy squeaked in surprise and sat up with a start. The sudden movement wasn’t the best choice for a morning-sick slayer, as she promptly lost the contents of her stomach.
“Oh god, Buffy. You’re all right. Well, you’re sick but you’re all right. You were so still – I thought maybe they…” Cordelia’s voice was raspy, her eyes panicked. “All I could think was that Angel would REALLY kill me if you – you know, died.”
Buffy shook her head at Cordy’s typical self-centered fears as she concentrated on not getting sick again. Once she was fairly certain that the nausea had passed, she looked around. “Where are we?”
“The back of a camper.” At Buffy’s irritated look, Cordelia elaborated. “Well, how do you expect me to know? We’ve been moving for a few of hours. What are you doing here anyway?”
Buffy’s hand flew to her stomach, her eyes filled with momentary terror as she thought about the substance they used to knock her out. Hopefully it hadn’t hurt the baby. She needed to get out of here.
Looking out the small window, Buffy could see that they were clearly not on a main road. She yanked on the locked door as she wondered about jumping from the moving vehicle. “Looking for you. Who locked us in here Cordy?”
“They’re like mountain men or something. I haven’t heard much, but I know that one of them came here to meet up with the other one. He’s some brother or cousin or something that was getting out of jail. Then they plan on heading back to wherever they came from. Or, I guess I should say we *are* heading back there.”
Cordelia watched as Buffy looked around the small camper for something to use as a weapon.
“Are you okay?” Buffy turned to Cordelia for the first time.
“Gee, what do you think – I’ve been locked in here for two days. I haven’t had a shower, I’m going to have to exfoliate for days to get rid of the grime and my ends are splitting as we speak.” Buffy looked at Cordelia and shook her head. “Oh. Well, they have given me food and water. They’ve groped me a little, but-, but they do intend to- well, you know. Oh god, Buffy I don’t want to be here.” Cordelia bawled hysterically, finally giving way to panic and tears. “Bad stuff always happens to me because of you. You have to get me out of here!”
Buffy slapped Cordelia across the face. Cordelia immediately stopped her shrieking and stared back in shock. “What- why did you do that?”
“Because you deserved it.” Buffy sighed and slumped back to the floor, finding nothing of use.
“I so did not. When Angel finds out-” Cordelia stopped at Buffy’s look.
“Yeah? When Angel finds out what? That I found you? That I slapped you when you were getting hysterical?” Buffy stared at Cordelia in disbelief. “That his child was in danger from some mountain men? Will this be when you call him from Montana? Or wherever it is that they are taking us?”
“Come on Buffy, no one believes that it’s Angel’s baby. Not even Angel.”
With one quick movement, Buffy had Cordelia pinned against the wall by the throat. “You can ask him when we get out of here. In the meantime, don’t push me – you deserve much worse than a little slap for all the things that you’ve done. Which, if we didn’t have more pressing problems such as getting out of here – I’d happily give you. And bad stuff does not happen to you because of me.”
“But, but- I just wanted… I thought- But, Angel and I…” Cordelia stammered, her hand still on her smarting cheek. “It does too.”
“Cordy, I certainly can’t say I’m sorry that things didn’t work out with you and Angel because I’m not. But you can still have him in your life as a friend – I’m sure he’ s willing to forgive you because that’s just how he is – or not at all. Your choice. But listen very closely, I will *not* tolerate any more of your bullshit. The first time that I suspect you of causing trouble, I will kick your ass. Got it?” Buffy released Cordelia and turned back, just as the door opened to a tall, scraggly-bearded man. The two women had been so involved in their own conversation that they didn’t realize that they had stopped moving.
“Hello ladies. I think it’s time that we get acquainted. Hey Tuck, lookie here. It looks like we’ve got ourselves a cat fight.” A shorter man with a potbelly and dark hair stepped up from behind and grinned, revealing yellowed and missing teeth. “You ain’t fightin’ over us, are ya?”
The two men were unprepared for the kick that Buffy landed, knocking them both back away from the camper. Even though both men were strong and wiry, neither was a match for the mad slayer. She was tired, hungry and pissed off – it took her less than five minutes to knock them both out cold. With Cordelia’s help, she found some rope and tied the two men up, locking them in the camper. Rifling through the men’s belongings, Buffy recovered her cell phone and weapons, immediately planning on dialing Angel.
“Oh no. Angel is gonna kill me.” Buffy looked up in dismay, neither her or Cordelia’s cell phone battery had a charge. “Remind me never to look for you again.”
Cordelia just sniffed. “Can we go? Or are you not finished looting?”
Buffy and Cordelia had only driven about 5 miles back in the direction that they came from, when the truck sputtered and stalled. The gas gauge still showed fuel, indicating that there must be some other problem. They simply stared under the hood for a few minutes, neither knowing the slightest bit about cars.
“I have no idea. And from the looks of it, we’re way off the freeway or any other main road. Looks like we walk it.” Buffy started walking down the road in the direction of which they came, Cordelia following grudgingly behind. A few miles into the walk, Cordelia’s curiosity got the best of her. “So, did you and Angel- well, are you back together?”
“Why?” Buffy wasn’t in the mood for idle chitchat. She was tired and hungry, and had no idea where they were. She knew too, that Angel would be worried since she had been gone all night and most of the day. He’d be relieved that she was okay, but she anticipated a long lecture about safety, particularly now.
“Um, just curious.” Cordelia was finally coming to the realization that maybe Angel and Buffy really were soul mates. They seemed to keep finding their way back to each other despite all odds and were probably even having a baby together – something that defied even greater odds.
“It’s none of your business.” Her motives still suspect, Buffy was unwilling to open up and share any confidences with the former cheerleader.
Cordelia dropped the subject, but couldn’t stay quiet for long. She told Buffy about being grabbed the night she had stormed out of Buffy’s party, how the men had kept her locked up in the camper until they managed to grab Buffy too. Once they had tossed Buffy into the camper, they had taken off, stopping only once at McDonald’s to get food.
They walked for a while longer before they reached what appeared to be a main freeway. From there it was only a matter of minutes before a car stopped to offer the two women a ride back to LA.
* * * * *
Buffy dozed while Cordelia tried in vain to remove some of the dirt and dust from her face during the 3 hour drive back to LA. They couldn’t have found a safer ride, the man driving was a shy businessman from the Midwest, heading to LA for a sales seminar. When they finally reached LA, Cordelia gave him directions to the hotel and he dropped them off out front. They asked him to wait, wanting to help pay for gas or something, but he declined and drove off. He was pleased that he’d be able to tell his friends that he’d rescued two beautiful women on his trip.
They had only taken a few steps toward the hotel when Cordelia stopped. “Buffy? Look, I know I’ve done some pretty, um, drastic things… But, well, I mean, if anyone would understand how amazing and well, downright desirable Angel is, you would…”
Buffy crossed her arms over her chest and sighed. “Get to the point Cordy.”
“Well, I just wanted you to know that I would rather keep Angel in my life as a friend than not at all, so-”
Just then Fred came rushing out of the hotel “Oh Buffy! Cordelia! You’re both okay! We were so worried! Angel has just been going out of his mind – he’s been all growly and vampy. He’ll be so glad that you’re back. Both of you.” Fred hugged them both, followed by Connor and Gunn who came out behind Fred at the sound of her voice.
“You’d better get in there. He knows you’re out here and, he’s – well, let’s just say, if you get out of his sight again before the baby is born, I’ll be surprised.” Gunn smiled and hugged Buffy, pushing her toward the door.
To everyone’s surprise, Wes rushed past all of them and swept Cordelia in his arms, kissing her passionately.
“Hum, well. Who knew?” Buffy smiled at Fred and Gunn as she opened the door to the hotel – only to be grabbed herself and swept up in a pair of strong arms. Before she could catch her breath, Angel’s lips descended on hers. Carrying her upstairs, he sat her down in their room gently.
“Are you okay? Where have you been?” Angel’s eyes searched her, looking for any signs of harm. Running his hands over her carefully, her continued his investigation. “What happened? Why didn’t you call? Or at least answer your phone?”
“I found Cordelia. Oh! We have to call the police! The men – the ones that kidnapped us are still – hopefully – locked up in their camper out in the desert.”
“Men? Kidnapped?” Angel’s voice lowered an octave, his eyes narrowing. “Camper? Desert?”
“Um, yea.” Buffy examined her fingernails, finding them suddenly very interesting.
“Buffy. What happened?” Putting his fingers under her chin, he lifted her head to look down into her face. Buffy could see the faintest glint of gold in Angel’s eyes and could tell that he was working hard to control his emotions, anger the one currently at the forefront.
“Well, these guys had grabbed Cordy the other night when she left here. One of them just got out of jail.”
“Um, well I found her purse. And when I went down the alley where the woman said she found it, um, they grabbed me too.” Eyes widening, Buffy recalled the drug that they used on her. Suddenly worried, she grabbed Angel’s wrist. “Do you think being knocked out with chloroform would hurt the baby? Who can we ask? Maybe Fred can find something online…”
Before he could answer, Buffy pushed past him and rushed out of the room. Fred looked up in startled surprise as Buffy skidded to a halt in front of the desk. Within seconds, Angel appeared behind her. “Well?”
“Fred – can you find out something?” Buffy explained the situation, then she and Angel waited anxiously while Fred researched. Finally Fred looked over at them with a timid smile, “Well, from everything that I’ve read I don’t see any reason for you to worry. While I wouldn’t recommend that you go and inhale any more of the stuff, the small amount that they used shouldn’t be harmful to you or the baby.”
Buffy sighed heavily with relief. “I’ll double check with my doctor just to be sure, but thanks so much Fred.”
Taking her hand, Angel sat next to Buffy. With Buffy’s and the baby’s health relatively assured, Angel turned back to the matter at hand. “Tell me the rest of what happened. And why you went to investigate on your own when you told me that you wouldn’t. Then Gunn and I will go make sure that the men get turned over to the police.”
“Angel… Shouldn’t we just call the police? I mean – you don’t need to go there do you?” Buffy could tell from Angel’s dangerous calm that he was feeling the need to burn off some tension, which would not bode well for the two men tied up in the camper.
“Buffy.” Angel fairly growled.
“I woke up in a moving camper with Cordy. Ok, yes, I went to investigate on my own. If by investigate you mean walked down a dark alley where say, a clue had been found, such as a purse.”
“And, they knocked me out and put me in the camper. Cordy says that they drove off shortly after that. I don’t know because I was out cold. When they finally stopped, I managed to kick them…” Buffy cringed, remembering suddenly that she had said she wouldn’t fight. But this was definitely a special circumstance; surely Angel wouldn’t be upset about that. “And we locked them in the camper. We started to drive back, but the truck broke down. So, we walked until we reached the road and then we hitched a ride in with a nice, extremely safe, balding salesman from the mid-west. So, here I am. Safe and sound.”
Angel tugged Buffy to her feet and led her into the bathroom. Without a word, he turned on the water, tossed in some bath salts and undressed her. Pulling her hair up, he pinned it on top of her head with an expertise Buffy would never have suspected. After testing the water of the now full tub, he lifted Buffy up and sat her in the steamy tub.
Massaging her shoulders, he soothed away the tension. “Where are they Buffy?”
Buffy sighed and gave him directions to the general area. “Be careful okay? You really don’t have to go there, you know. It’s sort of medieval of you…”
“Stay here, soak. If the water gets too cold, then you can get out and curl up in bed. But, you’ll be here or there – no where else when I get back, right?” The light stroking her collarbone, in no way fooling her that he meant business.
* * * * *
Angel ripped the door off the small camper, startling the men inside as well as his own companions. He had seemed so calm, they had not suspected the rage that was simmering below the surface.
The two men cringed as Angel yanked them out onto the ground. He walked slowly around them, the predator rising to the surface.
“Gentlemen. You abducted my wife. My pregnant wife. I hate to think that she was abused or mistreated…”
To his credit Angel untied the two men, giving them a fair chance against him. Charlie wasted no time in trying to attack, but his efforts were wasted as Angel pummeled him into the ground. Tucker held back, wanting no part of the dark haired stranger after seeing the beating that Charlie took. He whimpered and cowered at Angel’s feet, begging him not to hurt him. Angel turned away in frustration, knowing he couldn’t hit a man who wouldn’t defend himself.
Throwing both men back into the camper, Wes and Angel tied them back up. Gunn got the truck fixed so they drove it to the nearest gas station and called the police, leaving the men there for them to find.
“Wife?” Gunn queried as the three men drove away.
“Wife.” Angel smiled slightly. “If she’ll have me.”
“As if you’ll give her a choice.” Gunn grinned, glad to see that things appeared to be working out for his friends.
* * * * *
When Angel arrived back at the hotel near dawn, Buffy was sound asleep. The long day had taken it’s toll on her and she was exhausted. Angel sat quietly in the chair by the bed and watched her sleep, touched by the sight of her so small in his large bed. He felt overwhelmed as he thought of their coming child, and couldn’t resist saying a small prayer of thanks to the Powers That Be. Content, he curled up next to Buffy and slept.
* * * * *
While in theory Buffy and Angel continued alternating time between Los Angeles and Sunnydale, the reality was they were spending more time in Sunnydale. Angel worried about Buffy’s health even though she was now only 4 months along, and he hated the thought of her making the drive. He routinely made up excuses – which lately were growing more feeble – to show up at Buffy’s with Connor on Thursday nights, thus keeping her at home. She knew what he was doing, but in truth, didn’t mind it. She tired easily these days, so it was nice to have a break from the drive.
Up until two weeks ago she had seen him every week. Then he got involved in a particularly messy case and was unable to make the drive. Under no uncertain terms, he told her, was she to show up in LA. He didn’t want her to get involved in this case. He couldn’t deal with it and worry about her too. She argued but eventually agreed, knowing that she had midterms coming up anyway.
Angel tucked Connor into bed, the guest room having been converted into a combined baby nursery and Connor’s room, and crept silently into Buffy’s room. It was just after 10:00, but Buffy was dozing with a book open on the bed next to her. Angel put the book away then studied her for a few minutes.
Slowly he placed his hand on her gently rounded abdomen that was peeking out between her pale blue pajama bottoms and the tiny tank top. As his hand crept upward, Buffy’s eyelashes fluttered. “Mmm. Hey you.”
“Hey.” Angel kissed her softly, lingeringly. He had really missed her these last two weeks. She had been on his mind constantly.
“Umm. Missed you.” Buffy smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer.
He kissed her again in answer, his tongue gently probing her mouth. She had tried in vain to convince him that he needn’t treat her like a china doll during sex, she wasn’t fragile or breakable. In fact, she had felt considerably more amorous since her pregnancy and she really wanted, no, she needed him in his demanding, passionate form. She’d written him an explicit e-mail a few days ago detailing her wishes. Now that he was here it was only a matter of seeing what he would do.
His hand caressed her breasts through the cotton top. Reaching the hem, he pulled the top up exposing her breasts.
“These are bigger…” Angel traced small circles around them.
Buffy closed her eyes, feeling a hot surge of desire. “For the baby…”
“Mmm. And for me.” Licking one nipple, Angel cupped her breasts in his hands, thinking all the while how extraordinary the changes in her body were. How rare the miracle of pregnancy in his life.
“How do they feel?” His voice was a husky whisper against her flesh.
“Sensitive. Tender. *Eager*.” Buffy purred, pressing her breasts firmly against his lips.
“Want me to touch them?” Angel closed his lips around one peaked tip, nibbling softly.
“Yesss…” Buffy hissed, waiting anxiously for the firm, sucking pressure of his mouth.
She tossed restlessly on the bed while he sucked and nibbled on the sensitive tips, biting them gently with his teeth.
Planting kisses down her stomach, he eased her pajama bottoms off. Slowly he reached between her thighs, his fingers leaving a trail of fire where they touched. Buffy whimpered as his fingertips brushed across her clit. “Please, Angel. Hard.”
Angel hesitated only a second before rubbing his thumb firmly across her clit. Buffy groaned, pushing hard against his hand as he increased the pressure and speed of his strokes. He slipped a finger inside her as he continued to manipulate her clit. Pressing his lips to hers he kissed her urgently, his tongue exploring her mouth.
Buffy sucked hard on his tongue as she came, her hands gripping his shoulders hard and her nails digging into his flesh. “That’s it baby, come for me.”
As he moved to undress, Buffy rolled to her knees and looked back at him over her shoulder. Angel groaned at the sight of her so blatantly on display for him, so obviously hot with desire for him. “Now Angel… Fuck me.” Buffy’s voice was a throaty purr.
Moving quickly to the bed, he pushed slowly but firmly inside her, holding her hips still. Breaking free of his hold, Buffy began to move forcefully back against him, grinding her bottom into his groin.
Finally relenting to Buffy’s pleading cries, Angel began to thrust harder pounding against her as he gripped her hips. His eyes opened wide in alarm at her first keening cry, but relaxed when he felt her convulse against him as she came.
Following her explicit e-mailed instructions, Angel continued to force the pace wringing three more orgasms from her until her finally came, groaning and collapsing on the bed next to her. Sticky and sweaty, Angel’s face buried in Buffy’s hair, they slept.
* * * * *
Connor stayed with Tara and Willow when Buffy and Angel went out on patrol the next night. A new demon had recently started terrorizing the parks on the west of town and Buffy wanted to take care of it. She insisted on fulfilling her obligations as slayer for another month or so – then they’d figure something else out. Unbeknownst to Buffy, Angel had already hired the first employee of the Sunnydale Angel Investigations office – Spike.
Spike had been taking care of any slayage in Sunnydale, leaving only a few harmless exceptions for Buffy at Angel’s request. This latest demon had been tricky, eluding Spike for weeks now, which is how word of it finally reached Buffy. Angel knew better than to argue with her as she started out on patrol, knowing that the best thing he could do was to go along and hopefully get to the demon first.
Angel caught Buffy around the waist as she dropped into the sewer after him. The tracks that they found indicated that the demon had been down here more than a few times. It wasn’t long before they came across the gray, hairy beast as he was greedily sorting through the few items he’d pilfered from nearby Sunnydale residents.
Angel rushed forward and tackled it to the ground. The creature wasn’t large, but he was exceptionally strong. They struggled for a while, until Buffy managed to throw an ax straight into the creatures spine. Blue blood spurted everywhere as the beast sagged to the ground.
“That was bracing.” Angel attempted to wipe off the creatures blood as they slowly began to retrace their steps through the sewer.
“And incredibly nauseating.” Buffy’s stomach was still rolling.
As Angel looked at Buffy’s pale face, he felt an urgent need to take care of her, to protect her. It was no different than he had felt in the past, but at the same time it was crystal clear.
“Buffy. We should talk. I know you have school and all, but- well, I think we should stay together. Permanently.” Angel grimaced at the detour his words had just taken. He hadn’t planned to bring this up now and certainly not that way.
“I wonder if this blood will come out?” And he was still attempting to wipe away some of the blood splatter on his jacket.
Buffy smiled, content with any nuance of the word permanent where Angel was concerned.
“Well, what do you think?” Angel stopped, causing Buffy to have to stop and look at him.
“About the blood stains or are you talking about something more personal?” Buffy was still smiling as she looked at him.
“Something more personal.” Angel was looking at her intently.
“Oh. I like permanent. I can do permanent.” Buffy stepped closer to him and placed her hand on his chest.
“Well what? I didn’t hear a question. And why do you always want to have these conversations in the sewer?” The irony wasn’t lost on her. He’d broken up with her in a sewer, and now, if she wasn’t mistaken, he might be proposing…
“Marry me.” There. He’d said it. Brushing a stray hair away from her face, he smiled at her.
“Do you love me?” His proposal wasn’t exactly the down-on-one-knee, romantic proposal of fairy-tales. She wanted to be sure what his reasons were.
“I love you. I’ve loved you since the moment I first saw you.”
“Is this just because of the baby?” Buffy wanted to be sure he wasn’t asking out of some sense of obligation.
“No. I’ve had a ring for you since last summer. But I wanted to wait until after you got out of school. Now I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to wait anymore. What do you say?” Angel stepped closer, leaving almost no room between them.
“Of course, yes! I love you.” While she knew she wouldn’t have a traditional wedding – exactly – she also didn’t want to be hugely pregnant at the time. And it would take a few weeks, at least, to plans things. She hugged him happily. Tilting her head up, he kissed her. One kiss turned to several before they finally broke apart.
“Oh, ick!” Buffy looked down at her top, now smeared with the blue blood. Angel shrugged and took her hand as the resumed their walk out of the sewer.
As Angel helped Buffy out of the sewer, Buffy picked up their earlier conversation. “But, I want to wait after the baby is born. To get married.”
“Tomorrow.” Annoyed, Angel growled softly. He wanted to marry her before the baby was born, suddenly feeling very old fashioned and traditional. He knew he should have asked her way before now, but he didn’t want her to think it was just because she was pregnant. And it seemed like there was always something that came up. But now that he asked, he wanted what he wanted.
“Let’s talk about it tonight.” Buffy deferred the topic, knowing that Angel was not likely to give up in his current mood.
“Ok.” Angel smiled. He was very good at persuasion in bed.
Buffy and Angel compromised. They were married in a small private ceremony at the hotel the following weekend, with a larger and more formal ceremony planned for later in the year after the baby was born.
Several months later, Angel held Buffy’s hand as she screamed in pain, choosing to deliver their daughter at home naturally instead of in a hospital where there could potentially be problems for Angel getting in and out during the day. When her labor had begun, he worried, sorry that he had given in to her wishes instead of insisting that she go to the hospital. The midwives that they brought in were exceptional however, and mother and baby were both fine and healthy.
Buffy smiled sleepily at him when he showed her their daughter. “You were right.”
“Thank you for my beautiful daughter. She looks like you, Sweetheart… ” Angel smiled as Buffy’s eyes closed wearily.
Afterwards, however, Angel slumped in a chair with a cup of blood liberally laced with alcohol in his hand. He was exceptionally glad when the ordeal was over, the sight of Buffy in pain causing him no little amount of guilt at his role in her suffering.
Buffy however, was strong and healthy, proving to him within days that she was fine and there was no need to worry. Although, several weeks later she had to overcome his concerns about her health once again when she attempted to seduce him. The weeks of abstinence however, worked in her favor and her lover was back in rare form.
Over the next few years, Buffy and Angel divided their time between LA and Sunnydale, as well as opening up additional Angel Investigations offices in New York, Atlanta and London. Angel obtained his humanity, grateful for the chance to grow old with Buffy, something he had wanted dearly with each passing year.
Connor doted on his little sister, Sarah, the two of them becoming inseparable, as they grew older. The Powers that Be watched over the children carefully, as they were to be the next warriors chosen to continue the fight that their parents long led.
Cordelia and Buffy reached a tolerable level of friendship for the few years that Cordy continued to work for Angel Investigations in LA. She eventually moved to New York to run the office there. She and Wes had dated briefly, realizing quickly that they really didn’t have that much in common. After her move to New York, Cordelia eventually met and married a former model, Marcus. They had two cats and a dog, but no children (yet).
Wes returned to England and to the Watchers Council. As the director of the council, he managed to make some beneficial change to age-old policies. He eventually revealed to everyone that he was gay, and settled into a comfortable relationship with his partner, Michael, director of the Museum of Antiquities in London.
Giles also returned to England and opened up a pub. Eventually he married a woman by the name of Olivia, the two of then traveling extensively throughout the world. Giles was never able to completely remove his watcher’s hat, so many of his travels were actually research expeditions in disguise. He and Wesley got together once or twice a year to catch up on his findings as well as the latest news.
Xander and Anya had another baby, a boy named Jaden. They sadly divorced after several years of marriage, Anya finding that she wanted more material possessions that Xander could provide. Xander was raising the kids in Sunnydale with help from Willow and Tara. Anya was rumored to have been in Europe somewhere, trying to find someone who could help her return to her former demon ways.
Willow became a professor at UC Sunnydale, but still continued her ‘technopagan’ activities. Unknown to her computer science students, she became a world-renown expert with translations and interpretations of ancient prophecies – invaluable to Buffy and Angel in their work as well as the Watchers Council. Tara opened a pre-school, finding that she was exceptional with kids.
Spike eventually moved to London and was helping the AI offices there on a part time basis. He found that he preferred his freedom to the drudgery of a fulltime job, but happily consulted on cases when he was available.
Fred and Gunn, kept their jobs at AI in Los Angeles. They bought a small condo in Santa Monica that Gunn insisted on renovating himself. They eventually had two boys.
Thanks for reading! This has been a fun series…