Blessing of the Son


AUTHOR: SCORCH (aka JUDE)
SUMMARY: Angel discovers that Cordelia has a son when she returns to Sunnydale after several years away.
RATING: NC17
POSTED: 11 Feb 2004
CATEGORY: AU DRAMA / DARK / BtVS&ANGEL CROSSOVER / CHALLENGE FIC
CONTENT/PAIRING: CORDELIA/ANGEL, BUFFY/XANDER, SPIKE/FAITH, SOME B/A, WILLOW/CORDY/FAITH FRIENDSHIP, CORDELIA/AUS
WARNINGS: Explicit Sexual Content
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES:
1) Happy Valentine’s Day Sage! I didn’t do the POV part of challenge cus I suck at POV’s, hope you enjoy anyways. *Hugs* Also combined parts 1 & 2 cus they’re the short ones!
2) My smut muse really wanted exercise, all those either underage or shy take my advice and skip the ending!!! P.S. Helen, be prepared to polish up that smut crown cus I want it back *rubs hands together in glee* P.S. Lysa’s marathon parts seems to be catching.
3) See Challenge Criteria at the end of the fic.
STATUS: Complete


Part 1
Glancing in the rear view mirror, Cordelia checked to see if was okay to switch lanes in order to take the highway exit that led to Sunnydale. Though she hated driving at night, it was a necessity in order to reach the Hellmouth well before dawn so as not to put her son in any unnecessary danger or discomfort.

Quickly taking her eyes off the road ahead, the young mother flickered her eyes to her son sleeping on the backseat and covered by a heavy blanket needed to block out the light.

Despite his special condition, Cordelia loved that child more than anything or anyone in the world, he was her life and world and she wouldn’t have it any other way. It had been hard at first, caring for him and providing him a safe environment for him to live as normal a life as possible.

But now, after doing it for so long, it was like breathing, a second nature to protect her baby. The bond between Connor and herself was stronger than that between mother and child due to the amount of caring she gave and received in return.

For a five year old with a special condition like his, Connor was one of the happiest little boys she knew. Even though he got down in the dumps sometimes because he couldn’t go out and play with other children his age. It wasn’t his condition that was the problem, it was the frustration that it caused him to feel.

He got frustrated when daylight broke and he had to be in the dark. He got frustrated when he was told he couldn’t do certain things like go to the park or go swimming and other normal kid stuff.

When he got like that, it hurt Cordelia more because she blamed herself for him not being to do any of that. She blamed herself for the weakness she felt at the hands of his father, she blamed herself for not saying no to him though he gave her the opportunity and she blamed herself for running away. If there was anybody on this planet who could have helped Connor in anyway, it was them.

Shaking off her reverie, the brunette slowed the car down to take the corner at a safer speed and used the momentary pause to check on her son once more. The passing traffic hadn’t woke him up thank God, Cordelia wasn’t sure if she would be able to handle a five year old bouncing around in the back pretending to be Zorro.

An amused smile flickered across her defined features as she congratulated herself yet again on the idea of buying him super hero outfits that kept his skin free of the light and made him feel good about himself.

Sadly, Connor sometimes took the hero thing a bit too far and made a point to defend her honour against harmless and helpless little insects. She had grown used to mopping and scraping up squished bodies of spiders, however it never made the task any less disgusting. The thoughts of her baby boy’s actions had given welcome relief from the thoughts and memories Sunnydale conjured up.

It was all too easy to give in and let those thoughts take her back to a time and place where her life had been just that.

Her life.

With no-one else dependant on her for survival and no-one else to worry about. Now it so very different, with Connor and the caring he needed, Cordelia found thinking of her old life gave her nothing but bittersweet erotic memories belonging to someone other than her.

The ex-cheerleader didn’t even know if Connor’s father was still in Sunnydale, if he had left or if Buffy had been able to dust him. She didn’t know what she was going to say to him if he was, Cordelia hadn’t thought that far ahead.

The only thought she’s had was getting to her hometown before day break and the light that would hurt her son.

These past five years had seemed like an eternity to her, trying to hold down a job that coincided with her motherly duties and Connor’s extra caring. Unfortunately for Cordelia, the usual working hours were during the day and that was when her son needed her the most and she finally realised she couldn’t do this by herself. That was the reason she was going back, not because she wanted to see his father.

Soon, she passed a green sign that stated ‘Welcome To Sunnydale’ in big, curly white writing. “Home Sweet Hell” Cordelia said quietly as she repressed the urge to knock down the sign, turn the car around and go back to Canada.

*~*~*~*

After taking all her things into the little house she’d been able to afford renting with the remaining trust fund set up by her grandmother, Cordelia went to the task of waking Connor in order to get him inside. Dawn was only an hour and a half away, that didn’t leave much time to get him inside and get him settled before the sun hit.

“Connor, c’mon buddy” Cordelia whispered to the sleeping boy on the back seat as she moved the heavy blanket away from his face. Stroking the floppy, dark hair away from his sleepily blinking brown eyes, she smiled lovingly down at him and shook him a little more. “We’re here now, time to get inside”

“M’tired mom, can’t you carry me?” Connor mumbled in annoyance of being woke up before he was ready. Off his mother’s stern glance, the five year old made a whining sound and pushed himself into a sitting position and glared at her.

When he glared like that, he reminded her so much of his father. His brown eyes would darken to a shade of black, his mouth would set into a tight line and his forehead would crinkle with the beginnings of a scowl. Despite the heart rendering memories her son’s looks gave her, Cordelia couldn’t help the huge smile that crossed her face every time Connor scowled at her.

Offhandedly, the young mother thought of how his father would react when faced with what she called a Connor-Scowl.

“You’re too heavy for little old me to carry, would you want to be the cause of your poor mother’s bad back?” Cordelia asked in mock sadness as she prodded her son’s side and watched him squirm from the tickling finger. “C’mon scrat, we gotta hurry”

“Aw alright, but can I have some hot chocolate? I’ve been real good and watched out for spiders and everything” Connor nodded fiercely, desperately showing he deserved some hot chocolate before he was put into lock-down.

His mom said that lock-down was necessary to stop the bad guys from finding out his secret identity, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew it was to keep him safe from the light that would hurt him but it made his mom feel better and so he would go along with it because he loved his mom.

“Connor sweetie, you’ve been asleep” Cordelia stated with a raised eyebrow. “A giant tarantula could have ate me and you would never have known until you woke up and I was a big mess of web”

“That’s not true mom!” Connor defended with another scowl, “I would have known when the car stopped driving silly” like he said, he wasn’t stupid.

“How do you the car can’t drive itself huh? Herbie can do that”

“Mom, I’m five. Not stupid. Herbie is a funny shaped car with 53 on it and this is a car that has no numbers”

Cordelia laughed out loud at the way his mind worked. Her hazel eyes twinkled with pride and merriment as she looked at his face peeking out from the blanket he’d tented around his head. Impulsively leaning forward, she planted a big, wet smooch on the visible skin of his pale cheeks and laughed at his disgusted expression as he wiped his cheek with the back of a gloved hand.

“That’s gross!” Connor scowled deeply, looking more like his father than ever before, “I’m too old for Mom-Kisses”

“You’ll never be too old for Mom-kisses, you’ll always be my baby. Now, get your butt outta this car buddy or you’ll have Evil-Mom-Kisses to be afraid of”

“I’m going! I’m going!” the five year old’s energy seemed suddenly revitalized as the blanket was discarded, revealing his Zorro outfit, and he bounced on his butt towards the other side of the car and got out. Brandishing the toy fencing sword off the floor of the car, Connor struck a hero-like pose and looked around for any eight-legged dangers. “Fear not mom, I shall defend thee from creepy crawlies”

With slightly saddened but proud eyes, Cordelia watched as her son ran straight towards the little house and paused at the front door so he could peek around the corner making sure the place was in total darkness before he entered, yelling the coast was clear over his cloaked shoulder.

It didn’t take the brunette long to lock up the car and soon followed the five year old into the house, prepared to make him the hot chocolate he wanted.

She spent the last five years living off a very tight budget, she spent most of her life in near total darkness and she lived in a two bed roomed house with soon-to-be bordered up windows and not forgetting her Zorro shaped five year old son. This was most definitely not the life 22 year old women should have but, for Cordelia Chase, this was as near to perfect as she had ever been.


Part 2
The last of the sun’s rays had gone at around 8 pm, leaving outside safe enough for them to go out to get some basic groceries. The milk Cordelia had bought at a service station last night had already gone off as had the bread.

With only powdered soups and canned stuff, she didn’t have much in the way of decent food. Now that they were living in a place known for it’s vampire population, she wasn’t sure how she was going to manage shopping and taking care of Connor’s outdoor needs.

Sometimes if she knew she wasn’t going to be long, Cordelia would leave her son in the car while she ran in and out in the space of a few minutes, but that couldn’t be done in Sunnydale. Not with the heightened threat of vampires attacking Connor without her to protect him.

Making sure he was covered by a thick, dark heavy cape with ‘Batman’ written on the back, she stared into his deep brown and twinkling gaze. It seemed so strange that a five year old would think of grocery shopping as a trip out but then, he’d never experiences a real trip out with other children before.

The old phrase was true in Connor’s case, he didn’t miss what he never had so to speak and that was something she could be glad for.

Never having something was better than having it only for it to be taken from you, things like that had been known to cause people to have breakdowns and drive them to suicide. Cordelia vowed that would never happen to Connor and especially not herself, she didn’t trust anyone other than herself to give him 110% care.

There had been his old nanny, Alicia, who had babysat for her in Montreal, that girl had been nothing short of a Godsend.

Sadly, when her college workload had increased, Alicia didn’t have the time she did before. Though the 19 year old had helped out whenever she could, she hadn’t been able too give her time as freely as she had. That had been the deciding factor in the decision for to return to Sunnydale, there were people Cordelia knew here and people that could possibly help with Connor’s condition.

“Mom, can I get some sweets please?”

The little magic word brought another proud smile to Cordelia’s face as she swiped a long lock of chestnut hair out of her eyes, he was such a polite little boy, always said please, thank you and may I. Of course, he only said those words when he really wanted something.

“Only if you promise to eat all your dinner and promise not to complain when you put your special cream on” she stated in a firm, unwavering motherly tone that brooked no arguments from her son.

“But my cream is cold and it smells real bad” Connor complained before faced with putting it on, off his mother’s resolved expression he caved. “Aw alright mom, promise” he grumbled, “Does that mean you’ll get me some sweets?”

“Alright but not too many” it never ceased to amaze her how well she had taken to parenthood, maybe that was because her own parents had chosen to give her money instead of love. The money had been good for a while, allowing Cordelia the luxury of buying whatever she wanted when she wanted but when it came to things like her birthday or Christmas even, it seemed her mom and dad never had any time to spend with her.

She vowed Connor would never feel ignored or feel like she was never there for him, he was all she had and vice versa.

“YAY!” Connor punched his little fist high into the air at the news he was going to get some sweets and then decided to try and push his luck with his mother’s generous attitude. “Can I have a big cake with chocolate sauce and ice cream for later too?” he was almost hopping on the spot with anticipation of a possible yes to his question.

“No” Cordelia knew when to say no, if she didn’t then the little monster would walk all over her. She had learned that lesson the hard way when her desire to give him what he wanted had left her son in hospital after he fell and landed in a patch of sunlight when he was three.

“But…”

“Connor, I said no okay. You’ll either have a few sweets or you won’t get anything” Cordelia stopped his pleaded with a very stern warning. “Am I understood?” she raised her eyebrow elegantly and waited for his affirmation which she got in the way of a childish pout. “Now you remember what I told you?” it was important he remembered this anyway but here, in Sunnydale, your life depended on it.

Understanding the difference in her tone and posture, Connor immediately responded in the best big boy voice he could gather. “Never talk to strangers, never invite strange people into the house or into the car and always ask who it is before answering the door”

“Good boy” Cordelia threw her arms around his neck and shoulders, engulfing the small boy in a bear hug before dropping a kiss on the hood of his cloak that covered his head. “Now let’s make a run for it before those spiders see me, I’m counting on you to protect me”

Avoiding the streetlights with usual careful steps, both Connor and Cordelia gulped in a breath when they stood at the entrance to the grocery store and the artificial light that had the whole place lit up like a extravagant Christmas tree.

“Mom” he tugged on the sleeve of her shirt, “I’m scared”

The rush of heart brake caused her chest to ache deeply as she took her son’s hand in hers, “Don’t be baby” Cordelia soothed, not daring to look at him in case the tears glistening on her eyelashes fell. “Come on, it’ll be okay. I promise”

“You promise?”

God, the fear in his sweet voice was enough to make one solitary tear fall down her cheek before she angrily wiped it away. She’d checked and double checked his protecting cloak and made sure his face was hidden by the thickened mask. She wanted to demand why he didn’t trust her to keep him safe but was scared in case Connor replied he blamed her.

Instead, the brunette nodded her answer and gripped his small hand tighter in hers. “Come on, there’s nothing to be afraid of baby. I promise you”

“Okay, I trust you”

It took what willpower she had left not to pick him up and hold on to him forever, never to let the brave little boy go. Cordelia blessed every single God and Goddess listening for giving her such an amazing, wonderful child. Connor Chase was the best thing that ever happened to her and no matter how hard it maybe to care for him, she would never change him for the universe.

“Then let’s go pal, your sweets await” with renewed vigor, they slowly edged through the automatic doors and into the grocery shop, ignoring the glances people threw their way because of Connor’s clothing.

*~*~*~*

The drive home was filled with music from the car radio and sounds of sweet packets rustling as both Cordelia and Connor pigged on chips, chocolate and jelly sweets. Though she had been firm in her words of dinner before treats, their shopping trip had turned into a fun-filled outing when the five year old had began poking fun at the dried pasta.

After almost being kicked out of the store, they had promised to be good and finished getting what they needed while quietly sniggering under their breath.

“I spy” Connor began as his dark brown eyes narrowed to search for something his mom would never get. “Something beginning with…. S” she would never get that, he thought smugly. He could be so clever when he wanted to be.

“Shoe” Cordelia immediately answered after swallowing a chunk of her chocolate bar.

“Nuh-uh”

“Shopping?”

“Cold”

“Sonnor?!”

It took the little boy a second or two too catch on she had replaced the first letter of his name with an ‘S’ “Mom!”

He was so good at this game when he put his mind to it, he could see things far more clearly than she would ever be able too and she cursed his father for making her lose every single game of eye spy she’d ever had with Connor. Seriously concentrating now, Cordelia looked around the car as much as she could without taking her eyes off the road ahead. “Ah-ha! Sweets”

“Cold” Connor simply stated with a smug grin, she would never get it.

“Damn!” the brunette swore under her breath as she slowed the car down to turn onto a street, not wanting their drive to end so quickly Cordelia had decided on taking a detour so that Connor could have more time out of the house. “Singing?” she asked with a hapless smile, for the life of her she couldn’t think of what he had spied.

“You can’t see singing” the five year old took great pleasure at the increasingly frustrated scowl on his mother’s face.

“Alright!” Cordelia growled in annoyance, “I give up, what has your beady little eye spied this time?”

Connor grinned in boyish pride and childish joy as he revealed the answer “Shadows!”

“You think you’re such a wise guy, don’t you?” Cordelia asked airily as she pulled the car over to the side of the street between two streetlights and killed the engine. “Well, would such a wise guy be so… Ticklish?” she snapped off her seat belt and dove for the little boy in the passenger seat where she proceeded to make him squeal as she poked and prodded his sides.

Connor squirmed, wiggled and laughed until he was breathless and tears were falling from his eyes to wet the facial covering around his chin. After a short while of indulging in a little play time, Cordelia finally pulled away from her hiccupping son and set about returning her now bedraggled appearance to as neat and tidy as she could.

Still letting out the occasional laugh and hiccup, Connor began to take an interest in the street they were parked in and noticed a little shop with a nice, soft light glowing from the window.

The light illuminated strange things sitting on display and he leaned to the small window of the car, pressed his face to it and tried to get a closer look at the weird things. “Mom, why are there eyes in that jar in the window?”

“What?” the brunette turned to peer out of the passenger side window to where her son was looking, “Ew, that’s gross” she exclaimed in horror, “I think it’s an occult shop that sells special things witches and warlocks and wizards use in spells and potions”

Her voice dropped to an eerie whisper as she scrunched her fingers together to make claws. “They use those spells and potions to make little boys and girls all fat so they can eat them up for dinner…!”

Connor did not look in the least bit scared or impressed at his mom’s version of scary speaking, “Mom, witches and warlocks and wizards don’t exist silly. And if they did, they would eats moms, not the kids” he sounded so sure in his answer that Cordelia had to laugh.

“Why would they eat moms?”

“Because they give Evil-Mom-Kisses and make us kids go too bed when we don’t want too”

A small sign in the window had caught the young mother’s attention and her son’s reply went unheard as she looked more closely at the sign. “Help wanted, apply within” she murmured.

“Is that for a job?”

“Yes baby, put your mask back on and we’ll go inside because it looks like they’re still open”

Despite the fact he would need the special covering, Connor was happy just to be able to get out of the car to stretch his legs. He was allowed to play in the backyard in his new home late at night but only if his mom felt it was safe.

Like back in Montreal, his mom and ‘Licia had often taken him to the park at night so he could play about on the swings and slide, but he was only able to do that because the streetlights were only on the paths.

Tugging the mask completely over his face, the little boy then clicked his seat belt loose and waited for his mom to open his door. Even when he was with her she had in no uncertain terms was he allowed to get out of the car before she did.

Soon, the passenger door was opened and Connor slid off his seat, his trainers making a light sound when he connected with the concrete, “Come on, just like the grocery store baby” Cordelia assured her son evenly. “This is a little fish compared to that, right?”

“I’m not afraid anymore mom, you promised I’d be alright and I am. I trust you”

“That’s my boy, let’s go”


Part 3

Rupert Giles was busy cataloguing some new books delivered that morning when the jingle of bells declared someone had entered his business, ‘The Magic Shop.’ He loved the little shop, he had no choice but to love it.

Since he had been fired from the Watcher’s Council, he had to find a new way to make enough money for the little luxuries in life. Such as food, clothing, bills and the occasional repairs on his apartment after a demon attack.

“Another night, another customer” the Englishman sighed, his voice well-educated and cultured, leaving the cataloguing to one side for, the man exited the stock room and went to greet his customer.

The first sight he was greeted with was of a child completely covered from head-to-toe in black apart from white training shoes that were visible under the edge of the cloak. Large brown eyes peeked up at him from a black face mask while little black gloved hands moved as he crossed his arms over his chest.

Due to the amount of clothing the child was wearing, it was impossible to distinguish if it was a little boy or a little girl. Giles returned the inquisitive stare as he too crossed his arms over his chest and waited for the child to speak, even he or she could from behind that face mask.

“Oh my God, G-Giles? Is that you?”

At the sound of a surprise-filled female voice, Rupert Giles gaze went from the child in front of him to who he assumed would be his mother. A stunning, very familiar young woman with long, wavy chestnut hair gazed at him in both surprise and delight beaming from hazel orbs that caught the light in the shop.

The features of her face were defined by wispy strands of dark hair that flittered around her defiant jaw and cheeks. Hands were clasped over her mouth to stifle the shocked gasp of breath as she stared at him in turn.

The young woman was so familiar and Giles wracked his brain, trying to figure out where he knew her from…

Then recognition hit.

“C-Cordelia?” Giles gaze went wide as he looked once more at the small child still staring up at him with darkening eyes, “Cordelia Chase?”

Dressed in a simple pair of light blue denim jeans, small heeled boots and a light lilac roll neck sweater, she looked far different to how he remembered her. Even her long, chestnut hair had changed in style. It used to cascade down her back in long, luxurious waves that sparkled with a healthy glow when the tresses caught the light.

Now, it reached just below her shoulders and fell in a mass of tumbling thick curls that both softened her features and brought an air maturity about the young woman.

Cordelia swallowed and waited for the anger, judgment and accusations to fall from his mouth at her sudden disappearance from Sunnydale five years ago. “Hi Giles” she stated quietly when her hands were dropped to her sides. “It’s been a while”

Rupert Giles posture changed from surprise and shock to both annoyance and anger as he remembered all of them; Buffy, Xander, Willow, Oz and when he had returned from hell, Angel, try to find out what had happened to her. Now here she was, some five years later showing up on his doorstep looking for all the world like nothing had happened.

Raising his chin up slightly, the man pushed his glasses up higher on the bridge of his nose and regarded the brunette intently. “Where on Earth have you been?”

“Before we get into everything, can I ask a favor please? Can you turn off the lights?” Cordelia pointed to the small child now gripping her leg, “He’s photosensitive”

*~*~*~*

Placing a steaming cup of hot, delicious tea in front of Cordelia and a tall glass of Coca Cola in front of her son, Giles elegantly sat in a chair opposite her and waited to see if the young woman would give an explanation to her sudden reappearance to the Hellmouth.

“I must say” he began when it looked like she wasn’t going to start, “This has indeed come as a surprise”

“Tell me about it” Cordelia had had her fair share of surprises she thought with a wry smile directed at Connor who was, for once, sitting without his protective clothing away from the table with the candle light. He was playing with two stakes and using them as pretend drum sticks.

Nothing had been a bigger surprise than finding out she was pregnant. “Connor be careful with those baby”

Connor rolled his brown eyes in exasperation, “Mom, I’m five not some stupid kid who likes to play with bad things”

Both Cordelia and Giles raised their eyebrows as they watched him do exactly that.

“He’s allergic to most light?” the Englishman asked as he sipped his own cup of tea, delighting in the warming liquid as it coated his throat from the inside.

“I am” Connor spoke up smugly, if the nice man had questions then he should be asking him and not bothering his mom.

“Mind your manners, scrat” Cordelia warned, “Giles was nice enough to get you some soda and turn off the lights so you could take your cloak off. Be nice”

Mother and son exchanged a silent battle of wills under the stunned gaze of the ex-watcher. Cordelia’s face seemed to be set in stone as she silently berated her child for using such an abrupt tone with the man who had given him a soda. Connor, on the other hand, had only heard someone talking about him and not to him.

Most people were like that when they found out about his condition. It was like his allergy to light also affected his ability to answer questions for himself.

“Aw mom, alright” the five year old held up his hands in submission, when he saw his mother’s eyes narrow dangerously he knew he was walking on thin ice and so made the decision to get back in her good books.

Turning the most sincere expression he could to the man with the funny accent, Connor apologized. “Sorry sir, I didn’t mean to be rude. Honest”

“Very well, young man” Giles graciously accepted the apology while he bit his cheek, it seemed Cordelia firmly had a tight hold on the boy. “I shall ask you if you prefer, after all you seem big enough to answer for yourself” his theory was confirmed when the dark haired boy shot a giant grin towards the exasperated brunette.

He maybe only five years old but it seemed that the young boy had a mind and will of his own. Much like his mother Giles noted with a wry smile.

“I’m five sir, six in June” Connor supplied as he jumped down off his chair and scuttled closer to his mom and the man while staying safely out of the direct flow of the candle Giles had lit. “My name is Connor Chase, but you can call me Connor”

“Very nice to meet you Connor” Giles replied with a warm smile at the show of his sudden polite manners, “My name is Rupert Giles, you may call me Giles if you like”

“Giles” Connor tested the name out, “That’s a cool name sir, I mean Giles. Thanks for the soda, my mom only gives me soda and sweets if I’ve been brave or real good like tonight”

“Oh, would you like to tell me why you had to be brave?” the Englishman watched the expressions flow over the young boy’s devilish features avidly, there was something familiar about Connor but he just put it down to who his mother was.

There was so much of Cordelia in the five year old, his big smile and the expressiveness of his face as he spoke candidly about his bravery and reward. Not only was there character traits belonging his mother in him, but there something about the little boy that seemed more familiar than his old charge.

“Then we got to the grocery store and was lit up real good and everything” Connor spoke dramatically, making it sound so very exciting and thrilling. “Then my mom got scared” so he had gotten scared first, mister Giles didn’t need to know that right? “And I had to promise that I would take real good care of her in the store. Um-hmm” he nodded fiercely.

Cordelia couldn’t believe her little monster, she wasn’t the one who’d gotten scared first and she was the one who had promised to make sure he was alright. Shaking her head a little, the brunette watched as understanding closely followed by deeply felt compassion soon flickered over the handsome face of the ex librarian.

“That was very brave indeed, young Connor” Giles commended with an impressed expression that hid the myriad of emotions he was feeling at what the both of them must go through day-to-day. He was beginning to understand why she had ran away from Sunnydale at just seventeen years of age, he may understand but he didn’t agree with it.

Cordelia could have had more help if she had stayed here with people who cared for her. However, remembering the personality of the young woman during high school, it bore no surprise that she hadn’t wanted to stay on the where people would have only helped her out of pity.

Not just that, Giles thought with stark realization, the only real friends she would have been able to count on were a witch, a slayer and her watcher and a young man with a heart of gold. Being on a Hellmouth and in the company of a slayer wouldn’t have done much good for Cordelia and Connor.

In hindsight the man could say she had made the right choice in leaving but she could of at least let them know. That was what made him angry, the never knowing if she was alive or dead or worse, turned into something they would have had to kill.

“I know!” Connor bragged with more fierce nodding, “My mom said so and she said that if I promised to eat all my dinner then I could get a giant cake with sauce and cream tomorrow…” he glanced slyly at his mom, hoping she would go along with his words.

“Connor Chase I did not” Cordelia stuck by her guns, cake was only allowed on special occasions like his birthday, Christmas, Easter or as a bribe if he needed to go too the hospital. She had learned that using treats such as cake, the promise of going to a park or having party-like food was a great way to make her son happy if he needed treatment.

If those treats were used too often, then they would be useless when they were really needed. “You know that I said no to the cake, you got sweets because you were brave and I promised, but I said no cake”

Giles wondered if cake was in someway also harmful to the small boy and another wave of compassionate feeling spread from his chest. He admired the way the young mother seemed to be coping but then again, she had no choice in the matter other to cope.

The man decided there and then that he would offer any assistance to her that he could. “If you don’t mind my asking Cordelia” Giles began and interrupted the brewing trouble Connor was about to be in. “I am in need of some assistance in my little endeavor here. As you already know the main nature of the shop, you would certainly be a good if not the perfect person for the job”

“Would that mean I could come in with my mom and play with these some more?” Connor pointed to the two stakes he’d been having fun with before, they made great drumsticks and he could pretend he was rich and famous with a big set of drums.

“You may” Giles directed in amusement at the small boy who seemed quite content to find banging the air greatly exciting. He wondered how and if he had ever played with other children or if his condition prevented such activities.

“Alright! Can I take some home with me please mister Giles?”

“Of course, young Connor”

“Alright!”

Looking across the table at the young mother who was sat watching her son with a saddened expression that told why the five year old found playing with stakes and going to the grocery store as exciting as he did.

Hazel eyes sparkled brightly under the flickering flame of the candle that sat in the middle of the round table. The red-orange glow made with the unshed tears gleam with a fiery glow and accentuated the sadness in her expression. Giles watched as Cordelia became aware of his intense study of her and blinked away the tears that would do nothing to change her son’s life.

“I can’t do that Giles, I won’t be a pity case for you” she stated adamantly with a move of her hand that halted his denials before they begun. “I didn’t come back to Sunnydale for help in looking after Connor, I didn’t come back for pity and sympathy from you”

“Why did you come back, Cordelia?”

“I-I came back because I needed to see if there was anything mystical that could help my son have a better life” and to see if his father was still alive and in town she added silently. “But not for pity and sympathy”

Swallowing the last drink of now cool tea, the ex librarian once again studied the brunette sitting opposite him with a determined look on her face that replaced the sadness of before.

Maybe there was something mystical that could help young Connor’s condition a little. Giles would make it a priority of his to aid in the researching of the condition.

“Cordelia, I am not in the habit of granting pity and sympathy to those who don’t wish for or need it. I am very much in admiration of the strength possessed by your son and yourself. I should imagine it is highly difficult in coping with the intense care he must need on a daily basis and for the sake indulging an old friend, please allow me to help you in anyway I am able to”

Connor instantly liked mister Giles, he had basically told his mom to take help. He wasn’t stupid, he knew it was hard on her. He could hear her crying at night sometimes and sometimes he would go and give his mom a great big cuddle, like she did with him when he cried.

Blinking hard to keep the tears from falling, Cordelia fanned her face in an effort to get control before she embarrassed herself. “Thanks Giles, I swear I won’t let you down… But, you need to understand about Connor’s…”

“No need, seriously Cordelia” Giles waved away her unnecessary explaining. “You may work late afternoons and nights, and I shall set about making it dark so young Connor may accompany you”

“Alright!” Connor yelled happily, he could play with those pointed sticks and pretend he was super cool drummer for a rock band.

“Thank you, Giles. Sincerely” the young mom stated so quietly the Englishman wasn’t entirely sure she’d voiced her gratitude. Cordelia glanced around at the books placed neatly to one side on another table and wondered if the kind man had been very busy before she’d disrupted his life. “Do you need help now or should I…?”

“No doubt you have not been back for very long” Giles stated surely, Buffy or one of the others would have either spotted or heard about the brunette’s return before now. Off the young woman’s expression, he nodded pleasantly “In that case, you are more than welcome to begin work on Monday afternoon if that ties in with your schedule, I shall make arrangements for your son’s needs”

“Thank you again, Giles. I won’t let you down, I promise” checking her watch, she saw it was almost midnight and therefore she had to get home to allow Connor some playtime in the backyard before he went to bed. Not that he would be able to sleep tonight of course, having slept in the car for the majority of their journey the five year old had gotten into a routine of sleeping during the day and being awake at night.

“Well buddy, time to wrap up so we can get you home”

“Do I have too?”

“You do if you want to play in the garden at home before bedtime”

“Aw alright” Connor huffed and his forehead furrowed just slightly, reminding Giles of someone other than Cordelia but he just couldn’t think who. The little boy looked at his mother’s friend and graced him with a big smile, the petulant pout instantly wearing off “Thank you for the soda and for those mister Giles”

“You are very welcome young man” the Englishman graciously responded as he continued to think who the father of Cordelia’s son could be. If she had left Sunnydale because of Connor, then that meant the father was from Sunnydale and most probably didn’t know about his existence.

As if to read the ex-watcher’s mind, the brunette cleared her throat and squared her shoulders in preparation for the questions she knew would have to be answered sooner rather than later. “Not yet Giles” Cordelia told him firmly, “I’m not ready to answer that yet, if ever”

“You know where to find me if you ever need to talk Cordelia” Giles stood and went to fetch some paper she could jot down her address on. “Would you like to give me your address and a contact number?”

“Sure, Connor get your things and get ready baby”

*~*~*~*

After seeing Cordelia and her son safely to her car, Giles stood in the street for a long few moments and mused over the last hour or so, wondering if that had really happened. The girl they had expected to be dead somewhere had turned up perfectly healthy on the Magic Shop doorstep with a child who’s condition was very serious.

Though he had now spent many years on the Hellmouth, none of his experiences had prepared him for a shock of this caliber.

Going back inside, the man removed his glasses and sat down in the chair previously occupied by Cordelia Chase. There were so many questions that needed to be answered like where had she been for the last five years. What had she been doing, who was the father of Connor and, most importantly, the exact reason why she run away from everything she’d ever known.

He wondered whether or not he should alert Buffy and the others to her return or if he should let her do it in her own time. Perhaps the interrogation from Buffy, Willow and Xander would be too much for the young mother to handle right now, what with having to cope with her son. On the other hand, could he keep her reappearance a secret and let them go on thinking she was still missing and possibly dead?

It was too late at night to deal with the matter, Giles decided, he would sleep on the decision before making any moves at all. Maybe tomorrow he wouldn’t be the one to break the news to the others, maybe Cordelia would pay them a visit.

Even as the thought entered his mind, he knew the proud brunette wouldn’t because she would expect to receive the third degree and possibly be condemned for leaving without so much as a simple goodbye.

The jingling bell above the shop door sounded and once again announced an arrival into the shop. The bell was quickly followed by a definitely familiar voice he knew instantly as Buffy Summers, his slayer.

“Giles, you still here?” he heard her call out.

“Yes” he responded somewhat tiredly, “Yes, I am in the back room Buffy”

The unusually energetic slayer jogged into the back room, looking for her watcher to tell him how many vampires she’d taken down that night. “Hey” Buffy greeted warmly, “Finished patrol” it was habit that she reported in after each patrol executed.

“The Hellmouth seems quiet for a change, no demonic uprisings or any apocalypse going on somewhere. If I didn’t know any better I’d say the evil of the world is on vacation”

“I’m sure you’re unhappy about that” Giles commented dryly, deciding it would be best to keep Cordelia’s presence a secret for now. “Have you noticed any improvement in your fighting or any changes?”

Buffy shrugged, that was something she didn’t really pay much attention to these days. She had the whole slayer thing worked out now and there wasn’t much point in keeping track of how good or bad her fighting performance was.

“Just the same, though my precision with my kicks are better” she added when she remembered getting a perfect shot at a vampire’s head. “So yeah, there’s improvement”

“Very good, though you still need to practice Buffy. You may have added benefits but those benefits do not make you invincible, you need to be able too defend…”

“As well as I attack” the blonde finished his sentence for him with a smug smirk. “I know Giles, but with everything so quiet these days I think now would be a good time for me to take a little R&R”

“A quiet Hellmouth does not give you grounds to lower your guard,” Giles reprimanded with a stern glance at the slayer in front of him. “However, maybe instead of Faith doing patrol when she feels like it, how about the two of you come to some arrangement? You patrol one night and she the next?”

It would have been a good question if he didn’t know the real reason why she never acquiesced duties to Faith all that much. It seemed Buffy thought Faith couldn’t do as good a job as her.

“Giles, you know as well as I do that Faith is irresponsible and reckless. If defending the mouth of hell was left to her, we would be dining with Satan as we speak.” It was a bit of an exaggeration of course, but the two slayers never really got on with each other despite having a kinship in their calling.

“Besides” Buffy pursed her lips as she prepared to tell her watcher why she didn’t want to give up patrol. “Angel comes with me and it’s the only time we spend together now. I have to take what I can until we get back together”

And so the real reason was revealed to Giles who pretended not to hear it. Instead the Englishman just resigned himself to merely shaking his head and offering the young woman a cup of tea.

God knows he needed one after Cordelia’s unprecedented return from who knows where. The more he thought about it the more dread began to churn in his stomach, he knew what the outcome the news would bring and he knew it wouldn’t be good.

“Giles, you okay?” Buffy broke through her watcher’s deep thoughts.

“Oh uh, yes Buffy. I’m fine, thank you for your concern” he cursed himself for sounding like a programmed robot. “One of those nights I’m afraid” and afraid was definitely how he could describe his feelings.

He was afraid for Cordelia, afraid for Connor and afraid for the reactions they would receive from the young woman in front of him and her friends.

With any luck, Cordelia Chase would give him enough time to brake the news to them gently so as not to cause any unnecessary upset or arguments that none of them needed. A final deep sigh concluded his thoughts about the brunette and her son.

All thoughts except for those centering around who on Earth the father of Connor Chase could be. To Giles, the most obvious choice was Xander Harris as he had been the young mother’s boyfriend before she had ran away.

Who else could it be? The only boys he knew of that Cordelia had deeply associated back then were Daniel Osborne, Xander Harris and the boy that had been brought back to life by his brother, Darryl Epps. Daniel Osborne couldn’t be the father as he had been deeply involved with Willow and he highly doubted Darryl had been close enough to the cheerleader before he had died.

However, the physical similarities between Connor and Xander ended at the floppy mass of black hair that dropped down over the little boy’s forehead and eyes. There were no personality traits of the young man and the five year old at all but that could be because Xander hadn’t been a part of his life.

It wasn’t just the lack of traits and appearance similarities, Giles had a feeling telling him that wasn’t right and he’d learned long ago to trust his instincts.

So the question of Connor’s paternal heritage was still very much at question.


Part 4
All the way home, Connor had chatted happily about his little adventure in the grocery store and in the Magic Shop. Boasting about his bravery and how mister Giles said he would make it so he could take off his cloak.

His dark brown eyes shone like polished oak as he continued to play with the two stakes he’d been given, drumming them off the dashboard until Cordelia had snapped and taken them off of him.

His legs hung off the edge of the passenger seat, he was bouncing up and down while regaling his mother with excited and exaggerated tales of their night out. The five year old made it all sound so unbelievably thrilling, talking in a dramatic voice and making grand gestures with his gloved hands that made Cordelia smile and laugh.

“Can you tell me some stories, mom? One of those real cool ones with the monsters and the vampires?” Connor begged as he tugged on the sleeve of her shirt.

A wistful sigh fell from the ex-cheerleader’s lips as she glanced at the small boy openly pleading with her for a story. “Okay” she began with a firm voice and a fierce nod of her head, “Did I ever tell you the story of the evil cheerleader who could swap bodies?”

He went wide-eyed as his childish imagination ran wild, shaking his head Connor kept the eager gaze on his mom’s face and prepared to hang onto her every word. “It all began years and years ago. A super cheerleader called… Wicked Madison” she couldn’t remember the name of Amy’s mother so the first name sprung to mind. “She was the greatest cheerleader in alllll the world, she won every trophy, every competition and the heart of every football player”

“It isn’t a gooey love story is it?” Connor asked, disgust evidently clear in his voice and expression.

“Listen!” Cordelia stated in a ‘trust me’ tone that made him nod. “When she got too old to cheerlead, she got angry and bitter and became very, very evil. She turned into a wicked witch and swapped bodies with her daughter, Amy, just so she could cheerlead again”

“Uh-huh?”

Casting a sneaky sly glance at the five year old who loved the tails of her high school days, Cordelia had to bite back a grin when her pause for dramatic effect had Connor scowling at the interruption. “But” the brunette finally got to the point, “Amy couldn’t cheerlead to save her life and so Wicked Madison was trapped inside her daughter’s body unable to do anything but pretty much look stupid”

“One by one, all the other cheerleaders became mysteriously ill. One girl, Amber, was suddenly set on fire, another girl was suddenly fatally ill and I became blind”

“Wicked Madison made you blind?”

“Um-hmm”

“Mom, are you telling porkies?”

“No, this really happened” Cordelia vowed seriously, “I swear. She made it so I went blind when I was taking drivers’ education. I was able to stop the car, get out to call for help but I was blind and never saw the other car coming…” she trailed off purposely.

Connor could see it all in his head like he had been there, he waited impatiently for his mother to continue. When it seemed like she wouldn’t, he urged her to finish the story. “Mom!” he whined and gave a tantrum-like shake of his body.

“So there I was, in the middle of the road unable to see the car speeding towards me until I was saved by a girl who thought nothing of her own safety and jumped right out in front of car” it was anticlimatic for the five year old who glared at Cordelia in disbelief.

That bit didn’t sound right to him at all, girls weren’t brave and they were too scared to save people. “I don’t believe you, girls can’t save people mom, unless it’s you. You saved that kid from falling off the big slide remember?” as far as he was concerned, his mom was the only girl hero in the world.

Raising an eyebrow at her son, the brunette tilted her head to one side “Just who exactly put that chauvinistic idea into your head, scrat?” as much as she had never liked the blonde slayer, she had saved her life on more than one occasion. And Cordelia would dearly love to see the expression on her son’s face if, no when, they met. She had no doubt Connor would be fascinated by the blonde’s strength and her collection of all things sharp and pointed.

“What’s chowinistic mean?”

“It means believing that boys are better than girls”

“Oh… But ‘Licia’s little sister told me that girls had to be saved by princes, was she chowinistic?”

“Show-vin-is-tic” Cordelia pronounced in a way he could follow. “And no, that word only describes boys. Kelly only believed princes should save girls because she wanted to have a prince of her own”

“Yuck! Girls are awful” Connor pulled a face as he finally sat still in his seat.

She passed another sneaky glance at the five year old with a grossed out scowl scrunching his features up, “I seem to remember you saying you wanted to be Kelly’s prince, Connor” a sly grin spread across the brunette’s mouth when her son directed his disgusted expression in her direction. “Didn’t you tell Kelly she was real pretty when you went to her Halloween party last year?”

“No”

Cordelia was too lost in poking fun at her son’s childish crush on their old next door neighbour to realize a man in a leather jacket had walked out into the road. Hazel eyes went black as her pupils dilated when she felt the car hit the man and watched him roll a few feet away.

“Stay here, lock the doors and windows” she snapped to her son as she hurtled out of the drivers’ side, cursing herself for the lack of concentration.

“Oh shit! Please be okay and please don’t sue me, it was an accident” she panicked as she raced headlong towards the still man in the middle of the road. Kneeling down at the man’s side, Cordelia was more than relieved to hear him grumbling and moving slowly onto his side to relieve the pressure of his undoubtedly sore back.

“Oh my God, mister are you okay?” the brunette began to pat his body, checking for places he might be injured.

“Anybody catch the bloody truck?” he had a deep voice with a strong, broad British accent, he looked familiar but she couldn’t place him as she only had near-by street lamps to light the scene. “Bleeding hell you stupid bint, next time watch where you driving. Could cause a fellow some serious damage”

A head of shockingly bleached blonde hair, exquisite features curled up in a pained frown and a leather jacket draped over his fallen body. There was something so very, very familiar about this man but she couldn’t…

“SPIKE!” Cordelia snatched her tending hands away like they’d been burned. She’d just knocked William the Bloody over and was now making sure he was still alive.

Before the vampire laying on the road could fully realize who had knocked him over, the ex-cheerleader ran back to her car and dove inside. With a highly serious expression at Connor who was watching everything with huge eyes. “Cover your eyes baby… In fact, unbuckle your belt and get in the back seat, lay down and stay there until I tell you it’s okay. Do it now!”

Connor nodded, not having a clue what was going or why his mom wasn’t helping that man in the middle of the road.

She waited until the little boy had done what he was told before flooring it, heading directly for the blonde haired vampire now struggling to stay standing up. “Alright you son of a bitch, this is for the time when I was locked in a closet with Willow scared out of my mind” the car sped up a little more as she aimed the front end straight at him.

Hearing the engine, Spike turned his drunken sorry gaze behind him and found himself pinned into place by bright headlights that were getting increasingly closer. Too stunned to react, he was knocked through the air by the car-shaped blue blur. Landing directly on his already injured back with a heavy thud, he felt his head bounce off the tarmac road and no doubt split wide open.

The scent of his own blood confirmed his suspicions of a split head, the headache from this was going to be a bloody bugger to get rid of, even with the added benefits of being a vampire. A squeal of tires alerted Spike to the car turning round and the bright headlights that shone on him was warning enough for him to roll his hurt body out of the way of the oncoming homicidal maniac.

The move stung like a bitch but it was necessary to prevent his head being squashed like a melon under the tires as the car once again roared towards him. Where the bloody hell was his woman when he needed her?

They say that if you speak of the devil, they turn up.

Faith had just exited the mini shop with some candy bars when she saw Spike laying in the middle of the road with a car turning round and aiming for him.

“Fuck!” the brunette slayer swore deeply as the all but forgotten about candy bars fell to the ground next to her booted feet. With a swift shake of her head, she took off with every intent to get the vampire out of the way of the car that was raring to once again drive over him.

She used every bit of speed and strength at her disposal to dive in front of the car, scoop Spike up and haul him to the safety of the road side. Furious brown eyes watched heatedly as the blue car turned to face forwards but never moved for a few seconds before speeding away.

The blonde vampire glared at the back of the car, memorizing the number plate, vowed he’d find the damn driver and get some rightful revenge on the maniac.

“Hey Billy Boy” Faith shot one last glance at the parting vehicle and returned to the task of making sure the vampire struggling to sit up was okay. “You okay?”

Shaking off the daze caused by both hits, Spike rubbed the back of his hand over his eyes and shook his head repeatedly. “Bloody hell” he cursed harshly as he searched his jacket for cigarettes. “Gonna have one hell of headache” already, the ache in his body was receding to bearable levels enabling him to sit up without the help of the brunette slayer.

“Cheers love, good to know not everyone’s a maniac who throws themselves in front of cars”

“Sure you okay?” she asked with a concerned but amused eyebrow, it didn’t take a genius to figure out the driver of that car held a grudge against him. They wouldn’t have aimed directly for him twice if they didn’t. “Wonder who it was”

“Got the license plate number, gonna find the git and bloody kill him” Spike vocalized his vow with a serious sounding death threat, “Bloody knew who I was didn’t they?” through the hazy fog of near unconsciousness, he vaguely recalled his name being screeched in a loud, shrill and horrified voice.

The driver was about to help him until they’d realized who he was. As the shrill voice got louder in his head, Spike caught onto the fact that he’d been hit by a female who was obviously in the know about him and wondered if he’d had a past confrontation with her at some point. “Make that he a she, pet”

“A girl?” Faith mused thoughtfully, wondering if it could possibly an ex-girlfriend with a grudge and payback on her mind for all the wrong doings he’d done to her. “Cool” she could live that “Let’s get you back to your crypt Billy Boy, you need help walking?”

“If you’re offering” Spike waited until the slayer was standing before allowing her to pull him up off the concrete ground. Once balanced on his slightly shaking feet, the blonde vampire peered up and down the street, checking for other cars with maniac drivers controlling them.

In the air, there was a scent that he found a little familiar. He had a hunch he should know who the softly spicy scent belonged too but just couldn’t place it.

When you’d lived as long as he had, placing scents to the owners was a complicated task. There was a lot of faces to name and a lot of smells to place, he couldn’t remember every person he’d ever came across in his long life. That was impossible, he’d slaughtered far too many for him to be able to do a task like that.

But this scent stirred a memory Spike couldn’t quite remember. The name of whom it belonged too was on the tip of his tongue but it just wasn’t clear enough.

“Let’s away love, I want some food”

“For a skinny guy, you sure do eat a lot” Faith commented as they began the slow walk back to where they spent most of their time. Spike had a large crypt that he called his home in the middle of Restfield cemetery; the whole thing about it amused the slayer endlessly.

It had a small set of stairs that led down to a dungeon style cave that included a double bed, sofa, chairs and drawers. The whole upstairs-downstairs thing was a constant source of joke telling amongst them all. She’d often told Spike to get Xander to build him a white picket fence to add too the homely vibe.

“I have a voracious appetite pet, you should know that” the blonde commented with a suggestive leer at his currant love interest. The low-cut, thin strapped top skimmed her powerful upper body, giving Spike a delicious glimpse of her cleavage while the hem gave a small flash of her flat, toned abdomen.

Dark red in colour, the top went perfectly with the leather pants secured by a black belt and an engraved silver buckle. Her outfit was completed by the thick heeled combat boots that peeked out from the leg cuffs.

Faith had to be the only slayer and human he could pretty much stand to be around, she was always up for a laugh, a good argument or a bit of friendly sparring. She had relaxed a lot since she’d gotten out of jail last year and, after some hefty browbeating by the other slayer, she’d begun to make amends for the murder she’d committed.

She had an amazing passion for a lot of things and that was why he liked to be around her. She understood him and she understood about his need for violence.

Buffy on the other hand, preached about nothing but the righteousness of her duties as the slayer, not a slayer. In her world, she was the only chosen one and hated sharing the specialty of that title with another. Spike had always been known for his perceptiveness and he knew for a fact that it hurt Faith every time Buffy’s band of followers overlooked her capabilities as a slayer in favour of appeasing the blonde’s need to be ‘The one girl in all the world.’

Though Spike himself was constantly on the receiving end of the jokes and death threats from the blonde slayer and her pals, he never paid attention to them at all. He had his own place to stay, a knock-out of a girl and half a pack of cigarettes in his pocket.

Not much compared to most, Spike thought, but what he had was his and that was something he was content to live with.

*~*~*~*

Connor hadn’t long been sent to bed for the night and Cordelia found herself alone in the sparsely furnished living room, pacing and chewing her thumb nail nervously. Of all the vampires to run into, and she meant that literally, was one William the Bloody. The brunette hadn’t dared get out of the car to help the girl who’d dragged Spike to safety though she was berating herself for the cowardice shown.

The young mom gripped both sides of her head and emitted a silent highly frustrated scream; Spike would have probably eaten that girl to help his healing. She’d just killed someone, indirectly of course, but she’d still killed someone by leaving them to deal with an injured vampire.

Getting grip on her fears, Cordelia took some deep but none-calming breaths as she continued to pace back and forth on the carpet. Maybe Spike had been too injured to feed and kill that girl, with any hope that was what happened. Maybe that girl had won him over with her show of heroism and tender loving care. Or maybe, just maybe, that girl took self defence classes and had been able to escape the jaws of death.

Anything was possible on the Hellmouth, it was that reason alone that made it both a scary and magical place to be. There was whole other world in Sunnydale besides the killing and destruction of humans by demons, there were people that saved others and did what they could to make not only the town but the world a safer place to live in.

Roaming the streets at night were creatures once thought to exist only in mythological fables and fairy stories. Creatures like vampires, demons and, if she remembered correctly, possessing Halloween costumes, could often be seen hanging around. Vampires seemed to be the most common species of demon, a mixture between a soulless human and demon, the concoction of that was nothing short of lethal.

Discounting the fact Connor’s father was also a vampire who was exceptionally acquainted with Spike, he’d more or less kept the blonde away from her and vice versa. While the younger vampire and his playmate, Drusilla, were doing God knows what in their part of the mansion, she’d all but been locked away in his rooms for ‘safe keeping’ as he’d stated to her once or twice.

The thought of what happened in those rooms brought the memory of the night her son had been conceived. Images came thick and fast, almost causing Cordelia to sink to her knees with the haunting rush of heady pleasure he’d given…

Her hot, pink tongue darted out past dry lips to taste the harder lines of his delicious mouth as he teased her lips with his. The scent of male sweat and sex strongly permeated the thickening air as the unreleased tension between cheerleader and vampire began to boil. His hands slid roughly from the feminine thigh muscles to graze her abdomen before cupping both full, pert breasts in a firm hold.

Cordelia arched her back, trying to increase the pressure on her aching chest while a whispered female moan echoed off the walls. Fingertips stimulated the dusky pink pebbled nipples with tugs and slow, taunting circles that brought a rosy red hue to the hardened peaks. Hot throbs of pleasure had shot from her breasts directly to her womb, causing a flush of hot liquid to pool between her tanned thighs.

The scent of female heat clouded the vampire’s senses, making him give into the urge to crush his hard shaft into the overheated cradle of her parted legs. Her nails scored the flesh on his solid back, making light red welts that contrasted greatly with the unnatural pallor of his complexion. He was hard and heavy as he ground his erection against the heart of the brunette’s tight body, the naked feel of her labia stimulating the tip of his cock was enough to make him groan loudly.

The feel of his lips were amazing as he wrapped them around one, perky bud and sucked roughly, using the tip of his tongue to trace the responsive skin around the areolas. Blunt teeth bit her, making her hips slam into his with the sudden rush of carnal pleasure from the slight pain. On his back, Cordelia traced the rock-like contours of the muscles, feeling them ripple under the hot, timid caress bestowed on him.

His hand curled around her other breast, kneading with firm strokes that replaced the ache with a deeply embedded need for him to touch her more. A little scream of pleasured pain escaped the back of her throat as the vampire twirled and soothed small bites on the reddened bud. She felt icy hot fingers trail a line down the centre of her torso, only stopping when his touch felt the start of her mound.

The vampire smirked down at the brunette caged by his heavier body, he knew just by watching the expressions of arousal cross her heart-shaped face. Within the fiery hazel orbs, gold flecks melted with the heat of her human body and turned the shade to a rich toffee color that flickered and flashed with intensity.

Hypnotic orbs sparkled in the dim light like black diamonds, sinful promises shone from the depths of his wicked gaze. His mouth was set in a firm, tight line as he wove strong, thick fingers through the soft, neatly trimmed curls that hid her secrets. Cordelia’s breath lodged in her throat when his hand slipped down her cleft, separating the petal-like folds to reveal the protected, pearl hard bud of her clitoris.

His fingertip drew lazy circles around the tiny jewel, creating sensations that made her body sing and react in the most natural way possible. Opening her thighs wider, the brunette moaned long and hard when he replaced his finger with his erection. The vampire hissed when the heat of her sex connected with the most sensitive part of his body, making him want to cut this little foreplay short and go for what he wanted.

That wasn’t going to happen, he wanted this to last a long, long time. He wanted to cause her to feel exactly what an orgasm should feel like and he wanted to be the cause of that orgasm.

Cordelia clenched her thighs right round his waist, bringing her ankles up to lock securely around his lower back. Using her leg muscles, she pulled him completely down on top of her, crushing both his hand and cock against her sex. “Angelus!” came the pleasured cry of his name that fell from parched, kiss-swollen lips.

Angelus rubbed his fingers over her clit, stimulating the tiny bud until it was completely solid to touch. His shaft moved smoothly up and down her labia, enjoying the hot liquid that covered his cool flesh and made her delectably wet with readiness. She bucked up high, trying to urge him for more while her quiet moans turned into louder pleas.

The tip of his finger found the entrance to the alcove of the hot, lithe body writhing under him, with a slow and controlled pace, Angelus penetrated her. Cordelia’s hazel orbs were soon swallowed by large, black pupils that had a beaming corona of colour around the rims, her hands clamped down on the broad shoulders while her nails left half-moon shapes in his flesh.

Pushing into her knuckle deep, the vampire flicked his thumb over the aroused clit and growled lowly when more hot liquid rained down on his hand. Pulling back from the naked girl on his bed, he locked his black gaze onto his hand and watched in fascination as he moved in and out of her body. Inside, she was like hot velvet silk, setting his penetrating touch blazing with a delicious burn.

Her feminine muscles contracted viciously around his fingers as he slowly added a second digit, pushing in a way that allowed him to experience every inch of the private alcove. With a heavy-lidded gaze, Angelus watched as his fingers and hand began to glisten as liquid sex spilled from her body onto his hand.

Cordelia looked delicious; arousal and perspiration made the dark curls on her sex gleam under the dim light pouring in from the moon. Her femininity held a pale red blush as his fingers slid in and out smoothly. Ignoring the soft argumentative moan, the vampire eased a third, thick finger while he watched the pretty, sweetly scented sex wrap all around his touch.

“Want more, baby?” Angelus purred, withdrawing from her only to penetrate higher and harder with faster licks of his thumb which made the pearl bud throb with stimulation…

When Cordelia emerged from her most indulging memory, she felt her heart slamming in her chest and undoubtedly bruising her ribcage, her legs were shaky and breathing was heavy. That night, the vampire had taken her in some sensational ways, showing her how much orgasmic pleasure a little pain could bring.

Squeezing her eyes tight shut, the young mother covered her face with her trembling hands as she desperately willed the images of that night away. It was torture to think of him and what little time they’d been together. A month, one short and uncomplicated month. That was all it took for her to fall so far in love with him she couldn’t see the cliff she fell from.

For a supposedly unfeeling vampire, Angelus was the most expressive man she’d ever had the pleasure of meeting. If he’d been in a fight, he would be riled up, full of energy and testosterone which he would take out on her body by throwing her down onto his bed and not stopping until he was done. Lovemaking would be wild, hard, rough and passionate as he openly expressed animalistic dominance over her.

A physical declaration of just who Cordelia Chase belonged too.

After feeding he would get romantic, bringing flowers freshly picked from gardens and jewellery he had bought, even going so far as too show her the receipt after she had accused him of pilfering it off his victims. When he got like that, Angelus would sensually explore and taste every single inch of the willing female body that screamed for his touch.

An exquisite way of saying words he couldn’t say.

Then something changed between, something that shattered the denial Cordelia had been living in about just who he was. That something had been unforgivable in her eyes and the bubble surrounding their world had been popped allowing cold, harsh reality to crash down like a lead wave of destruction.

Gone was the open, blind trust she’d had in Angelus and gone was the fantasy he hadn’t stopped her from building. In place of sheer adoration lay only a numbing ache that constricted tightly around her heart, almost shutting out the capability to function.

That something had been the murder of Jenny Calendar, her friend and favorite teacher at school.

At the funeral, Cordelia had had to watch Rupert Giles suffer with the heart brake of losing the woman he loved, she’d had to watch Buffy Summers blame herself for the death because Angel had been her ex-boyfriend. Worst of all, Cordelia had to sit there, listen to the words said amongst the group as they plotted to kill the vampire while she bore his claiming bite mark on her breast and throat.

A few weeks after that had happened, Cordelia had discovered the shocking news of her pregnancy and the paternal side of her baby had caused a near-mental brake down. It wasn’t possible she’d told herself over and over again, vampires didn’t reproduce, they only sired.

So, instead of lying about the paternal heritage of Connor and making herself look like someone who slept around, the brunette had taken what she could and fled.

Now, she back and looking for something and someone she wasn’t sure existed anymore because he was her only hope.


Part 5
Stretching her arms wide as she yawned, Willow sank back in the chair she currently occupied at the Magic Shop and waited patiently for Giles’ new employee to arrive. The Englishman had needed to run an errand and he’d asked if she could mind the shop until the new girl arrived. The red head frowned in curious concern as she recalled the ex-watcher telling her no to be alarmed or raise the alarm when she saw who the new girl was.

There were some instructions that couldn’t be ignored to follow before the girl arrived as apparently her son was photosensitive and could in no way be in direct light, not even candle light. So here she was, sitting on her own waiting for the new employee and trying to focus on her college work which seemed to be a no-go for her right now.

Normally, math wasn’t a problem for her but lately nothing about the subject made sense and she was slowly getting annoyed. Willow had put it down to worrying too much about the unusual quiet activity in Sunnydale over the last few weeks.

Spending so much time studying and reading up on unnatural beings and activities, she soon learned that a quiet Hellmouth was not a good Hellmouth.

Her thoughts of unnatural beings brought her to her recent ex, Daniel Osborne, a werewolf who had been her first love since junior high school. She still missed him a lot but she understood the reason why he had to go, well half the reason anyway and she refused to believe it was for her own good. Willow knew Oz too well to believe that he only had her in mind when he left; he had also been worried about himself and the others too.

He hadn’t wanted to do anything that would require Buffy having to kill him and subsequently living with his death on her conscious for the rest of however long she might live. That was one of the many reasons Willow would forever hold Daniel Osborne in her heart.

So selfless and kind, he’d never made her feel inadequate or ugly or anything like that. He’d always made her feel special and beautiful, for that she would be eternally grateful for the confidence Ox had instilled in her.

The sudden jingling of the chimes above the shop door announced the arrival of the new employee and Willow tiredly pushed herself up off the chair and turned off all the lights, plunging the place into total darkness. Glancing around the now dark shop, the red head saw the moving shadows of the figure of an adult accompanied by who she assumed was her young son.

A small stream of light flashed along the ground from a torch held in the little boy’s gloved hands as he led the way to the back of the store, his mom trailing protectively and warily behind him. “Be careful with that baby, I don’t want you accidentally getting hurt and I don’t to trip over you either so just watch where you’re going”

At the highly familiar sound of the distinctly unique female voice, Willow felt herself grow stock still as she waited in the calmly in the back room for the new employee to find her.

“I am being careful mom. See?” Connor spoke mischievously as he wafted the torch around, knowing the light wouldn’t be able to touch his skin through the thick, black cloak.

“Connor” Cordelia growled at the five year old and shook her head. “Giles, are you here? Sorry I’m a few minutes late, my car stalled and the inconsiderate piece of junk wouldn’t move. Giles?” the brunette clamped her hand tightly on her son’s shoulder to cease his walking further towards the back room until Giles had answered. “If you’re in there then yell because I’m not coming one step further unless you do”

“Cordelia” Willow gasped, slapping her hands over her mouth as her emerald irises turned black with dilated pupils. “No. It can’t be, we never found her” the red head whispered firmly to herself as she made the decision to find out just who it was Giles had hired. Bringing easy protection spells to the forefront of her mind, she bravely made the first move towards the arrival.

At the sound of slow, hesitant footsteps, Cordelia pulled Connor behind her and snatched the torch out of his grasp, ignoring his yell of annoyance. “Who’s there?” the brunette shouted with as little fear in her voice as she could manage.

“If you don’t tell me who you… Oh my God, W-Willow?” When the beam of light landed on the other young woman, recognition set in and the young mother could have been knocked over with a feather.

“Willow Rosenburg?”

The red head’s wide gaze swept over the tall brunette, taking in every detail in her appearance before landing on the little boy clutching his mom’s leg and glaring up at her as though she had done something really bad. From behind the facial mask, she could see he had big, brown eyes that seemed to burn a hole right through her.

Returning her gaze back to the young woman, Willow stumbled back a few steps and was forced to grab the banister railing for support. “Cordelia?”

Cordelia nodded as she raised her chin, daring the other girl to so much as start dishing out either questions or angered responses at her actions. The young woman didn’t know even half of her situation and couldn’t claim rights to shout or yell accusations at her. “Hello” the brunette’s voice was cool, calm and very abrupt, everything about her posture and tone simply dared Willow to say the wrong thing.

“Mom, who’s that girl and why is she looking at me like that?” Connor peered up at his mother after tugging on her black trouser leg to get attention.

“Because she doesn’t know who you are, baby. She’s as curious about you as you are about her” Cordelia’s tone of voice and demeanor towards her son was a lot warmer and a lot more comforting than her greeting to the red head.

Connor mused over the answer he’d gotten for a few moments before flickering his darkening gaze up to see the girl still looking at him in awe. “Are you sure my Zorro sword hasn’t frightened her like it did that lady?”

“I’m sure Willow isn’t frightened of your Zorro sword Connor” the brunette patiently replied with a warm, loving smile that softened the cool expression of mere seconds ago. “Why don’t you go sit down at the table near the bookshelves over there and give me a chance to talk with Willow, okay?”

“Why can’t I talk with Willow mom? I wanna know what Willow is”

The situation and conversation going on right in front of her very eyes had Willow in a state of either hysterical madness or she was hallucinating. Then again, this was the Hellmouth and so she could have slipped into an inter-dimensional portal while doing her math, or maybe she was dreaming and this wasn’t real.

Seeing the red head was about to faint through shock, Cordelia knelt down and whispered into her son’s ear something which made him jump erratically on the spot before dashing off to sit down at the table he was told too. “You can take your cloak off Connor, I’ll keep the torch pointed away from you”

“Okay mom, when will mister Giles be here? I wanna show him my picture of our old house”

“I’m sure he won’t be long baby, now if you be real good for mom and Willow now, I’ll do what I promised. Cross my heart” she crossed her heart in front of her chest to assure the five year olds’ suspicious gaze. “Now shush for a little while and sit quietly” turning her attention from Connor back to Willow, Cordelia dropped the large shoulder bag to the floor and crossed her arms.

“No!” the red head denied, “This isn’t right. I’m dreaming right and this isn’t happening?”

Did she have any idea just how predictable she was? “Willow calm down long enough to at least say hello would you? Then you can have your shot yelling at me.” The brunette counted the exact number of seconds it took for the red head to regain the ability to breathe, albeit those breaths were more like erratic puffs of air that would leave her light headed.

Her thin mouth opened and closed, making Willow closely resemble a goldfish. Her hands began to wave around in frantic circles as she tried to fathom out exactly what to say to the girl who she’d thought was probably dead. “B-but you were gone” the words were blurted out “And we thought you were dead”

Cordelia at least had the decency to appear remorseful about the fact she didn’t so much as leave a goodbye note or tell anyone where she was going. At the time, she too confused to think about how anyone else might feel. Not only that but with Connor’s father being who he was, it wouldn’t have been a good idea to divulge that particular piece of information.

“As you can see, I’m not dead” the young brunette replied dryly as she wafted her hands down herself as proof that she really standing there.

Willow continued to shake her wide-eyed gaze at Cordelia, still not believing that the other woman had come back after five years. “We looked everywhere for you, Cordelia. What… I mean, where did you… I can’t believe this” the red head began to fan her face with rapid hand movements. “Xander was heart broken, he thought you were dead”

Anger began to replace shock as her main emotion once it registered that it really was Cordelia Chase standing in front of her. “We all thought you were dead” Willow’s voice rose, making Connor’s attention go from fiddling with his cloak to glaring warningly at the girl starting to shout at his mother.

“I don’t get it, you left without leaving a goodbye note o-or anything. No phone call, no letter. Nothing. Now y-you’re back here. In Sunnydale with a-a…” her finger pointed towards the little boy still glaring back at the red head.

“With a what?” Cordelia instantly hardened at the final statement, her body stiffened and her arms came across her chest defensively. “A child?”

Willow nodded, “A-a kid, Cordelia. What are you doing with a kid? Is he really yours or are you just looking after him?” she couldn’t the other woman as the motherly type whatsoever. It was all too easy to remember how the brunette had been in high school, bitchy, full of self importance, snobby, spoilt and arrogant.

No, Cordelia Chase couldn’t really be a mommy, right? That would be wrong in every sense of the word.

“What am I doing with a son?” Cordelia repeated the question, changing the word kid to son too make a point. “I wouldn’t happen to be raising him, now would I?” It was one thing for people to have a go at her but it was an entirely different situation when her son was brought into things.

When that happened, the young mom didn’t care who got hurt by her comments as long as they got the warning to back off where Connor was concerned.

Looking at the table where the five year old boy was watching them from, Willow blinked as his gaze locked onto hers. Large, soulful brown eyes peered at her through dark eyelashes that framed his eyes. His face had well structured features, a defiant chin and slightly rounded cheeks. Without the cloak and facial mask, the hacker was able to study Connor minus obstructions.

His skin was very pale, a startling contrast to the floppy black hair that swooped down over his forehead and into the big brown eyes. The hands he was using to fidget with his protective clothing were childishly small with fingers that held a little puppy fat. He had an overhanging forehead that was crinkling between the eyebrows with the beginnings of a scowl.

No matter what Willow looked at on the five year old, her gaze always came back to the deep, searing brown eyes that hadn’t looked away from her once. A flutter of recognition sparked in the pit of her stomach but she couldn’t place where she had seen those eyes, forehead and hair before. So much of the little boy’s silent mannerisms were familiar but she couldn’t think from where or who.

Luckily for Cordelia who was no where near ready to answer that question, Willow was too shocked to put some serious thought into it.

Before either the red head or the brunette could speak another word to each other, the chimes above the entrance to the shop jingled, announcing an arrival.

“Don’t turn on the light!” Cordelia yelled loudly as she spurted into action. Dashing over to Connor, the brunette fumbled and helped her son throw on his heavy cloak and dropped the material over his face. “Please for God’s sake, keep the lights off!” her heart was pounding like a base drum in her chest with adrenalin as she continued to bundle the five year old in the material as much as possible.

Shaking herself out of the shock the sudden action had induced, Willow hurried to the front of the shop to see who it was that had entered and what it was they were after. Her sneakers squeaked against the bare floorboards as she raced down the small flight of steps, also frantically yelling for the lights to be kept off with exaggerated panicked hand waving.

“No! Off! You have to keep them off. Light not of the good for the little boy! No lights!”

“All bleedin’ right pet!” Spike held up his hands to stop the young woman from rushing him, “What the bloody hell is going on? Why are the lights all off?” his sapphire gaze narrowed suspiciously as he looked at Willow with a slanted smirk. “Got yourself a bit back there have you?”

“What? No, Goddess no” the hacker puffed as she gulped air that left soon after galvanizing her body into action. “A, uh, the little boy is photosensitive and can’t be in the light, Spike. I don’t have a ‘bit’ back there as you so charmingly put it”

The blonde vampire merely smirked and chose not to believe the girl’s denial of having a girlfriend stashed away in the Magic Shop someplace. The familiar scent that had caught his attention last night after being knocked over twice was strong in here and recognition dawned on him. Outside, there was a blue car parked between the street lights and Spike grinned at the red head watching him nervously.

“Looks like I’m gonna get me my revenge after all” he commented thickly as he easily shoved Willow to one side, ignoring the pinpricks from his chip and her yells for him not to go back there. Spike had his sights and senses locked onto who it was in the back room, nobody and he meant nobody, was going to between him and his right to vengeance on the maniac driver.

Instead of wrapping Connor back up, Cordelia had merely kept the protective cloak around him, allowing the five year old to have his eyes free while she waited for Willow to come back from dealing with whoever the arrival was. Her hands stroked her son’s head through the thick material, soothing the little boy free of his fear with kind words and gentle hugs. “Okay baby. See, there’s no light to hurt you, I promise”

Underneath the clothing, Connor gave a weak nod and allowed himself to be hugged desperately by his mother. Sometimes, even brave boys like him needed Mom-Hugs. “I know mom”

“You’re such a brave, itty bitty boy you know?” Cordelia went with humor as a counteraction to the tears threatening to fall from her eyelashes. If she could wish for one thing to happen in the world, she would wish for son to be able to be in light just for a day.

Just a day to be able to play with him in the park, watch him with children his own age and watch him as he ignored her warnings for him to not dirty his clothes.

Due to the emotional scene, Spike’s presence had gone unnoticed as he listened too and watched the brunette hug the lumpy black material sitting on a chair. He could smell the salty tears that were so close to falling, he heard the pounding of the young woman’s heart in her chest and he heard her breath clogging up her throat.

The scent was driving him nuts, he couldn’t place who the scent belonged too. Her hair was a rich shade of chestnut gleamed against the moonlight filtered through the blinds of the high window, highlighting the tumbling curls falling around her neck and hiding her face from view. Then there was the little boy who had an equally recognizable scent that he couldn’t place.

“Mom, who’s that pale man?” Connor’s words alerted Cordelia to the fact they were being watched intently by someone.

Spinning round, the brunette’s gaze landed on Spike, the vampire she’d purposely knocked over twice last night. Deep, oceanic blue orbs crashed against terrified hazel as Cordelia stood between the vampire and her son. The blonde obviously hadn’t changed since the last time she’d seen him all those years ago before being locked in the closet with Willow. Speaking of which…

“Willow? Get out! Get out now! Connor, for once do as you’re told and leave with Willow” Cordelia threw over her shoulder in the firmest voice she could manage without giving away just how scared to death she really was. Never once tearing her gaze away from Spike’s, the young mother gave out serious hostile vibes that he would no doubt pick up on and use to his utmost advantage. She relaxed somewhat when her son rushed off to go stand with Willow.

“Let my son go, Spike” she told, not asked. “You can do whatever you want with me just let him go”

Her statement confused the blonde who responded by scratching his head and cocking his head to one side, granting her with a highly confused expression. “Say what love?” She knew who he was but didn’t know about the behavioural chip? Strange, Spike thought everyone who knew him had heard about that little occurrence in his life.

Despite the genuine confusion, Cordelia refused to believe anything he said. “You heard me Spike” her voice came out a lot shakier than it did when she spoke only seconds before. “I said you can do what you want with me, but let my son go”

“Why would I want to do anything with you?” Spike smirked at his subtle insult and watched the expression it caused to cross the brunette’s pretty face. Then recognition hit him like a ten ton bag of bricks.

All thoughts of getting vengeance on her got lost in the fog of the shocking realization. His blue eyes went saucer wide, the cigarette he’d just popped between his lips fell to the floor as his mouth dropped open and he snapped his fingers. “Cheerleader?” then his gaze followed the path recently taken by the kid-sized black lump.

Everything suddenly, instantly and impossibly fell into place. Stepping closer to Cordelia, Spike inhaled her scent deeply before walking round her still form in a slow circle. Each inhalation told him the same story and gave the same impossible answer to the boy’s paternal heritage.

Standing as still as possible, she allowed Spike get close to her and scent her, feeling each exhaled response breeze across her skin. Cordelia knew there was no point in denying what the vampire had almost instantly figured out about her son’s father.

Angelus had done this once, scented her that is. He had started at the bottom of her legs, slowly moving up her aroused body, low purrs emanating from his chest.

He’d taken each breath with care, gentility and restrained control that had left Cordelia trembling with need by the time he’d reached her neck. Angelus nuzzled her throat, cheek and hair, covering her completely in his scent until he satisfied that other vampires would know exactly who owned her.

Backing away from the brunette, Spike once again appeared in front of her and cupped her face in both his hands, tilting her head to either side looking for the evidence of the claiming bite. Cordelia raised a shaking hand to push the high neckline of her sweater down to expose the deep puncture wounds that had been made so long ago.

“That what you’re looking for Spike?” she asked in a hushed whisper, “I’ll ask you this once. Please don’t tell”

“Wouldn’t dream of it, pet” it wasn’t her wrath he was intimidated by, it was Angel’s. Over the course of the last five, long years that Angelus could be more terrifying with a soul then he ever could be without it. Without a soul, you knew pretty much to expect death, chaos, mayhem and hell on Earth; with a soul Angel had complete control of his baser instincts and it was therefore harder to predict when he was going to lose control.

Normally Spike would be all for turning Angel’s life upside down and inside out, but this was most definitely not a normal situation. Besides, the cheerleader would do a good enough job without his help and all he’d have to do is sit back and watch as the proverbial shit hit the fan. This was going to be good, he could feel it in his bones and a smirk quirked up at the corners of his mouth.

“Cordelia” before the young mother or vampire could say another word, Willow reappeared on the scene with Connor directly in front of her, scowling dangerously at the man who was too close to his mom. “Don’t hurt Spike!” the red head struggled to catch her breath as she jogged up the small flight of steps to rejoin them.

Cordelia backed away from the blonde and quickly clasped her son’s hand in hers when he moved between Spike and her. “Come again, Willow?” She did say not to hurt Spike, right?

Spike raised his scarred eyebrow in amusement as the cheerleader’s gaze hardly left him. Despite the back room only being lit by a torch, the vampire had no problem seeing the kid’s eyes. His own blue gaze dropped down to the little boy glaring daggers at him through dark brown eyes that peered out from behind a mask that covered all of his face.

“Listen to the chit, pet. I’ve joined the white bloody hat brigade”

The brunette looked towards Willow in disbelief, “This is Spike. SPIKE!” she emphasized, “Remember, locked in a closet at the parent-teacher evening?”

“How could I forget?” Willow muttered, remembering how Cordelia hadn’t once shut up for the eternity they’d been locked in the janitor’s closet together while the blonde vampire and his minions had invaded the school.

“No wonder I couldn’t find you two” Spike mused with a nod, he’d looked for those two before the slayer but hadn’t been able to find them and now he knew why.

“Why haven’t you called Buffy to kill him?”

“Mom, you said killing people is a bad thing to do” Connor pipped up with widening eyes. He’d never heard his mother talk so freely about killing someone before. She’d always said that killing was something only very evil people did.

“I like this kid already” Spike shot the little boy a wicked grin, “So little fellow, what might your name be?”

Cordelia was about to tell the blonde vampire to leave her son alone before telling him exactly where to go, but the five year old beat her to it when he yanked his hand out of her grip and stuck it out for Spike to shake. “My name is Connor Chase mister, but you can call me Connor” the five year old sounded so sure and confident that Willow had to crack a smile. So much like Cordelia.

Kneeling down to look into the kid’s eyes, Spike took the little hand in his much larger one and gave Connor a gentleman’s hand shake. “Name’s Spike mate, pleased to meet you. Now that we’re introduced all proper, what’s say you take off your coat?” He wanted to get a good look at the boy, wanted to see if their was any resemblance between him and Angel.

Connor pointed to the torch beam pouring from the other table, “The light, mister. I can’t be in the light, I’ll get burned and have to go too hospital and everything and then mom would be sad cus she would have no-one to protect her from spiders until I got home”

Neither Willow nor Spike missed the underlying fearful tremor in the boy’s voice despite his brave words. Unlike the red head Spike didn’t have tears glistening on his eyelashes and he wasn’t swallowing back a lump of pity in his throat. That was the way life worked and there wasn’t a damn thing you could do about it except get on with it as best you could.

Cordelia stiffened as soon as she saw the pity and apathy shining from Willow’s saddened expression and hated it with a passion. Pity didn’t do anything to help except annoy both Connor and herself. “Don’t Willow” the brunette warned, “There’s no place for that so just don’t” she didn’t need or want the pity the red head was feeling.

“Baby” the five year old gave her his attention, “I’ll go turn the torch round if you want to take off your outfit.” She only had to wait for a split second for the answering smile on her son’s face.

Slowly, Cordelia backed towards the torch, always keeping her gaze locked onto the vampire in close proximity to her son. Reaching behind her, the brunette fumbled with the light and turned it so Connor was no longer in direct light and she scooted quickly back to her son’s side.

Spike and Willow watched in anticipation as Connor removed the cloak and facial mask, his young face an expression of fear and trepidation in case any light touched him. The five year old handed the cloak to his mother, took off his gloves and unwrapped the scarf from around his neck, also handing them to the brunette.

“You’re a handsome little chap” the blonde stated bringing an arrogant smirk to the kid’s face as he returned the vampire’s gaze, “Not as good looking as me o’course, but not bad”

Willow saw the pallor of his complexion, it reminded her of a vampire’s and realised that the little boy had probably never been out in the son in all his life. He’d never played in the sand, gone swimming in the ocean or anything normal children could do. What kind of life must Connor have? How did Cordelia cope with the obviously intensive caring he needed?

“Mom says I’m the cutest guy in the world” Connor retorted with a modest shrug that didn’t match his arrogant tone, “She says that I’m even cuter than my father was”

Cordelia froze under the stares now directed at her from the red head and vampire, she knew exactly what they were both thinking. Willow’s brain would be ticking over trying to place who the father could be and Spike was thinking what she had told Connor about Angelus.

The young woman knew she would eventually have to tell the truth, but that could wait for another day when she was ready.

If she ever would be.


Part 6
The next evening, the young red headed hacker had gone straight from college directly to the Magic Shop to help make it safe for Cordelia’s son who would be accompanying his mom on a nightly basis. She’d had the full day to get used to the idea of her old class mate being a mommy at 22, but the news still hadn’t quite sunk in yet.

Maybe tonight, Willow wondered, she would be able to get the whole story of what had happened to make the brunette leave without a shred of notice never to be seen again. Until now that is, five years later when she turned up on the doorstep of the Magic Shop out of the blue with a son called Connor.

A son called Connor who had the inability to be in direct light of any kind, a condition very serious that no doubt took a lot of care and attention. The person she remembered Cordelia being at school either wouldn’t have been able to cope or she would’ve have ignored it in the hope it would go away.

Now though, she wasn’t so sure she had known Cordelia Chase all that well back there. She had often bore the brunt of petty envy, jealous comments and even an invisible girl who wanted revenge. All because she had been the popular one, the one that wore the best clothes, dated the college boys and the one whose parties everyone wanted to go too.

Under all the make-up, the selfish attitude and the spoilt girl, there had been someone who never refused to help them if they needed it. Yes, Cordelia complained a lot but she still helped and unlike Xander and herself, she didn’t do it because Buffy was her friend. She had helped because she wanted too, because she didn’t want people to suffer.

In the hacker’s opinion, that counted for something.

Willow had drawn a large sign in the window stating ‘Do Not Turn On Light’ in bold, underlined letters written in black marker and she’d stuck it to the glass pane of the front door. Spike was with Cordelia and Connor in the back room, it amazed her how much the vampire seemed to be taken with the five year old son of the brunette.

She wondered how he had exactly gotten so good with kids and soon realized that wasn’t something she needed or wanted to ever know.

The phone rang and the hacker hurried to answer, hoping it would be Giles to say he was on his way. Though Cordelia had asked her to keep her reappearance a secret, Willow thought Buffy, Xander and Angel had a right to know she was alive and well. After all, they had all thought she was dead and Angel had often wondered if he’d killed her when he’d lost his soul.

When Angel had offered that suggestion to them, they had instantly gone quiet and took it seriously. If he couldn’t remember killing Cordelia, then how were the rest of them supposed to know for definite? The dark haired vampire had gone over and over it in his head, trying to remember if Angelus had indeed killed the cheerleader and gotten rid of her body just to prolong their grief.

He hadn’t ever remembered doing that and so the suggestion of Angel killing Cordelia had been pushed aside.

“Hello, Magic Shop. How can I help you?” Willow asked in a very professional voice.

“It’s Giles, Willow” she breathed a sigh of relief at his voice.

“Cordelia’s here” the red head stated right away and then bombarded Giles with questions he’d evaded earlier. “How long have you known she’s been back? Has she told you who the father of Connor is yet? Have you really hired her to work for you?

“I’m calling to warn Cordelia” Giles ignored the questions, “Buffy, Xander and Angel are on their way there now. Please let her know and I’ll try to get there before they do” the phone went dead.

Willow placed the receiver back in the cradle and chewed her lower lip thoughtfully, debating on whether or not to give the warning to the young mother. Why was it always her who was put in this position? Why was it always her that was made to keep secrets?

She wasn’t good at keeping secrets, they all knew that. She got stammery, nervous and her voice would come out as a high-pitched squeak.

If she didn’t warn Cordelia then she wasn’t betraying her best friends and she was putting their fears to rest. But she would be betraying Giles and his confidence in her ability to handle this situation with a clear and level head. Willow wasn’t sure how long she’d been stood there debating with herself when familiar and angry voices were heard outside of the shop.

“Oops!” the red head muttered as dread pooled in the pit of her stomach. Opening her mouth, Willow prepared to yell as loud as she could. “Cordelia! Buffy, Xander and Angel are here!”

Spike’s gaze instantly snapped to the brunette’s horrified expression. “Bugger!” Of course, he was hoping to see the fireworks fly when his grandsire came face-to-face with the mother of his bit.

“Connor, get your cloak, gloves and mask on baby” Cordelia jumped out of her seat, nearly spilling the half filled mug of coffee on her jeans in the rush to make an escape. Glancing at the blonde vampire watching the action through an unreadable expression she asked “Is there a back door? An escape hatch?”

“Only through the tunnels, pet” Spike replied with an indifferent shrug. “Wouldn’t it be better to get this out of the bloody way? So as not to be hiding your kid like a dirty secret?”

That sentence caused the brunette to stand completely still, her hands gripped the large shoulder bag that now hung from around her neck as his words ran through her brain. He made sense, that much was true, but she couldn’t face Buffy and Angel when they were together. Add Xander to the mix and that was asking for World War 3.

“His name is Connor, not kid and he’s my son, not a dirty little secret”

Spike was about to make a retort to that when something else occurred to him; shallow breathing, erratic heart rate, shaking hands and dilating pupils. “You’re scared out of your bloody wits, love”

“Wow” Cordelia shot back, helping her son get his protective clothing back on. “It’s amazing how you can just tell by my wild state of panic and desperation to leave that I’m scared out of my wits. Of course I’m scared out of my wits you moron”

“No need for name calling” the vampire held up his hands in a show of submission, “Only telling it like I see it”

“This was a mistake” she whispered to herself as she tucked the cloak collar tightly into the crook of Connor’s neck, “Coming back here was a mistake. I should’ve stayed away. There’s nothing here” raising her voice, she looked at her son. “Come on baby, time to go home. Say goodbye to Spike”

“Bye mister Spike, are you here tomorrow? We can play cards again and I’ll even let you win” Connor promised with a little nod of his head.

“Right ‘o, mate. You’re on” the blonde glanced at the brunette to see if she would put a stop to the little arrangement. Cordelia was too busy with her thoughts to pay much attention to the interaction between her son and himself. It seemed she was too busy to notice Connor had turned towards the small flight of steps and had energetically bounded down them.

When Spike felt the presence and caught the scent of his grandsire, he knew the brunette was “Out of time, love”

*~*~*~*

Angel had already been on his way to the Magic Shop, he’d completed a text translation for Giles and wanted to deliver it before the usual time the others got there. No matter that he’d spent most of the last five years around the people he’d tried to destroy, he still felt uncomfortable around them.

Buffy in particular.

Though they all tried to hide their feelings, Angel could see the condemnation whenever they looked or spoke to him. The fear, the wariness hadn’t gone, just merely been pushed aside in order to appease the blonde slayer’s wants. He couldn’t live like that, forever surrounded by people who didn’t trust and feared him, despite what he’d done to cause that reaction.

He didn’t blame them for how they felt. They should blame him and not trust him but it didn’t do anything to help him, only made the memories worse.

The note plastered to the glass window in the door, had Angel intrigued and he entered the shop cautiously in case he was disturbing Willow casting a spell or something like that. He caught the scent of a child, a little boy, and tensed with the memories…. So many innocent children.

Another, more headier and recognizable scent floated through the air, making his body cease in walking. The intoxicating female scent took Angel back to a place he thought had been a dream. A dream filled with searing heat, sweat and all night love making.

Hot, lazy nights wrapped around a firm supple body that enveloped him in the most intimate way possible. Long, shapely and slender legs locked tightly around his waist, bringing him harder and closer to her body, making him hers to own. Nails scraped sharply down the broad expanse of his back while he took control of her body.

Angel remembered how his flesh sizzled when she had tasted him, slowly curling her lips around the tip of his erection before swallowing him whole and brining him to orgasm. Her tongue would swirl teasingly over the most sensitive part of him, licking up each droplet of fluidic sex and tasting him until she was satisfied or he’d taken control.

Salty perspiration made her body slick, his hand would smoothly glide down the glistening overheated flesh until he reached a place that burned hotter than hell. Lips would slide over her soft pliant mouth, his tongue would taste the salt mixing with her unique taste and he would savour it like a precious elixir.

The hollow of her delectable throat would throb with blood pressure heightened by the flow of sex that made her body an inferno. So high was the pressure, her blood would rush into his mouth without force; the rich and female spice would coat his tongue, lips and throat with the purest essence of life. Her blood was a rare delicacy; tasting of orgasm, of him and of the daylight he couldn’t be a part of.

The strong scent was almost suffocating him, reawakening those memories that threatened to tear him apart. She couldn’t be here, she had disappeared, died or worse. Angel had searched for her as Angelus, he’d searched for her after he’d escaped from hell and he’d recently hired a private detective and still got nothing.

It seemed far too impossible for Cordelia Chase to be here, now and after all this time.

“Hey mister, watch where you’re going” a young, male voice grouched up at him from the floor.

Snapping out of his reverie, Angel slowly lowered his gaze to the floor where his sights came to rest on a black, talking lump who he’d obviously knocked to the ground. Holding out his hand to the small boy, the vampire looked quizzically at the intense black cloak covering the child and then glanced at the small, gloved hand that curled round his fingers.

“Sorry” Angel mumbled as he hauled the little boy up off the floor, “Where’s your mommy and daddy?” maybe they were in here and could come get the kid away from him. It wasn’t that he didn’t like kids, just the opposite in fact.

During his heyday, he had loved them and that was the problem. The ultimate evil act, killing something so innocent and pure like a child was a sign of the devil, of pure evil. Of him.

“My mom’s up there, mister” Connor pointed a black finger towards the small flight of steps which led up to where Cordelia was with Spike.

Finally snapping out of her shock, Willow decided to give Cordelia time to get herself together and the red head dove right on in with a stalling plan. “Hey Angel!” she beamed at the dark haired vampire, “Lovely night outside, isn’t it? Th-that big, full moon a-and the pretty stars. All signs of a good night for, you know, fighting. If you’re lucky, you may even see a werewolf”

She stopped when she realized that it was a pointless exercise and if Spike had remembered who Cordelia was by her scent alone then Angel would know too.

“Lady” Connor spoke up as he glanced up at the red head with his big, brown eyes. “Werewolves only exist in the movies or in special parts of the world. Unless Sunnypale is a special place… Is it?”

“My name is Willow Rosenburg but you can call me Willow” Willow suddenly realized she hadn’t really introduced herself to Cordelia’s son and he seemed to pick up on that point. From the sounds of it, Cordelia had explained about things like werewolves and hellmouths in a way that the little boy would be able to understand. She wasn’t sure if that was a good idea or not.

On one hand, ignorance could be a blessing in the fact that a person wouldn’t know there were really monsters in the world therefore they would be able to sleep at night. On the other hand, ignorance could be a curse and could put your life in danger. The more Willow thought about it, the more she agreed with the brunette’s decision to make her son as informed as possible.

“Okay, thank you Willow” Connor stated politely, he then looked up at the tall dark haired man with the scary expression. A questioning look crossed the five year old’s face as he stared unknowingly into his father’s eyes. “My name is Connor Chase but you can call me Connor. Did Willow call you an angel?”

Angel missed the boy introducing himself, he was too lost in the penetrating stare of darkening brown eyes that scanned his face from behind the face mask. There was a strong urge to take off the heavy cloak and mask just to see what he looked like. Connor’s words began to echo in his ears… Connor Chase… Connor… Chase.

Cordelia’s scent was almost suffocating Connor, her scent was all over the little boy, as was his own.

Willow’s voice grew distant until Angel was surrounded by deafening silence; the room seemed to spin as time unexplainably stopped. The translation the vampire held was dropped from a lax grip and fell to the floor; he stumbled back a few steps putting distance between Connor and himself.

No.

This wasn’t right. There had to be some mistake.

“Connor are you ready to go baby?” Cordelia emerged at the top of the steps with Spike right besides her. The brunette’s voice drifted off when she saw Angel seeing his son for the first time since he was born. Her heart began to pound so hard it hurt, lungs ceased to take in oxygen and her body began to shake uncontrollably. “Angelus…?”

At the name of his soulless counterpart, Angel snapped his gaze from the little boy to the beautiful young woman watching in terror as he faced off with his son. Her hair had been cut to shoulder length, the chestnut tresses he had threaded his fingers through were now a stunning mass of loose curls. Bright, gleaming hazel orbs he had never forgotten were wide and her mouth was parted in shock.

“Cordelia?” Angel whispered; his chest began to rise and fall as he deeply inhaled the air as much as he could; driving the intoxicating scent to a place that would it forever. His hands itched to touch her again while his lips tingled with the promise of a taste, his body felt suddenly cold as it remembered the loss of female heat and every inch of him screamed to grab her and hold her close.

Spike couldn’t hold back the smirk as he watched the myriad of emotion that fluctuated across the faces of both the cheerleader and his grandsire. Looked like Peaches wasn’t as dense as he often appeared; the blonde thought in amusement.

He didn’t think he’d seen Angel this pale of this close to fainting in his existence; offhandedly Spike reminded himself to tell his Faith about this.

Willow was known for her brains and the ability to fit pieces of puzzles into the correct places so everything made sense. Now she was face-to-face with the undeniable truth of who exactly Connor Chase reminded her of, she wasn’t willing to be the one to fit this puzzle into place.

It was the confirming question from Angel that she chose to blank out completely and deny all knowledge of it all.

“H-he’s mine. Isn’t he?” Angel’s blank, expressionless gaze never left the young mother as he awaited her response. He didn’t need the ‘yes’ from her, the vampire already knew he was the little boy’s father, or his demon was the little boy’s father.

“Not here and not now” Cordelia barked, jogging down the steps to scoop the five year old up into her arms with a little effort, “Not ready yet.” Just as she scrambled for the door handle to leave before anything else was admitted, Buffy opened it from the outside with Xander right behind her.

Hazel orbs locked with the surprised blue eyes of Buffy Summers and then with the equally stunned green eyes of Xander Harris. Before either the slayer or young man could say a word, Cordelia pushed past them and ran for her car, fully intending on making an escape.

*~*~*~*

Since Connor had gone, Willow had taken it upon herself to turn on the lights so they weren’t sitting in the dark. When she did so, the red head wished she’d left them off, it might have kept the awful atmosphere hidden and unseen.

There was a thick, very intense atmosphere inside the Magic Shop as all struggled to assimilate the fact Cordelia Chase was very much alive, well and not alone. Buffy was biting her thumb nail while she paced back and forth in front of the counter, Xander sat hunched in a chair with his head in his hands and Angel was staring at the door, willing the brunette to come back.

With the emotions in the room being so volatile, the red head figured the safest place to be was next to the only unbiased, unaffected person in the room. So Willow found herself stood as close to Spike as humanly possible without actually clinging to him. Her green eyes flitted from person to person to vampire in the hope one of them would speak.

Spike was clearly enjoying the whole thing since the only thing the cheerleader had been to him was Angelus’ bit on the side before she’d done a runner. The blonde had initially thought his grandsire had killed the bint but when he had thrown the vampire equivalent of a hissy fit, Spike knew the brunette had merely disappeared.

He figured she’d left to get away from being Angelus obsession, he would never have believed that it because she was baking his bun. Hell, if he was baking Angelus’ bun, he wouldn’t stop at running away, he’d happily laugh while shoving the stake into his heart.

After more of the eternal thick silence, the blonde vampire had just about reached the end of this tether. They all wanted to launch into the subject of Cordelia Chase and see how many names, ways and insults they could use for her behavior all them years ago. Xander and Willow were obviously waiting for their leader to start the furious yelling off so they could join in and get their frustrations out.

The younger vampire wondered if Angel would defend the mother of his kid or if he was still in shock, disbelief and denial. “Bugger this” Spike muttered, suddenly finding himself under stares of lead accusing him of being the one to break the silent spell.

“If you lot want to wallow in the cheerleader’s dramatic return, be my sodding guests” Spike invited with a carefree shrug. “I, on the other hand, have a hot woman warming me bed up and while I got bugger all done today, I’ve been suitably entertained…” he knew just a little push would get them all going.

Ignoring the vampire, Buffy turned cold blue eyes to her best friend, Willow demanding “How long have you known Cordelia was back?”

The red head squeaked under breath and moved closer to Spike who glared at her for indirectly bringing him into this. “I-I didn’t know as such, Buffy. It wasn’t u-until Giles asked if I would watch the store until the new girl arrived” that was the truth. “A-and when Cordelia did arrive she had C-Connor, her son, with her”

Xander raised tired and pained green eyes to his longest, dearest and most trusted friend. “Yesterday was when Giles asked you to watch the store” he pointed out in a gravelly voice. “Why didn’t you call to let us know as soon as you found out?” his voice was dull apart from the hint of hurt that sparked in his irises.

“Giles called here first Xander, telling me you, A-Angel and Buffy were coming here” Willow felt her shoulder make contact with the vampire next to her. Normally she wouldn’t willingly be this close to Spike but the glares she was getting made her wary. “Besides, I was in shock”

When the blonde slayer’s gaze next locked onto Spike, the vampire couldn’t hold back the whine-like groan at the realization he too was going to be interrogated about the brunette. He damned the red head next to him and silently demanded why she chose to stand close to him thus putting him in the line of fire. “Don’t ask me slayer, ‘cus I don’t bloody know the girl”

Those words had Buffy closing her mouth as soon as she’d opened it. Resuming her pacing and nail biting as another wall of silence descended on the occupants of the room. Angel was still staring at the door to the Magic Shop, Xander was once again covering his face and Willow’s face was blank.

It finally occurred to Spike that the only way he was going to dig up the dirt, he was going to need too push the right buttons to get the big scoop.

“Cheerleader’s kiddy is a handsome little devil, ain’t he?” Spike directed that directly to Angel who’s attention went from the door to the blonde. “Going to grow up into a tall, dark strap of a chappy methinks” he didn’t get any response so he went in another direction. “Wonder who ‘Daddy’ is…” sapphire orbs went instantly to Xander Harris who felt the piercing stare and returned the blonde vampire’s look.

Angel knew exactly what his grandchilde was up to and he refused to rise too the bait. He easily ignored the first statement made by Spike, only responding with a singular glower. But the last statement of Connor Chase’s paternal heritage coming from Xander Harris was enough to mark the start of demonic belligerence bubbling up inside.

He was Connor’s father, not Xander and not anyone else. Him. Angel. Angelus.

It was all he could do to not yell out he was partly responsible for the little boy’s birth. However, this was certainly not the time or the place to make a confession like that. At least it wouldn’t be the time until he officially told Buffy he didn’t want another re-run of their get back together and then break up relationship.

He didn’t want a relationship unless it was with the mother of his son.

Raising his hands as a flash of defense made his green eyes bright, Xander was quick to deny he had any part in the conception of Cordelia Chase’s young son. “Whoa there Deadboy Junior” he breathed out seriously, “You’re barking up the wrong tree here. Cordelia and I never got past a quick grope and kiss in closets”

“It’s alright, Xander” Buffy took it upon herself to calm her best male friend down with a comforting voice, warm blue gaze and soft smile. “Spike’s only trying to get too you. Ignore him” she shot a warning glance to the vampire in question, gracing him with a disgusted expression when he smirked winningly. “We know you wouldn’t have done anything so stupid like have unprotected sex with anyone, much less Cordelia Chase”

The young man shook his head and returned his face to the calm serenity of his palms. He didn’t want to think of who could be the father of Cordelia’s son. It would only make him wonder who she had cheated on him with. Though technically, Xander hadn’t been cheated on as the brunette had broke things off between them roughly a month and a half before her disappearance.

What caused the brunette to run like that? Thinking about the child Cordelia had with her, he could pretty much assume what caused her to run.

Xander Harris prided himself on being a good judge of character where Cordelia Chase had been concerned. He’d seen her away from her parents, away from her friends and he’d seen the woman that was hidden by an image. Out of the controlling barriers of her lifestyle, he’d gotten to know young woman with a solid heart who would never back down from anything in her life.

If being slayer had been about will power and inner strength, Xander knew that without a doubt Cordelia would go down in history as the strongest one of them all. He had often wished she had let more people see her for who she really was and not who she had been raised to be. Maybe then she would have found what she was looking for.

“I don’t care one way or the other about the kid” Buffy stated firmly, “He isn’t my concern, what is my concern is the reason why she chose to come back after all this time” she looked around the room, only seeing the expressions she wanted too see. “The way I see things is Cordelia left five years ago without having the decency to tell us what she was doing. Now, she thinks she can just waltz back into town pretending nothing happened? Not in my world”

“Steady on there Stalin” Spike chortled at the blonde’s words, “The good ol’ US of A is a free country right?” off the slayer’s blank look he continued to make his point. “Way I see it is the chit has a right to come back to her old haunts, ain’t down to you who can live ‘ere an who can’t” Faith would be proud of him. He made a mental note to tell her about this, he was bound to get lucky.

Buffy glared at the vampire for a second, “It’s a good thing I didn’t ask for how you saw it”

Angel was instantly suspicious as to why Spike was coming to the defense of a girl he’d barely had any contact with. After the initial introduction he had conducted, Angelus had kept the vampire as far away from Cordelia as he possibly could. He’d even gone so far as too move onto one of the highest floors in the mansion, only permitting the brunette to wander around when he was with her

Luckily, Cordelia had understood that not all vampires were like him in the sense that they respected another’s claim and so she had abided by his wishes, trusted him to keep her safe. What had taken Buffy Summers almost a full year and Darla, his sire, a century and a half, Cordelia accomplished in less than a month.

Four little weeks and Angelus discovered that the fiery yet submissive brunette was his equal.

Knowing he was soulless and still she allowed him access to any part of her he wanted. Blood, body, mind and soul; everything who and what made Cordelia Chase special was examined and memorized by Angelus.

Away from the others, away from who they really were; Angelus and Cordelia Chase lived out a life most people would never have. Behind closed doors, when it was just him and her, where the only things between them were clothes.

A private place where what could and did destroy it was a cold, harsh shot of reality. One day, Angelus had looked into the hazel eyes which melted in the heat of orgasm only to see the irises sparkling like amber jewels. The street lamp high-lighted the unshed tears on the dark lashes as Cordelia looked up at him in despair.

The soulless vampire hadn’t been able to apologize for doing something he wasn’t sorry for and so, in that final crushing moment, Angelus placed a bittersweet kiss on her lips and allowed the brunette to walk away. A short, sharp sting of hurt tore through him as the black diamond-hard gaze silently begged Cordelia to turn around and come back.

He had never regretted a single second or action except for not calling her back. Instead, he had willingly succumbed to numbing rage, turned every bit of it towards Buffy and tried to suck the world into hell.

Now, Angel needed to find Cordelia, make her talk to him and make her answer all the questions that were clouding his mind from seeing sense. He wished she had never left, he wished he had never killed Jenny Calendar, the thing that drove the brunette away. He wished she had stayed with him, told him about the baby and never let him suffer with the possibility that he had killed her.

Without a second thought, Angel squared his shoulders and made for the exit that would lead him to follow in Cordelia’s footsteps a short while earlier. He had every intention of getting his answers tonight, no matter what.

“Angel?” Buffy’s hardened voice stopped him for a moment, not waiting for him to look at her the blonde carried on. “Where are you going?”

“Out” To see my son and his mother the dark haired vampire added silently as he resumed walking. An unspoken lethal warning was given out to those who were thinking of preventing him doing what he wanted. Nothing and nobody was going to get in between him, Connor and Cordelia. Not even the people he wanted forgiveness and acceptance from.

Willow and Spike exchanged glances that told they knew exactly where he was going and why. Both the hacker and chipped vampire made an agreement not to give away the secret of Connor’s paternal heritage until Cordelia was ready and Angel had his answers. Despite the fact it was only Spike who knew exactly who was Connor Chase’s daddy, Willow knew Angel had a lot to do with it.

The slamming of the now closed door resounded throughout the Magic Shop, leaving the group in silence once more.


Part 7
The return of his soul and the subsequent return from hell hadn’t done anything to lessen her effect on him. In hell, he had come so close to giving up and losing his mind that at one point, Angel had looked for the brunette hoping to find his salvation.

In hindsight, the vampire was so much more than relieved to haven’t found Cordelia in that dimension, Angel was one hundred percent certain she would never have survived the horrors he saw. Hell was all of his own creation, the rules of the game kept changing, one minute everything was real and the next it was an illusion designed to give him hope before it, and his soul, was destroyed.

His son, Connor, was real and he had to find Cordelia and his son before she took him away for good this time. They were all that mattered.

“Oy” Spike’s voice stopped him before he got too far from the shop. “She got a blue car, license plate B34 RTY. Went in the direction of Montgomery Road. Careful of that car mate, chit’s dangerous” The blonde rubbed the fully healed injury on his head at the memory of her knocking him down twice. “And tell the bloody chit I will get my revenge for that little stint”

Angel glanced over his shoulder, “What are you talking about now, Spike?”

“Your bit knocked me over” the blonde told him in all seriousness “Twice. If my Faith hadn’t pulled me out the God damn way, she woulda crushed my head like a bleedin melon”

A wry smile quirked up at the corners of Angel’s pale lips at the image his explanation provoked. He’d have to remember to give Cordelia a show of gratitude for doing something he’d wanted to do for years. “Thank you” this would be the only time he had ever or would ever say those words to his grandchilde and already he was cursing himself for saying them.

Not moving from his spot against the corner of the Magic Shop wall, Spike pulled out his packet of cigarettes, lit one up and tried his best to look suave while doing it. “O’course if you asked Spike nicely, he just might give you the address the chit left for the Watcher bloke” a folded piece of paper was held up in his free hand, catching the rapt attention of his grandsire.

“1325 Montgomery Road” Spike read from the paper then watched as Angel stilled for a second before disappearing into the shadowy night. “How the bloody hell does he do that?” the blonde shook his head and went to look for his own bit. He wondered if Faith would be up for ‘hungry-and-horny’ slaying. No doubt he would be made to divulge all the gossip about the new arrival on the Hellmouth before he got any.

Suddenly, Spike’s blue gaze went wide as his body became as still as Angel’s had mere moments ago. If one vampire could have a kid, then it was possible for him, right? “Bollocks! I hope that girl’s on the pill”

*~*~*~*

Angel stood outside the cosy little house that protectively held Connor and his mother. It was a simple house, an ordinary two-story house that was attached to the one next door. The lawn was neat if a little overgrown and the bushes were minimal with a few flowering buds on the tips.

The front door was painted a dark crimson with a canopy supported by a trellis on either side. Roses were growing up and entwining themselves through the diamond shaped holes. All in all, it seemed like a normal, typical suburban house except for the windows

Each window had indoor shutters and the small glass pane at the top of the front door had also been bordered up from the inside. They all seemed to be shut tightly and the three ground floor shutters that were open had a thick, heavy layering over the glass.

To Angel, the shutters gave the appearance of a prison and he wondered why Cordelia would have both Connor and herself living like this. Thinking about it, he could imagine if anything made the discovery a child had been born to a vampire and human, there would be a heavy price on the child’s head.

Did she need the extra protection from something or someone? Did she need the extra protection from him? The vampire couldn’t say and he didn’t want think that Cordelia might feel she would need to keep herself safe from him.

She hadn’t needed protection from his darker self, so why would she feel like she needed it from him?

Approaching the front with measured, controlled steps and trepidation on his face, Angel swallowed back the lump clogging his throat, clenched and unclenched his fists. One hand reached out to touch the smooth, crimson as though he were trying to feel Cordelia through it, trying to feel the beating of the heart hidden in her chest.

The wood was cold, no human heat came from the inanimate obstacle and he found a likeness to himself.

Behind the door, the vampire couldn’t pick up sounds of breathing or beating hearts or any signs of life. Shooting a panic-filled glance over his shoulder, Angel double checked that her car was parked outside of the house. It was and that meant either Cordelia had gone out or she was purposely hiding from him and everyone else.

He knocked and waited patiently for an answer then knocked again when he didn’t get one. Stuffing his hands into the pockets of his leather jacket, the vampire began to rethink being here. Answers needed to be given but maybe it was too soon for both Cordelia and himself, maybe he needed some time to get his head around the fact she back, alive and with his son.

His son.

“You want some more juice baby? Be careful until I come back and if you see anyone, come straight in.” The voice penetrated the night’s silence, granting Angel with the knowledge the sound seemed to be coming from the back of the house.

If he had a blood flow, it would have been racing through his body and his heart would be pounding as he followed both the sounds and the scent round the corner that led to the back yard.

Angel’s footsteps crunched on the loose gravel covering the ground as he moved slowly. Licking his lips in anticipation, the vampire rubbed his mouth with his fingers and tried to remove the haunting feel of the last feel of her soft lips as they brushed against his. He wasn’t prepared for this, wasn’t prepared for what he find and wasn’t prepared for quickly the tide of memories took over.

The sounds of both female and childlike laughter pulled Angel from his thoughts and deep concentration as he reached a locked gate preventing him from his son and Cordelia. Should he say something to announce he was here or should he just go in?

This was Cordelia’s home, her sanctuary. He didn’t have the right to just barge in as though he owned it like Angelus had a long time ago.

The soulless half of the vampire had thought nothing of waltzing through the front door of the old manor the brunette had lived in. Angelus assumed he had the right to do whatever he felt where the cheerleader was concerned, even going so far as to read her diary in front of her. Not that Cordelia had specifically told him he couldn’t but it wouldn’t have mattered if she had.

Everything about her Angelus owned, she had no secrets or anything to hide from him, only fantasies that quickly induced the acting out of them.

Before he could stop himself, Angel clicked the simple latch on the gate and walked through it. All his senses were trained on following the sound, scent and inner pull of Connor and Cordelia.

The back yard was darkly shadowed, no light except from the spotlight that hung above the back door. A slow movement to his left caused Angel to immediately pinpoint who or what it was. Standing on the edge of where the light illuminated the short grass, he saw his son throwing a ball up into the air and catching it with ease.

On his head, a baseball cap was sat backwards preventing Angel from seeing what colour hair his son had. His small hands were covered with black gloves and he wore what looked to be a thick, black jumper that hung from his childish frame. White training shoes seemed to be caked in mud and grass, as did the little boy’s clothes and face.

The back door opened and Cordelia jogged out carrying one tall glass and a smaller plastic cup that was no doubt for her son. Her curls were piled on top of her head in a ponytail and she was dressed in comfortable clothes. Dark blue jeans clung to her legs and the material curved around her shape as she walked towards Connor, holding out the plastic cup. A simple jersey sweater with a low, revealing neck line that scooped across the gentle slope of her cleavage.

“Put the ball down, Connor or you’ll spill your juice” Cordelia told the boy as she sat down on the grass, watching her son.

“Can we play soccer again when I’ve finished?” the five year old asked with a hopeful grin on his rounded face. “I’m not tired and I was real good tonight and I’ll go to bed when you tell me too and I’ll wash my face”

“You’ll go to bed and wash your face anyway” the brunette retorted easily, not missing any trick he could come up with. “Alright! Finish your juice and we’ll play again.” If she was truthful, Cordelia would admit to enjoying kicking a ball around with Connor it was just a shame that they didn’t have more space in the garden.

“Alright!” Connor threw the ball so far into the air, waited until it fell down a little before kicking it across the garden where it rolled to a stop right next to the vampire’s feet.

Both the little boy and young woman watched in stone-cold silence as they followed the ball’s movements until their gaze landed on a pair of black, heavy combat boots. Connor and Cordelia slowly raised their gaze, trailing up the black trousers to reach a black leather jacket, black shirt and finally came to rest on the vampire’s expressionless features.

Angel had been stood watching the interaction between mother and son. An ache started to throb in his chest making him want to join in with them, be a part of what they so clearly had. If Connor was indeed his son, which he was, then he had missed out on so many things, on having a chance to build up his own relationship with the little boy.

Cordelia couldn’t think of anything to say, it seemed for the fifth time in her life she was speechless. The first time had been when Angelus first came to her, the second had been when she was allowed to walk away, the third was finding out she was pregnant, the fourth time was discovering her son’s condition and yet none seemed to compare with this.

Her lips were parted, the glass of juice resting on the fuller pouting lower lip insinuating she had been about to take a drink when she saw him. Her big doe eyes blinked slowly while she tried to distinguish if Angel was really there or if she was simply dreaming.

Connor’s head tilted quizzically to one side as he studied the tall man looking at him. His mom had told him on the way home from the shop that they would get visitors soon and for him to be on his very best behaviour. The five year old wondered if this was his dad, he’d been told all about his dad and how he was special, like he himself was.

In all his childish innocence, Connor placed his juice on the grass next to his silent mom and waved to the tall man. “Hey mister” Willow had called him an angel, the boy remembered and so it would be okay to talk to him because he hadn’t been a stranger to the lady or his mother. “Are you really an angel? You don’t have wings and a gold thing on your head so you can’t be, right?”

“Connor, be quiet.” Cordelia told her son in a distant voice, never removing her heating gaze from the vampire watching her and Connor with a pained expression on his face. Pushing herself up off the ground, the brunette wiped her clothes free of any stray loose blades of grass. “I didn’t expect you so soon, Angel”

It had to be Angel standing there, if it had been Angelus then she didn’t doubt for a second the vampire would have stayed quietly in the shadows for this long. Now the uncomfortable silence had been broken via her son, the young woman sucked in a deep breath and gathered her courage in preparation to face her past and the five year olds’ father.

Angel couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move as his unbeating heart constricted violently in his chest. The depths of his gaze sparkled like black diamonds as his eyes darted back and forth between his son and her. He wanted to go too them, be a part of it all but the power to do so hadn’t left as an ache full of longing drowned out everything thing else.

“Why is he just standing there, mom?” Connor once again broke the silence, “Is he alright? He doesn’t look very well. Should I give him your juice?” He wasn’t going to give up his juice for anyone, especially a man he didn’t know.

Taking a tentative step forwards, the dark haired vampire unsurely went to pull back when Cordelia made the next move. “I-its okay, Angel” she stated softly, resisting the urge to damn everything and just go to him. Seeing how there was no point in hiding anymore, not that she wanted to keep hiding from him, the brunette extended an invitation to the vampire. “Please?”

“I can’t. Too hard” Angel spun on his heel and turned away from his son, fully intending on getting the hell out and giving himself enough time to get his head together. He felt like a stranger and in a sense, he was and he didn’t want to feel like that around his own son and Cordelia. He wanted what he could never have, even though it was right there in front of him.

“You leave now Angel, and you’ll regret it for the rest of your existence” wise words fell from the young mother who refused to let the vampire leave without even saying hello to his son. “Don’t go, please”

“Mom, is that the special man you told me about?” Connor asked, not understanding why Angel had turned to leave, “My dad?”

The world and his resolve to leave shattered around the vampire’s heart when he heard his son ask Cordelia if it was his dad. Angel gritted his teeth together so hard his jaw crackled under the pressure. A large hand pressed where his heart lay still and he tried to stop the ache in his chest from getting worse. He didn’t dare turn around, not until he heard Cordelia’s answer.

“Yes baby” a wry smile quirked up her nude lips at the corners, “He is your dad”

“Then why is he leaving?”

Angel stiffened at the question, wondering that himself.

“Because, he’s a little bit afraid” Cordelia knelt down to her son’s height as she explained in way he would be able to understand. “He hasn’t seen you yet and he thinks he isn’t allowed to be here, that someone told him he wasn’t allowed to have a son”

She always had known him too well the vampire thought.

Connor blinked as her words sank into his five year old brain; he scratched his cheek with a gloved finger and turned to look at the vampire’s back. “If you ask him real nicely and if you tell him I’ll be super good, will he stay for some juice?”

His son wanted him to stay, Angel wanted to stay but he didn’t know what to do, say or any of that. There wasn’t a rule book or manual for this as much as he wished there was. How did parents do this? How did they react when meeting their son or daughter for the first time? What did they do? There was only one way to find out the answers to those questions.

Cordelia felt the squeezing round her heart loosen when she watched Angel slowly turn to face his son and her. “Stay, please”

Angel nodded.

*~*~*~*

The hallway light provided Cordelia with the ability to see both Connor and Angel clearly while keeping her son out of the direct beam. Surrounded by the two most important men in her life, the brunette allowed herself a moment to absorb the image in front of her.

Angel was looking at pictures his son had drawn on the drive to Sunnydale, as he interacted with the five year old, Cordelia didn’t miss the shine in the vampire’s gaze when he looked back at her. She’d watched as he’d won the right to make Connor his bedtime chocolate drink, stating in a serious tone how he was known the world over for his hot chocolate.

“My mom says that you’re special” Connor piped up, feeling it was the right time to find out if his mom had been telling porkies all along. “And that Sunnypale is a special place where weird thing happen all the time. Is it true or she telling porkies?”

A surprised gaze was sent Cordelia’s way and she found herself struggling to keep the smile from showing. Yes she had told their son about Angel being a vampire, she just hadn’t used that word exactly. Connor was a very curious little boy and if he didn’t get answers one way, he would get them another.

He’d found her junior high year book, read all the little inscriptions she’d and then proceeded to bombard her with questions until he’d been threatened with extra chores.

“You told him?” Angel stared unblinking at the mother of his son, wondering what she had told the five year old exactly.

“Sort of” the brunette smiled sheepishly as she nibbled her lower lip. All kinds of questions were written on the vampire’s expression, she knew he wanted to know about his son’s condition, her pregnancy and most probably why she never told him about the baby. Those were the questions that needed the answers Cordelia didn’t want Connor to hear. “Ask Connor”

“What did Cor, uh, your mom tell you about me, Connor?” Angel wanted to call him son and be called dad in return but figured it was too early, too soon in their relationship for that. He didn’t doubt for one second that it would take the intensity to an unbearable level. Discounting the already heavy atmosphere, the vampire liked referring to Cordelia as his son’s mom, it did more than give a glimmer of hope in the way he might be a real part of their life.

The five year old became solemn and looked at his father with a very serious expression as if to prepare himself for more porkies. “Mom said you were old, really, really old, like ancient old and that you were real special, like me. She said that you were really strong and could lift cars and everything like Superman” he nodded gravely. “And she said that…”

“Connor, I think he gets the picture, baby” at the expression on the vampire’s face, Cordelia figured she should step in and allow him a moment to catch his thoughts. “Have you finished your chocolate? If so then you can go wash your hands, face and brush your teeth” she counted down from five.

“No” Connor tilted his mug, showing the remaining chocolate that barely covered the bottom of the mug, “I got lots left see? Can I stay up late tonight please mom? I’ve been extra, extra good and dad’s here and he hasn’t seen all my pictures yet and he hasn’t seen my room. Please?”

Angel wasn’t sure if he should say Connor could stay up, not wanting to undermine Cordelia’s authority with his son but he wanted to spend as much time as he could with the little boy before he had to go. There was so much to catch up on, too much to catch up on in a few short hours. He knew there was always tomorrow but after five years of not knowing what he had, tomorrow seemed like an eternity away and he didn’t want to wait.

Both father and son regarded Cordelia, equally deep, brown eyes provided double the pleading and begging for Connor to be allowed to stay up later than usual. She frowned under the very heavy weight of the puppy dog expressions from both of them. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to ask Angel to stay, it obviously wasn’t going to work in her favour.

Surely, there was a way to get her son settled while giving them both the time they wanted with each other. Thinking deeply, the brunette came up with a plan that required self-congratulations and she gave herself a mental pat on the back. “Why don’t you go wash up and bring a pillow and quilt off your bed? That way, you can get settled in the living room and stay up late at the same time?”

The secret to being a good parent was learning the art of compromise. This way, Cordelia could get Connor settled enough to make him tired, kept him happy and giving Angel more time with the son he’d never known he had. Killing three birds with one stone had to be a personal record.

“Like camping out only in the living room?” Connor questioned his mom while sending a glance at his father. “Can dad stay and watch a Disney or a monster movie with us?”

Angel once again looked at the mother of his son for the answer; he was starting to feel like he was intruding on their family time, something he didn’t want to do.

“If it’s okay with Angel, why don’t you ask him?” Cordelia encouraged, keeping tight hold on the hope bubbling up in her stomach. She wanted Angel to stay, but not just for the night, they had so many things to talk about that didn’t revolve around the five year old. Hazel orbs brimming with held back hope and a sparkle of happiness locked onto the vampire’s warm brown gaze that shared the emotion.

“Dad, are you gonna camp out? It’ll be loads of fun, I promise to be super good and do what I’m told.” Connor didn’t seem to have any problems in acknowledging his connection to Angel. “Mom can make us a midnight snack”

“No mom can’t” Cordelia stopped that train of thought right there and then with a simple but firm sentence. “What mom is going to do is turn off the hallway light so you can go wash up. While you take your big ears with you, mom is going to have a few minutes alone with Angel”

“No sandwiches?” the five year old asked hopefully, “Not even one little banana sandwich?” he loved those.

“No, you’ve already had your supper, hot chocolate and not to mention half the ice cream I told you to wait for” the brunette gave her son a knowing look and he instantly stopped asking for things he knew he wouldn’t get. Folding her arms over her chest, Cordelia shared a look with Angel who had caught on to Connor’s little game where food was concerned.

“You have a big appetite huh?” the vampire asked with a tiny flicker of a smile, “Where does it all go?”

“You’ve heard of bottomless pits haven’t you?” Cordelia remarked dryly, “There’s a Connor-shaped one right in front of you.” A deep sigh was exhaled and she rolled her shoulders, “Well, I’ll let you guys have a little alone time while I go clean up and turn off the light. Make sure you are a good boy for your dad, Connor, or there’ll be no trip out tomorrow night”

Warning firmly in place and satisfied with the promising nod from her son, the brunette hurried out of the kitchen and her footsteps was heard bounding up the stairs.

Angel returned his gaze to the five year old child waiting for him to say something to break the silence. “So you’re going on a trip out tomorrow night, you going anywhere nice?” he had to start somewhere right? What better way than to find out where his son was going and what he liked to do.

Connor nodded happily, “Mom said we’ll go find a park that has no street lights or lamps so I can play for a little while. Not for long though because Sunnypale is special so mom says. Why are you special? Does the light hurt you like it does me?”

“The sunshine does and it‘s Sunnydale not Sunnypale” the vampire remarked quietly and corrected the small mistake. He wasn’t exactly sure how he felt about his son’s condition when he hardly knew anything about it. It was called photosensitivity apparently and people who had it couldn’t be in direct light of any kind, not even candle light.

What kind of life must his son have?

He was at fault, Angel realized with a crushing wave of lead, because of his vampirism his son couldn’t have the normal life a kid his age should have. Did he have any friends his own age or was Cordelia literally all he had? Was Connor all Cordelia had? The thoughtful questions came thick and fast, causing the vampire’s chest to ache with a dull ache for them both.

If only they had never left Sunnydale all those years ago, if only he hadn’t killed Jenny Calendar and her trust in him, if only he’d begged her to come back that night. There were too many regrets, Angel decided, too many ‘if only’s’ for his liking, now they were back in Sunnydale he could take care of his son and Cordelia if she would give him a chance to make things right.

“I can’t even be in candle light” the way Connor spoke it was as if Angel didn’t have any reason to complain about the sunshine being his only problem. “You never said if you were gonna camp out here. It could be like a sleepover and we could sneak some sweets while mom’s asleep” the child lowered his voice to a conspirational whisper that made the vampire’s smile that little bit bigger.

“I doubt your mom would like that very much, we’d both get told off I think” Angel replied in the same whispered tone. “I don’t know about you but she scares me.”

Connor’s big brown eyes went huge when his dad said that mom scared him, “But mom said you were real special and you were scary when you wanted to be. If she scares you then she must the real scary thing, right?” Cordelia had always told him stories about his dad, making him out to be a real hero that scared people who did very bad things. “Wow!” he’d have to remember not to make mom angry in the future.

Angel wondered what Cordelia had told the little boy exactly, when Connor went to wash up he’d have a chance to get a few questions answered before his son came back. “I’d like very much to camp out” he finally responded to the boy’s original subject. “You can show me all your drawings and your room if you want” he didn’t to lose out on anything else concerning his son.

It would take time to build up a paternal bond with him, the vampire knew, but the one thing he had enough of was time and he wanted that time to be spent on his son and Cordelia. Already, the young woman had become his main focus, in a very different way to Connor of course.

She was just as beautiful as he remembered, if not more so. Being a mother seemed to have softened her hard edges and brought out the exquisite woman he had known five years ago. No-one else had known Cordelia Chase like he did, no-one else could read her like an open book and no-one else had worshipped her like he had.

The switching off of the hallway light announced the brunette’s return and Angel’s anticipating gaze watched the entrance to the kitchen, waiting impatiently for her to come back in. “Connor, go wash up baby while dad and I talk” Cordelia popped a kiss on her son’s head as she ushered the five year old out of the chair.

“Aw mom” he grumbled with a scowl, “My hands are clean, see?”

Even Angel raised his eyebrows at the blatant fib that fell from his son’s mouth and he spoke up. “Show me your palms”

Cordelia forced to keep the threatening smile off her face at the vampire’s sudden paternal attitude towards the little boy, asking to the palms of his hands. Connor shuffled on his feet as he peered towards his mom for assistance in the matter of his cleanliness. “Mom see?” he knew it was dark and his mom wouldn’t be able to see as good as he could.

“Go wash your hands, Connor” Angel nodded at the grateful expression thrown his way from the brunette at his commanding tone. “You haven’t washed them since you were playing outside and I’m not letting you have dirty hands and face, now go.” He watched as the boy’s shoulders slumped in defeat and the big brown eyes grow wide with his sulking. Immediately, the vampire felt horrible for being so commanding with him.

“Give in and he’ll walk all over you” came the advice from someone the vampire figured knew Connor well enough to have earned the right to give advice on the five year olds’ behaviour. “Do as your father tells you baby, or no trip out tomorrow night”

The loud sigh told his parents just what he thought of the blackmail bestowed on him. Petulantly pouting, the five year old stomped off up the stairs and went to do as he was told, leaving Cordelia and Angel alone.


Part 8
Faith sat on the serving counter in the front section of the Magic Shop, watching the by-play between Buffy and Xander. One heavily booted foot was planted squarely on the surface of the counter with her forearm draped lazily across her thigh. Her brown eyes moved back and forth, keeping in time with the dialogue.

Scrubbing his face with his hands, Xander returned his green eyes to the blonde slayer. An unreadable expression pulled his face taut as his brain went over and over the sight of Cordelia Chase exiting the shop with a child in her arms. All this time he’d thought the brunette was dead or worse and she’d been fine.

Buffy paced much like she had done the night before, her blonde hair swishing around her shoulders as she too replayed the scene. Blue eyes showed the distaste she felt towards Giles for not telling her the brunette was back.

“I can’t believe this, I can’t believe her” Xander’s voice rose in volume and sarcasm dripped from his tongue.

“You can’t?” Buffy asked as her eyebrows rose high, “As far as I’m concerned, this is typical Cordelia Chase behaviour.” A disgusted expression quickly appeared on her impish face before disappearing just as quickly. “She probably didn’t want anyone to find she was pregnant”

“Can you blame her?” Faith piped up, “If the way you’re acting is anything to go on, I don’t blame her for skipping town.” They were talking like having a kid at seventeen was something to be ashamed of.

Buffy paused her pacing long enough to give the other slayer a glare that told her to back off and butt out. “This has nothing to do with you Faith, you don’t know anything about it”

Faith bit back a knowing smirk, thanks to her boy Spike she knew a hell of a lot more than they did put together. “Hey, I’m just saying”

“Well don’t ‘just say’ anything” Buffy resumed her pacing before stopping. “What does she want? Does she think she had something to come back for?” her words made it perfectly clear she thought Cordelia had nothing in Sunnydale.

“Cordelia has a kid Buff, maybe she came to see the dad” Xander went with the only reason he could think of.

“If she knows who it is”

Faith once again bit back a smirk, the other slayer certainly wasn’t as people oriented as she made out to be. “Doesn’t sound to me like this chick would sleep about.” If this Cordelia girl had been as selfish and snobby as they made her out to be, then she wouldn’t have been the school slut. Those types of girls kept their knees firmly locked until a guy they deemed good enough came along.

“What would you know?” Buffy turned a cold gaze on the brunette lazing around on the service counter. “Have you ever met Cordelia Chase?”

“Not that I can recall” Faith replied easily, not giving into the urge to rise to the challenge deeply set in the blue orbs. She couldn’t be bothered for a fight after last night, the only thing better than slaying a vampire was screwing him until he begged for mercy. A wicked grin flashed across her red lips at the memory of breaking Spike.

“So again I ask what would you know?”

“I know people B” the brunette shrugged as she straightened her body, swinging her strong legs down until she was fully facing the other girl. “I know girls like her. They don’t screw their way from one end of town to the other. It takes a platinum card and a BMW to get into their good books never mind their panties”

Not hearing the truth behind the words, Buffy twisted them around. “As the saying goes, it takes one to know one.” The insult meant to get the other slayer to leave didn’t have the desired effect as Faith merely grinned back at her.

“You were just like her before you got your calling” the brunette had learned a lot about her fellow slayer from Spike, he’d divulged every detail he’d learned during the course of plotting to kill her. “Perky blonde cheerleader with a penchant for football players. How many did you bag?”

“Buffy isn’t the one in question here” Xander stopped the catfight before his best friend had a chance to retaliate. “Cordelia and her kid is”

“And here I thought it was about how she felt about the big return” Faith commented dryly.

“Is there a reason you’re here?” the young man demanded hotly when he’d had enough of her smart ass remarks.

“Waiting on my guy”

“Why don’t you go and wait on your ‘vamp’ somewhere else?” Buffy snapped when Faith’s voice got too much for her to handle. She was so sick and tired of the other slayer always being there, always challenging everything she said and did. A slayer and a vampire, she thought with a cringe, not thinking about the similarities with Angel and herself.

Angel was different, he had a soul and that made him more human than vampire.

“No can do B, Billy Boy will be here in a few short minutes” Faith offered the blonde a mock apologetic grimace. She didn’t care what they thought of Spike and her, her private business was just that. Her private business.

“Then go wait away from us”

“Kinda comfy here but cheers for the suggestion”

Buffy swallowed back the lump of annoyance she felt at the way Faith blatantly ignored her statement to leave Xander and her alone to deal with the situation. After counting backward from ten, the blonde took a leaf out of the brunette’s book and ignored her in return. “Giles and especially Willow should have the decency to tell us”

Xander gave her a look that was full of sarcasm “Ya think?”

“This isn’t my fault Xander” the blonde defended against the acidic tone he was using on her. “I thought she was dead along with the rest of you”

Taking a deep, none-calming breath the young man once again rubbed his face before threading his fingers through his dark, floppy hair. Glancing at his friend apologetically, Xander offered a reconciling smile. “Sorry, it’s just a shock. I don’t mean to take it out on you”

Buffy nodded, “I know, we’re all shocked. She was the last person on Earth I expected to walk out of here last night” apart from Angel that is she silently added. After the first couple of hours of his not coming back, she’d gone to the mansion where he’d set up home.

Not bothering to knock, Buffy had walked straight inside expecting him to be there and filled with anger at the brunette he’d thought he’d killed. Not seeing any signs of Angel in the large foyer, she had explored upstairs and then out in the overgrown court yard. He wasn’t anywhere inside and so she had left, wondering where he’d gone to.

She had so many things to say to Cordelia Chase, so many home truths she wanted to tell the brunette and she was going to start those home truths with how Buffy had figured Angelus had killed her. When Angel had quietly said he might have murdered the other girl, she hadn’t disregarded the possibility only pushed the thought away.

Angel had remembered all of his actions as Angelus apart from the murdering of Cordelia, therefore still not giving them closure on her fate. At the thought of the soulless vampire, Buffy shuddered and once again remembered why she couldn’t be with Angel.

She couldn’t even bring herself to kiss him after he’d come back from hell fully soulled. What if she caused him another moment of perfect happiness? Her worst nightmare was having to kill him again.

Breaking out of the grim thoughts, Buffy remembered this wasn’t about her relationship with the dark haired vampire, it was about Cordelia Chase and the reason she had to come back. “Look” the blonde stated in a final tone, “The only we’re going to find out what and why she’s back is if we ask her”

“Ya think?” Xander sarcastically asked then sent another apologetic smile in her direction. “According to Willow, she’s working for Giles”

Faith quietly coughed back her laughter as Buffy’s expression went into cool shock before turning thunderous. “Giles offered her a job” was quiet, disbelieving statement, “Why am I not surprised she’s using the kid as a sympathy vote? That seems exactly like something she would do”

Xander resisted the urge to say ‘Ya think?’ again, figuring it would only serve to annoy her more than she already was and annoying the slayer wasn’t something he wanted to do. His legs were useful. “I say we wait for Cordelia to show up here then we pounce”

“What if she brings her kid?” Faith asked, she understood their need for answers from the chick but that didn’t mean they had to cause a riot around the boy.

“What does that have to do with anything?” Xander stared at the slayer who’d taken his virginity four years ago and cringed. God knows what had possessed him, but then again thinking back on it now he hadn’t really been given a choice.

“No” Buffy had to agree with Faith’s point, “I hate to say this but I agree with Faith. It’s Cordelia we’re angry at not the kid” the more she thought about the young mother the more she felt pitied the kid. “She’d get defensive and not tell us what we want to know”

“Wow” Xander stated with an impressed nod of his head, “What d’ya know? Faith hasn’t screwed all her brains out after all”

“Naw, that was you” Faith let his insult flow over head easily. She was the first one to admit she was promiscuous, well she had been before hooking up with Spike. That guy could hold his own, definitely a keeper for a little while anyway. Besides, she got a kick out of being with the vampire who’d bagged two of her predecessors.

As the subject of the little boy got brought to the forefront of the conversation, their thought simultaneously adjusted to the change in topic. No matter how hard she tried, Buffy just couldn’t see Cordelia as a mother. The brunette had probably hired help to do the dirty work while she sat back and watched.

“I wonder who got her pregnant” Xander mused loudly, “It sure as hell wasn’t me” that was one question he wanted the answer too. It wasn’t him, that was for sure, Oz wouldn’t have cheated on Willow, that left the rest of the male population at Sunnydale high.

Before Buffy had a chance to say anything, the front door was energetically booted open allowing Spike to rush out of the harmful sunshine and into the safety of being indoors. The blonde vampire hurled the steaming blanket off of his head, dusted down his denim jacket and immediately set his gaze on the brunette slayer still perched on the surface of the counter.

His sapphire blue gaze sparkled with mirth when Faith glanced towards Buffy and Xander, silently communicating with Spike on the topic of conversation that his arrival had just interrupted. “No little bit today yet?” the vampire asked, inwardly telling himself he wasn’t taken with the Son of Peaches.

“Not yet Billy” Faith sent a wink his way, “Daylight” Cordelia and Connor wouldn’t be arriving until the sun had gone down. From what Spike told her, the kid was photosensitive and couldn’t be in any form of direct light. Not that it mattered if the kid was happy and well looked after.

Even though she personally couldn’t wait until she saw Angel’s kid and the girl who had been talked about none stop all day, it was highly doubtful Buffy and Xander would be thrilled

Spike nodded, remembering the little boy’s inability to be in any amount of light. “Peaches still M.I.A? Didn‘t think he had it in him myself” It didn’t take a genius to figure out where his grandsire had disappeared off to last night and, using his knowledge to his advantage, the blonde vampire made the comment about the missing vampire.

Buffy may not be a genius but she wasn’t a total idiot either, she knew when Spike had information she didn’t. The blonde’s cool blue gaze landed on the vampire, searching his eyes for what it was he meant by the question regarding Angel. “Spike”

The blonde vampire didn’t miss the underlying warning in Buffy’s tone as she glared at him, demanding why he mentioned Angel. “What?” Innocence coated his tongue as he sidled over to Faith and slung his arm around her shoulders much to the disgust of both Xander and the other slayer.

“Problem?” Faith asked with a slightly raised eyebrow, shifting herself along the bench until she firmly against Spike.

Xander simply shot her a look which said it all before he returned his full attention to Buffy who was simultaneously glaring at the blonde vampire and pretending not to see the affectionate embrace between the two. “Do you know where Angel is?”

“Not a clue” Spike answered with a shrug, exchanging a smirk with Faith when she elbowed him in the stomach. Hard. “I love it when you get rough”

“Can you two just ‘not’ do that?” Buffy snapped when the other slayer all too quickly began to respond towards the vampire’s sexual advances. “If you want to continue in your… Whatever it is you have, then go do it somewhere else”

“What she said” Xander pointed to the blonde slayer.

“What’s your deal?” Most of the time, Faith let their opinions on her being with Spike wash over head, but on the odd occasion their constant judging got on her nerves. Like now, the disgust written on both Buffy and Xander’s face grated on her nerves.

Buffy’s expression said it all as she gave a sound of disapproval before glancing away. Spike was a vampire, a killer, a monster; she didn’t know how Faith could be with someone they were meant to kill. Once again ignoring the similarities between Faith and herself.

“Like you’ve never done the deed with a vamp B, why is it okay for you and not me?” Faith questioned as her face expressed the deep annoyance she felt.

“Angel and I are nobody’s business but mine and his” Buffy’s cool voice matched the iciness in the blue gaze as she glared at the brunette.

“It is when he goes psycho” Xander muttered, remembering that time of his life all to well. The murder of Jenny Calendar, Acathla and the possible killing of Cordelia, all of that only fuelled his hatred for the dark haired vampire. As far as he was concerned, those acts were unforgivable.

“Angel and I are not the subject here” the blonde snapped, outright refusing to acknowledge the fact Faith had a point. It was different, Angel was different. Turning back towards Spike, Buffy pinned him with another glare. “Do you know where Angel is?”

“I’m not his bloody keeper Slayer” the vampire retorted, it would give much more amusement when Angel told her himself about where he’d been and why he was there. Shrugging his shoulders, he flickered his eyes to meet the brunette’s and winked at her.

“He wasn’t at the mansion last night” the blonde slayer told nobody in particular. She hadn’t bothered with knocking and just gone straight in just like many other times before. After searching the whole of the ground floor with no success in finding Angel, she’d gone upstairs and still got no success.

Xander shrugged unconcerned with the fact Angel seemed to be missing, “Maybe he decided to take off for parts unknown” he could hope. There were no words to say how happy he would be if the vampire had left Sunnydale, he wished for it to happen every nigh since meeting him.

Buffy graced him with an unimpressed expression before shaking her head, sending strands of blonde hair flying. “No” she denied, “Angel wouldn’t leave” he wouldn’t leave me. He loves me. Now wasn’t the time to be getting paranoid over her relationship, now was the time for the discussion of more important things. “Anyway” she looked towards Xander, “Angel and I isn’t the subject, Cordelia is”

*~*~*~*

Angel peered down at the tiny gloved hand curled in his, a small smile flickered across his lips when Connor glanced up at him and treated him to one of his cheeky grins. When he had said to Cordelia that last night had been the best night of his existence, he’d lied.

Tonight was.

Connor was staying with him at the mansion tonight, Cordelia was letting the little boy spend the night and he couldn’t wait. As much as Angel was looking forward to having his son stay with him, he was scared to death. He didn’t know anything about being a father or how to keep a childe five years old occupied.

He’d never been so nervous in his entire life.

“Are you sure you don’t mind?” Angel wanted to be sure that Cordelia was sure.

Smiling warmly at the vampire and then her son, the brunette nodded sending the curls playfully bouncing around her shoulders and face, making Angel want to toy with the silky soft strands. “I’m sure” she told him firmly, “It’s just, well, this is the first time I won’t be with him.” It was horrible, though she knew Connor wasn’t being left with a stranger, it did nothing to relieve the ache building up in her chest.

The vampire trailed a finger over the lower forming into a sad pout, “Then your overdue for some time to yourself. If you can call work time to yourself.” He quickly came to realise that this was the eqivalent of parents taking their child to the their very first school day.

Angel had to smile at that thought and placed his hand on her shoulder comfortingly. Cordelia knew her son would be safer with him than anywhere else but still, she wasn’t going to be there to see for herself. The vampire once again felt proud of the mother Connor had.

Sending a sly glance down to her son, Cordelia grinned at him “It would be good to get away from the thorn in my side for a while”

Connor stuck his tongue at her, “You love me really” his mom couldn’t fool him like that. She gave him sweets and kept his pictures on her bedroom walls and made him cookies every Sunday so she must love him.

Angel never ceased to be amazed at how much of Cordelia was in his son, even the habit of having the last word. Shaking his head at their little dialogue the vampire stored it away as a nice memory. Cupping her face in his large palm, smoothing the roughened skin of his thumb over the apple of her cheek. “We’ll be fine, Connor will be fine”

“I know. I know” Cordelia blew out a puff of air, “It’s just this the only time…”

“You’ve been without your son” Angel finished with an understanding smile, “You’ll miss him” will you miss me? “Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of him”

The young mother raised her eyebrows as a look of trepidation swept across her face, a slow smirk lifted the corners of her glossy mouth “Don’t you mean Connor will take good care of you?”

“Probably” the vampire dryly responded, “Now go or you’ll be late for your first day”

“I don’t want to go” Cordelia twirled her fingers together, this would be the first time she had left her son since he’d been born. It was an awful feeling, like she was abandoning him or something and she didn’t like it.

Connor’s face curled up sadly when he realised his mom was about to leave him, he had thought he would be going with her. “Mom, you don’t have to go to work” he stated, his lower lip could be seen wobbling under the safety of his mask. “You always tell me that I don’t have to do what people tell me to do. You don’t either, does she dad?”

Both Cordelia and Angel inwardly groaned at the sound of tears in the little boy’s voice. Kneeling down to be eye level with her son, the brunette threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.

“It’s only for a few hours baby and then I’m coming home” she told him thickly. She didn’t want to go, she wanted to be with Angel and Connor some more. “You and your dad will have lots of fun and you won’t even miss me”

“That’s not true” Angel mumbled loud enough for her to hear, “I will.” At the brightly beaming hazel that was suddenly turned his way, he knew he’d said the right thing for once in his life.

Releasing Connor from the death grip she had him, the brunette stood to look seriously at the vampire. “No direct light, not even candle light” Cordelia went through everything for the fourth time that day. “Don’t give in to him, he will walk all over you and don’t let him see or play with any sharp, pointy things”

“I wouldn’t…” Angel went to deny he would allow his five year old son to play with any swords or weapons he had in the mansion. Deciding it would be better for both Cordelia’s and his sanity if he were to cut her words off, the vampire turned his attention to Connor. “Why don’t you get your toys out of the car?”

“Okay” a saddened Connor mumbled with a pout, he didn’t want his mom to go. She should be staying with dad and him. The little boy opened the back door and pulled out a bad carrying toys, his ball, colouring books and crayons. Peering inside, the little boy glanced up at his mother with a frown. “When am I allowed pens?”

“When you realize walls are not to be drawn on” Cordelia replied immediately as a look of horror crossed her face. All she had done was take a ten minute bath, if that, and went downstairs to find matchstick men and women on the skirting boards with trees and houses on the hallway walls.

Off Angel’s quizzical expression, she answered “Don’t ask please”

Shuffling his feet on the floor, Connor shrugged “Kelly said she did it all the time and she didn’t get told off”

“That was Kelly, not you” the brunette could see where this was going straight away. “And don’t think I haven’t forgotten about that other little trick you and Kelly pulled either”

Once again, Angel felt left out. Cordelia had all these memories of things his son had gotten up to and, though she made it sound like it hadn’t been fun, he knew she treasured those memories. At the mortification that was slowly replacing the sadness on her face, the vampire began to rethink the fun part. “What happened?”

Hiding her face in her hands, Cordelia groaned loudly and Connor defended himself to the very best of his five year old ability. “It was Kelly’s fault, she made do it” his big brown eyes glanced up at his father, begging to be believed. “Really dad, I swear it wasn’t my fault”

Looking from his son to the brunette, Angel raised his eyebrows “Let me guess, don’t ask?” the corners of his mouth quirked up in an amused smirk. He was beginning to get a good idea of just what his son was capable of doing.

“Please don’t” Cordelia mock begged, knowing she would tell him later about poor Snowy the white terrier who had miraculously turned the same shade as Kelly’s pink Barbie hair dye. Washing her hands of the mortifying event, she glanced at her watch and sighed “Time to go”

“No mom!” Connor latched onto her arm, tugging on the sleeve of her jacket. “Dad wants you to stay, don’t you?” he turned big brown eyes towards the vampire.

Kneeling down to look her son in the eyes again, Cordelia cupped his covered face in her hands, speaking gently. “Baby, I won’t be gone long I promise” she soothed the upset five year old, “I bet if you were real good for your father, he might bring you to see me soon.”

Her warm smile and softly spoken words seemed to pacify Connor for now. Nodding at his mother, the little boy once again took hold of his father’s hand and glanced up at him with the biggest brown eyes he had ever seen. “Can we go see mom at work? I promise to be real good and do what I’m told and everything”

Angel now knew what was meant by the kicked puppy look, caving under the highly effective brown eyes, the vampire decided Connor was right. He didn’t want her to go but he also wanted to spend a few hours alone with Connor. That was before he surprised Cordelia by stopping by the Magic Shop later.

“I was planning on it anyway” Angel confessed, knowing he’d said the right thing again when the brunette’s smile became contagious and he found himself smiling back at her. It was a good feeling.

“Promise we can go see mom?” the five year old pleaded as he tugged on the sleeve of Angel’s leather jacket. “Promise?”

“Cross my heart” the vampire indulged.

“Alright! I can see the eyeballs in the jar again” Connor stated excitedly while his mother shuddered. “Have you seen the eyeballs in the jar dad? Are they really for witches and wizards and warlocks? Or has mom been telling porkies again?”

Smiling at the childish excitement of his son, Angel shook his head “I think your mom has been telling porkies”

“I knew there was no such thing as wizards and witches and warlocks” he glared his mother disapprovingly and shook his head.

“I get off at 10 pm I think Giles said on the phone, so if you stop by around 9?” Cordelia suggested. She could live with being away from her son, and Angel, for a few hours; it wasn’t another five years.

“Don’t even think it” Angel’s voice was gruff as though he knew what she was thinking. “You’re not leaving again, you have no reason to run” I’d find you this time. Irrational panic began to bubble up as he thought she could so easily disappear just like last time. Suddenly, letting her go to work didn’t seem like such a good idea. “Giles would understand if something came up”

She shook her head, denying that she would run off again. “I wouldn’t, couldn’t” she stressed “Leave you.” Cordelia forced her wobbling lips into a thin, tight line and blinked back tears glazing her eyes. “I better get going” she bit her tongue, “You have everything? The Magic Shop phone number?”

Angel nodded.

“My cell phone?”

Again, he nodded.

“The hospital?”

He looked at her.

“Fire department?”

His expression went blank.

Kneeling down in front of her too quiet son, Cordelia forced him not to move away from the big smooch she placed on his covered cheek. “Aw mom, quit it” Connor grouched as he ducked and tried to hide behind Angel in an effort to get away from the kisses.

When she stood again, Angel ignored the sound his son made as he brushed his lips over Cordelia’s, taking a second to flick his tongue out for a quick taste. “Vanilla” he breathlessly murmured against her hot mouth. That little teasing taste would have to last until Connor was asleep before he got more. “Go”

“Okay” sending a firm, parental glare down at the little boy scowling up at his dad, Cordelia waited until she got his attention. “You better be good for your father Connor, or else there will be no park time after work. You” she directed at Angel. “Do not give in to him and if he does something you told him not to do then…”

Leaning forward to whisper in the vampire’s ear so Connor didn’t hear. “Don’t talk to him for at least an hour, make him think he hurt your feelings.” Being ignored was the one punishment that seemed to truly work on the little boy, he hated it if he thought he’d made his mom cry.

“Got it” Angel knew better than to question the advice, “I’ll stop by at 9, you want anything bringing? Coffee or something to eat?” He was stalling and they both knew it.

“Angel, stop it” Cordelia shook her head, “I’ll see you two at 9, until then be good”

Connor was treated to one last hug before she got in the car and, after a few tries, drove away leaving him alone with his dad. Shuffling his trainers against the small loose stones on the ground, the little boy suddenly was for once in his life lost for words.

Peering down at the five year old, Angel felt a little uncomfortable with this. Cordelia was literally trusting him with her life and her son, after everything she knew he’d done she still openly trusted him. He wouldn’t let her down.

Picking up the large overnight bag packed with things his son would need, Angel slung it easily over his shoulder and held out his hand for Connor to take. “You ready son?” he wanted to say that word over and over again.

Glancing precariously around the darkened street, he finally noticed there were no other houses around like there were in his street. “Where’s your house?” he asked curiously as he took the vampire’s hand.

Angel smirked and grimaced at the thought of the mansion, he knew the little boy would love everything about it; from the mythological gargoyle statue on the high tower to the large dark courtyard. “It’s way, way over here” he replied cryptically, enhancing the childish curiosity.

“What’s it like? Is it like my house?”

“No” Angel stole a glance at the frustration on his son’s face when he gave nothing away about where he lived.

Connor scowled up at his dad, “Are you really special like mom says? You don’t look very special but mom says you’re real strong and can do anything you want too.” The little boy wondered if he should say what else his mom told him about his father.

“She says that when you get real mad at bad people you go… Grrr” his face and free hand scrunched up, implicating a vampire.

“Why don’t we go inside and you can tell exactly what your mom told you about me” Angel stated, feeling humoured by the way Cordelia had explained the fact he was a vampire. In a way he glad she had but in a way he didn’t want his boy to have any knowledge or part of that side of him.

Connor soon became distracted as the large structure of the mansion was revealed to him; his eyes went huge and were instantly drawn to the gargoyle statue on the tower way above the entrance. No way did his dad live here, it was even better than the castle in Labyrinth, his favourite movie; there was even a goblin.

“Cool” he breathed as he stared in wide-eyed awe at the building his dad was taking him too, “This your house?”

“You like it?” Angel questioned, most adults were intimidated by it’s large size and the area where it was. Yet here was a five year old who seemed to think it was the best thing he’d seen in a long time.

“Yeah I do! This is better than the castle beyond the goblin city” Connor told him, nodding frantically. “If it’s okay with mom and I’m real good tonight, can I come back tomorrow please dad? Please?”

For the first time in a long while, the vampire actually laughed out loud at his son’s open begging. “You can come here whenever you want son, this is your home now too” then a thought occurred to him and he frowned. “Connor, I don’t have a TV or a video”

“That’s okay I guess” the five year old contemplated a night without his bedtime movie. “We can just have extra playtime before we go see mom. Can you play soccer? She can’t kick very good and sometimes she skids on the grass”

“I think I can play soccer” Angel told him with a warm smile, “C’mon son, let’s get inside where you can take your cloak off.”

“Alright!”

Cordelia sat in her car outside the Magic Shop, gathering her courage to get out and go inside. Through the window, she could see Buffy standing next to Willow, the blonde’s arms were folded over her chest and her face was expressionless. The red head was chewing on her lower lip and attention was fixated at her feet by the looks of things.

She knew she couldn’t put off going inside any longer, it wouldn’t be fair on either Willow or Giles if they were left to clear up the mess she was sure she had created. Squaring her shoulders and smoothing down her clothes, Cordelia got out of her car, closed the door and locked up.

Her heels click-clacked slowly off the concrete pavement as she unsurely approached the door. Her hands pushed strands of chocolate curls behind her ears and the chant of having nothing to apologise for was repeated over and over.

Every occupant of the Magic Shop was immediately drawn to her as the brunette closed the door behind her with a soft click. Her breath was stuck in her throat as she prepared to receive whatever was coming to her.

Intense pressure hung in the atmosphere like a lead cloud, suffocating everyone in there as they all watched brunette enter the shop. “Let’s have it then” Cordelia stated as she turned to face the people she’d left behind, not feeling surprised when the first person to approach her was Buffy.

Glancing around the shop, her gaze finally landed on Spike who had a brunette draped around him. The blonde vampire greeted her with a knowing smirk that was matched by the smirk from the strange brunette.

Then Cordelia’s gaze landed on her ex high school sweetheart, Xander Harris, and she waited for him to be the one too start the interrogation but he didn’t.

After a few seconds of staring emotionlessly at her, his green eyes full of nothing but resentment and disrespect. Xander simply shot her a disgusted expression before standing up from his chair so fast, the legs scraped along the floor as he left for the back room.

“I’ll just…” Willow pointed after the young man and was suddenly hot on his heels. That was one less person for her to worry about just yet.

Buffy pinned the brunette with an ice cold blue gaze, the blonde slayer narrowed her eyes and opened her mouth. “I want you to explain what the hell it is you’re doing back here” her voice was low, her face was bordering on thunderous while her eyes gave nothing away.

Faith and Spike waited for the brunette to respond, both hoping she wouldn’t give in and become another one of her loyal disciples.

“I fail to see why it’s any of your business what I’m doing back” Cordelia’s expression and gaze was as cool as the one staring back at her. She refused to give Buffy what she clearly wanted, she would not give the private details of her life up until she, and Angel, were ready.

“Excuse me if I think it is” Buffy’s never changed from the low, warning tone. “It is when you just pack off and leave without any explanation then turn up out of the blue”

The brunette took a step back when the slayer moved a little closer, Faith tensed and moved into a position that would allow her to prevent anything from happening. Spike caught the spark in his girl’s brown eyes, followed the direction of her gaze and he too tensed.

Buffy was impulsive when it came to losing her temper and often acted before thinking of the consequences her actions would lead too. Faith and Spike didn’t want a fight to happen for a lot of reasons, the main one being when Angel found out Cordelia had been on the receiving end of the slayer’s temper tantrum, he wouldn’t be all that happy.

Cordelia thought back to the words she’d said to Angel the night before, “I can’t apologise for something I’m not sorry for” and left things at that. Her hazel orbs travelled to the only person in the room she remotely trusted right then. “Is Giles here? He told me he needed to go too the cash and carry for a few things”

Spike acknowledged the immediate trust and gave a slight nod in return. “Shouldn’t be long Cheerleader” he resisted the urge to smirk at the blonde slayer who was glaring at him for daring to interrupt. “No little bit tonight?”

The brunette’s demeanour changed in an instant at the thought of Connor. “Not tonight” Cordelia beamed at the vampire, thanking him for asking after her son and for taking the heat off her. “He’s with his dad who’ll be bringing him here in a few hours”

“Ahh” Spike nodded, “A bit of man-to-ponce bonding” He wished he was there to see it. He only imagine Angelus tucking the little mite in and reading bedtime stories. He wasn’t sure what was scarier, the fact that it was happening or the fact he could see it.

Luckily for Cordelia, Buffy didn’t pick up on Spike’s reference to who Connor’s father was.

Her son wasn’t here and that meant Buffy could get what she wanted without having to sugar coat things for the sake of a kid. “I don’t know how you dare” all attention was back on her and what else would be said. “Thinking you can just walk back into my town like nothing happened? One word. No”

Blinking at the girl in front of her, Cordelia wasn’t quite sure but she could have sworn that Buffy had indirectly told her what she could and couldn’t do. “I’m sorry, I didn’t think this ‘town’ had your name on it Buffy.” The brunette once again raised an elegant eyebrow, “I think I can do whatever I want”

“You owe an explanation and you’re going to give one”

“I’m not ‘going’ to do anything unless I want too and I don’t want to give an explanation” the brunette retorted. “I don’t owe anything. I made the decision that was best for my son, for that I don’t have anything to apologise for”

“Right” acid dripped from Buffy’s tongue as the subject of the kid came up, “Your son”

Spike and Faith heard the underlying insult in the way the blonde spoke about Cordelia’s son, both taking mental notes of anything that would be said. No doubt, Buffy would go straight to Angel with her version of events while leaving out everything else.

Instantly, the young mother’s protective instincts towards Connor caused Cordelia to tense and her stare turned lethal as she glared at the slayer in front of her. “Yes. My son. Got anything to say?”

“Lots of things actually, like how I know you left to stop people finding out your secret. I always knew you would get yourself knocked up but I honestly thought you had the decency to wait until after high school” Buffy used every bit of ammunition she could against the other girl, wanting her to leave.

With the height advantage she had over the slayer, Cordelia stared harshly down at Buffy as a cold smirk raised the corners of her mouth. “You can say whatever the hell you want about me, but don’t you dare bring my son into this. He has nothing whatsoever to do with you”

“I couldn’t be happier about that fact, he’s your responsibility. You made your bed and you can lie in it”

“Stay away from my son Buffy, that’s the only warning I’ll give you”

Buffy choked back a cold laugh, “You’re warning me? Let me tell you something you little…”

Having heard his slayer raise her voice, Giles chose that moment to walk in and put a stop to anything else before it started. When he heard the confrontation between the two young women, he had hoped they would be able to act like mature adults not like the rivals they had been in school.

His hopes were shot down when he heard Buffy taunt Cordelia about promiscuous behaviour in school.

Giles chose the moment when Buffy raised her voice to walk in and effectively cut off her furious retort. “Ah Cordelia” he acted as though he hadn’t heard a thing, “You’re here, is young Connor with you?”

Her gaze slowly left Buffy’s to rest on the Englishman kind enough to give her a job. “Not yet, he’s with his father for a while” Cordelia replied, still feeling the icy gaze boring into her she turned back round. “Now if you’ll pardon me, I have a job to do”

Letting the brunette past, Buffy accidentally-on-purpose brushed her shoulder against Cordelia’s and smirked when the other girl glared at her. “Real mature” it was annoying when that happened, really annoying. Her heels clacked against the floor as she moved round the serving counter under the curious and amused gaze of the brunette draped over Spike.

“I received a delivery of new books on the occult” Giles sent Buffy a stern expression, shutting her up before she started. “If you could mind the till while I sort them out, I would be very grateful”

“Not a problem” Cordelia gave him a thankful smile, “I’ve had experience with minding a shop desk before. Before I gave birth to my son, I worked in a…”

“Burger shop?” Buffy sniped as she proceeded to stand where she could see the brunette’s every move. “After all, you never graduated so you couldn’t go to college”

“Buffy” Giles reprimanded with another stern glare, he for one was interested on how Cordelia had managed at such a young age in providing for herself and son. “Do go on”

“It’s not important” the brunette waved it away with a flourish of her hand.

“You supported your kid and yourself” Faith spoke to Cordelia for the first time, her voice was hesitant, unsure of the reaction she would get. “You took care of yourself, kudos”

Cordelia paused, not sure how to take the other brunette. From her physical appearance, she looked hardened, like life hadn’t been so easy for her and she could relate in a sense. The full mouth was a deep red and curled up in a half smirk half smile, her eyes were a deep brown and her hair was thick with natural waves.

Beside the brunette, Spike was watching her through a studious deep blue gaze, as though he were sizing her up and waiting for her to say something about the way Faith was draped around him. However, Cordelia relaxed when the vampire introduced her to the brunette with an ease only he could carry off.

“Slayer, Cheerleader” Spike stated, “Cheerleader, Slayer”

Cordelia frowned at both his introduction and the way he introduced the brunette as a slayer. Glancing at Buffy, she saw a gleam of annoyance within her blue eyes and wondered if Spike just used that as a way to taunt her. “Slayer?”

Faith nodded with a full on smirk, “Yup, I got the call when Kendra kicked it”

“Oh” Cordelia nodded, still not understanding it yet.

Spike couldn’t help the inward delight he felt when Drusilla had taken down her first slayer, before he could hide the shine Faith walloped him across the back of his head. “Oy, what the bleedin hell did you do that for?” he rubbed the sting from his skull with his palm and scowled again.

“Felt like it” Faith shrugged, “Faith” she nodded at the new girl.

“Cordelia, or Cordy” Cordelia replied as she relaxed a bit more, “Whichever you prefer. Are you and Spike…” she didn’t know how to put it.

The brunette slayer nodded, “Billy Boy’s my currant slave, aren’t ya?”

Willow cleared her throat and interrupted their conversation warily. When she gained the young mother’s attention, the red head smiled meekly when Cordelia looked at her. “Xander wants to talk”

*~*~*~*

Xander had his back to the small flight of stairs, not turning around to greet the young woman when he heard her footsteps approach him. His chin rested on his entwined fingers and his green eyes portrayed the extreme hurt he felt at her sudden departure all those years ago.

The tension that had begun the moment Cordelia walked into the Magic Shop seemed to increase ten fold as the young man spoke without looking at her. His shoulders were straight and square, his back was stiff and she could almost see the anger emanating from him.

“Well?” his voice made her jump a little.

“What do you expect me to say Xander? That I’m sorry for doing what was best? I’m not going to do that”

Finally looking at her, Xander’s gaze showed nothing except cold hurt that pierced her more than anger ever would. “I expect something Cordelia, we all went through hell trying to find out what happened to you. We didn’t know if you were alive, dead or worse. Turned into a vampire that we would have to kill”

“I did what I had to do” Cordelia felt the sting as he pointed out something she never thought of. Xander Harris had always been one of the few people could make her see things she either didn’t want to or hadn’t thought of.

Apart from Angelus, he was the first one she’d had real feelings for and she couldn’t deny him some form of explanation.

“Give me something Cordy” the old nickname came easy for him as he pleaded with her to give him some answers. “Out of anyone here, I deserve something”

It was truth, she knew this but she just wasn’t ready to give everything yet. It was too soon and too hard. “I can’t give you everything, but I can tell you I left because it was necessary”

“Why? What was so bad that you ran away from people who would have helped?”

Sitting down in a chair opposite him, Cordelia prepared to give that at the very least. With a deep intake of breath she began to twist the truth into something that would both give him the answers he deserved and keep her secrets. “When I found out that I was pregnant with Connor…”

Xander’s gaze flinched when he was once again reminded that she had possibly cheated on him. “Do you know who the father is?”

“Yes” there was a definite coldness to her voice and he immediately berated himself for the way his question had sounded to her.

“I didn’t mean…”

Cordelia shook her head, “Yes Xander, you did mean it like that and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t try to sneak out of it.” She simply smiled at the contrite expression on his face as he silently apologized for a comment he meant. “I know who the father is, Connor’s with him tonight. Giving me a night off”

“Anyway,” she carried on “The first thing I was scared of was how people would see me” she explained with a nod at him, showing how right that statement was. “The second thing was Angelus” forgiveness was asked for as she twisted the truth. “With him gunning for Buffy, I thought if he found out I was pregnant he would…”

“Go through you and your baby to get too Buffy” Xander let out a breath as comprehension dawned on him. He’d never thought of that, but then how could he? None of them knew she had been pregnant. “I get that but what I don’t understand is why you didn’t tell anyone”

“That’s the part I can’t tell you” Cordelia said quietly as she fidgeted with the table top.

“Why?”

“Because I’m not ready, if you try to force me into doing something you’ll get nothing.” Sensing they were about done in their short but emotion discussion, Cordelia nodded and stood up with the intent to leave when he stopped her.

“For what it’s worth” Xander cleared his throat and raised his green gaze to her face, the hurt receding but no forgiveness shone in the softened orbs. “I’m glad you’re okay”

He got a silent nod before she made her way back to the front of the shop.

*~*~*~*

Since the mansion didn’t have many lights, it was safe for Connor to remove all of his protective clothing. A small light flickered from an old oil lamp placed safely on the high mantle above the well-lit fire. The five year old was sitting on the floor a few feet away from the line of both the firelight and the oil lamp.

With no cloak and facial mask to protect his features, Angel could once again admire his son without obstruction. He felt so damn proud of how Cordelia had raised him, he was so proud of Connor, his baby boy. He choked back a laugh when his vision went a little blurry and only just managed to blink back the tears before his son noticed them.

Angel had been right when he thought that this would be the best night of his existence. He and Connor had played soccer, drawn pictures and he’d gotten stories of his growing up out of his son. Not to mention the vampire had been put to the test in a way he’d never been tested before.

Having pestered Angel about whether or not he really was as strong as his mom said, the vampire had finally given in and indulged his son. He’d done 50 push-ups, lifted all the heaviest objects he could find and worked out by using his son as a weight.

The vampire had to bite back his laughter at Connor’s awed expression and his muttered “Aw, mom was right. She’s always right”

Now, Angel was watching his son quietly colour in the pictures he’d drawn. A quick glance at the antique grandfather clock he’d recently bought told him it was almost time to take Connor to see Cordelia at the Magic Shop. Thinking about it now, he wasn’t sure him turning up with his son would be the right thing to do, it would only serve to bring up questions he knew Cordelia wasn’t ready for.

Shaking his head at the realization that he didn’t care what the others thought, he wasn’t ashamed to say he had child with her, if anything he wanted them to know. He wanted everyone to know that the amazing little boy in front of him was his son, his and Cordelia’s. That young woman had given him more than he’d ever thought possible and he wanted everyone to know it.

“Son” Angel would never get tired of saying that, “You ready to go see mom now?”

Connor glanced up at him, nodding through his yawn and a quick arm stretch. His dad had more energy than his mom. “Yeah okay, are you still gonna ask her if I can stay overnight?”

“I was gonna ask her if she wanted to stay overnight, we could camp out again if you wanted too”

“You and me and mom?”

“You and me and mom” Angel confirmed then beamed when Connor’s smile grew into that same boyishly charming one from earlier. This time, when his chest began to ache it wasn’t caused by the fact of not being have what he wanted, but was caused by the fact of knowing he did.

The five year olds’ smile began to fade as he contemplated something he knew his mom would think about. He wasn’t stupid where his condition was concerned, his mom had told him enough so he could keep himself safe too. “What about the light? It hurts me”

Quicker than Connor could see, Angel had the little boy engulfed and crushed to his chest. “It won’t hurt you son, I’ll take good care of you just like mom does, I promise.” Is this what Cordelia felt like every time she heard him say the light hurts him? “You’re my son, I love you”

“Really? Like a real dad?” The hope that shone out of his son’s big brown eyes heightened to childish happiness when his dad nodded that he did indeed love him like a real dad.

“Like a real dad” Pulling away from Connor when he had once again blinked back the sharp sting of tears, Angel ruffled his son’s hair and smiled when his hand was slapped away.

“Aw dad, stop it” the five year old grumbled as he tried to put his hair back the way he liked it. “Can we go see mom now? I wanna tell her that you’re like a real dad now and that we can camp out again”

Angel never missed the assuming proclamation and halted Connor right there. “IF mom says it’s okay, but only if” he gave the boy a stern glare and waited for a responding expression before smiling at him. “Put your special clothes on son, mom will be waiting for us”

*~*~*~*

After the exhausting night of being watched constantly for the past four hours, Cordelia glanced at the clock above the shelving unit and was suddenly filled with renewed energy when she saw it was 8:55. Almost time for Angel to bring Connor to see her.

Willow bit her lip as she watched the brunette go from dragging her feet to all but skipping around the Magic Shop. She figured it was due to the fact her son would be coming soon. She’d overheard Cordelia tell Faith that Connor’s father was bringing him to see her before they went to find a park.

Though the red head would like an opportunity to see the little boy again, she wasn’t sure how she felt at the thought of Angel bringing him here. Not when everything was still so volatile, not when Buffy was still so volatile.

Cordelia deserved a lot of respect for what she’d put up with off the blonde slayer tonight, just letting the sly little comments wash over her like they were never said. Faith and Spike had obviously sided with the brunette, both of them turning Buffy’s statements back on herself whenever she said something hypocritical.

The only people to speak to her directly were Spike, Faith and Giles; Willow would have like she was betraying her best friend if she’d spoke to her.

Now, Cordelia was dusting the serving counter down with a very bouncy spring in her step as she watched both the time and the front door, waiting for son to arrive. When the clock reached 8:58, the brunette stopped the dusting and looked at everyone in the shop. “I have to turn off the lights now so my son can come in without being hurt”

“Can’t wait to see the little dude, bet he’s a handsome devil” Faith stated with a grin on her face, she knew who the father of Connor was and Cordelia knew it. As long as she kept quiet about it, she didn’t mind her knowing.

“The lil’ chappy’s a heart breaker alright” Spike smirked, “Grown quite fond of him myself”

Giles nodded with a warm, understanding smile at the brunette who had more earned her keep tonight. Perhaps if the father of Connor were willing to take on more responsibility, Cordelia would be open to starting work during the afternoon when they were usually most busy. “Of course Cordelia, should I bring out some stakes for your son to play with?”

“I’m pretty sure he’ll be asking for them Giles” Cordelia grinned at the watcher as she flicked the main light switches, plunging the shop into darkness. Now she was stood next to the front door and not able to see a thing since she left her torch in her purse by the till. “Spike or Faith, can either of you reach into my purse and pull out my torch please?”

“No problem C” a thick beam of light made it so she could walk safely back to the serving counter when she waited in silence for her son.

“How old is he?” Buffy asked coolly, figuring she may as well get used to the idea of the brunette being back because it didn’t look like she was going anywhere anytime soon.

“Five, six on the 18th of June” Cordelia replied just as coolly with a warning glare at Buffy, daring her to ask anymore questions about her son. She’d meant it when she said Connor was nothing to do with her and for the slayer to leave him out of anything to do with her.

Willow took the small conversation as a good sign and she smile a little, “He’s a cutie”

The young mother raised an eyebrow at the red head when she spoke directly to her for the first time that night. “Isn’t he? I could talk forever about Connor, he’s really great” Cordelia cut her praise short. Her son was private to her and if these people thought they could get what they wanted by playing nice with her son then they had another thing coming.

Giles cleared his throat as the subject of Connor was brought into the spotlight, “Cordelia, I hope you don’t mind but I took the liberty of searching for anything that could possibly help with your son’s condition. Now, I don’t want you to get your hopes up but I’ve contacted an acquaintance of mine who is in the alchemy business who maybe able to…”

“Giles” the feel of her hand on the back of his made the watcher glance at her, seeing high amounts of gratitude on her face. “I don’t care if he may or may not be able to help Connor” Cordelia squeezed his hand tightly, ignoring the sound of a throat being cleared behind her. “Thank you very much for trying, I more than appreciate it but you didn’t have too”

“You’re very welcome Cordelia” the Englishman gave her a pat on the hand, “I may not have had to but I wanted to be of some help to young Connor. Now how about I fetch some stakes for your son to play with or possibly cause himself an injury?”

“That’s why you came back, isn’t it?” Buffy surmised as she pursed her lips before thinning her mouth into a tight line. “You couldn’t find another way to help your son”

Cordelia said nothing as she waited to see what else the blonde slayer had figured out. Crossing her arms in front of her chest, the brunette regarded her with a simple glance and raised eyebrow.

Nodding as she realized that was a reason the brunette had come back, the blonde couldn’t really argue with it unless Cordelia was wanting help so she wouldn’t have to put up with the amount of care the kid obviously needed. “Too much for you is it?”

“Buffy” Giles warned, even Willow sent her best friend a wary glance.

“No Giles!” Buffy stood up, the move sending the chair she’d been sat in all night crashing to the floor. “I’ve sat in here all night, watching her go about the place like she owned it and now she has you running round trying to help her kid”

“His name is Connor, not kid” Cordelia snapped right back, the front she’d put on all night was finally slipping away as the need to defend her son appeared. “And I’ve already told you once tonight, he does not have anything to do with you”

Buffy spun on the brunette, “Just because you can‘t handle it doesn‘t mean you get to pawn him off on someone else. I won’t let you take advantage of my watcher and let you pass off the responsibility of your son to him. You gave birth to him, he’s your mistake so you look after him”

That was the last straw for Cordelia.

After spending all night listening to the muttered comments, seeing the sly glances and the purposely pushing past her, that last statement really, really got on her nerves. Cordelia opened her mouth, fully prepared to let the slayer have it when a voice cur her off.

“Is there a problem?” Angel asked, causing the room to focus on him rather than Cordelia and Buffy. Connor was barely awake on his shoulder, his bleary eyes searching for his mom but too tired to hold his arms out for her when he found her.

“Giles, it would be for the best if Cordelia went home early don’t you think?” It wasn’t a question and the Englishman merely nodded, too stunned to actually say anything else.

“I’ll take him out to the car, thanks for bringing him Angel” Cordelia reached behind for her purse, smiling gratefully when she felt Faith pop the bag into her hands. “Night everyone, thanks for everything. Buffy”

“G’night C. Anytime you want a ‘sitter” Faith offered, it wasn’t often she did something out of the goodness of her heart but then it wasn’t often a total stranger had practically forced both her and Spike into having a cup of coffee. Besides, she knew how hard life could be and everyone needed a little break now and then.

Cordelia beamed outright at Faith, “Thank you, if you want to call over for whatever, my address is…”

“Mansion” Spike and Angel finished.

“1325 Montgomery Street” the brunette gave the dark haired vampire a quizzical glance before smiling her goodbyes at the other vampire. “Bye all” turning to take the half asleep little boy, “Give him here, I’ll take him out”

Angel held out a set of keys to her, “My car, the black convertible. I’ll be there in a minute”

She looked like she was about to argue for a second but the look in his eyes made Cordelia rethink her decision. Giving him a half smile as way of apology for her part in the row between her and the slayer, she tucked Connor’s head into her shoulder and left.

*~*~*~*

The silence in the shop was deafening, a human would have been able to hear a pin drop in the heavy noiseless room. No-one was entirely sure how to react to the startling revelation of who the father of Cordelia’s son was. Out of everyone they could think of, Angel was definitely the last person they had expected.

Buffy wasn’t numb, she wasn’t in a daze or anything of the kind. Her mind was completely clear on what exactly had just happened. Cordelia had been waiting for the father to bring the kid in and Angel had turned up with said kid. That wasn’t to say he was the father because he couldn’t be.

Vampires were, by nature, infertile.

Willow tried to keep the guilty expression from showing in her face but Xander caught a flash of it and covered his face with his hands for a second or two before resigning himself to the fact he didn’t have a clue about any of it. Until he did, he refused to jump to anymore conclusions.

Giles had removed his glasses, cleaning the lenses while he stared long and hard at Angel; recognition of the little boy’s face set in and he exhaled sharply.

“Daddy’s home” Spike broke the silence with a smart comment before smirking at the hardened black gaze that came from his grandsire. It looked like having a kid had given the ponce his edge back, the blonde would have to get the boy something to say thank you. Maybe a set of fake fangs.

“You have something to say about my son, Buffy?” Angel asked lightly, her name rolling off his tongue in a way that made her shudder. “Or his mother?” It became obvious he’d heard every word exchanged.

“A-Angel?” Buffy’s blue eyes peered up into the dark, expressionless orbs of the vampire in front of her. A small smile played with her bubblegum pink lips as a sparkle came into the blue gaze. Her small hand went up to touch his cheek but an iron grip curled around her wrist prevented any contact from her.

Lowering her hand away from his face, Angel let go the second her hand was far enough away from her face. “If I ever hear you refer to my son as a mistake again, you’ll have me to deal with. And before you think of laying anymore on Cordelia, one word. Don’t”

Angel left it at that, not wanting his night ruined by an argument that could lead to a fight that would no doubt end up with his son watching, the vampire turned his back to the stunned people. “You’ll get your answers, until then all of you back off. And thank you for trying help my boy Giles, it means a lot to Cordelia and me”

After that, the only sound in the room was of the door falling shut, leaving the rest of them in sheer silence.


Part 9
The car ride back to the mansion was silent, neither Cordelia nor Angel knew exactly what to say about what happened in the Magic Shop. Though he wasn’t ashamed of the fact he was Connor’s father, Angel felt guilty for putting both his son and the brunette on the spot like that. He doubted she had wanted the news to be revealed so soon or in that way.

He didn’t feel guilty for defending his son and Cordelia, if anything he was proud of himself for saying something instead of just letting his annoyance slide. After the damage he caused after losing his soul, Angel never felt as though he had any right to complain or say anything for that matter; he just kind of sat there and took it.

But after hearing Buffy openly brand his son, an innocent five year old, as a mistake he had had enough.

Enough of being talked down too, enough of the expectations and enough of the condemnation which came his way every time he was looked at. Angel was tired of looking for acceptance he would never get off the people he helped pretty much every other night.

he was tired of his past being thrown in his face and he was tired of being the one blamed for everything that went wrong.

When Cordelia and Connor had come into his life no less then two days ago, Angel felt as though everything had suddenly fell into place, like it all finally made sense. The openness, the trust and the acceptance of the brunette had shone from those hazel orbs the second that toffee gaze had landed on him.

He was a vampire and she didn’t care.

She had loved him five years ago and she loved him now. Angel heard the way her heart beat rhythmically in her chest when he looked at her, could see the flush on the naturally glowing skin at the first sweep of his fingertips and the shy, little smile that appeared when she thought he wasn’t looking. Beside the physical reactions, there was a lot more for him to read.

The way Cordelia’s voice would fill with respect when she spoke, the way she valued his opinion, trusted him with their son. She simply treated him like he mattered, like he meant something to her. Angel knew she loved him because he loved her just as much, he couldn’t love a woman in so deep a way if it wasn’t returned.

Cordelia, oblivious to the vampire’s thoughts, felt guilty Angel had heard what was said. Figuring being a mother had changed her attitude; she thought she would have been able to keep a lid on her mouth when it came to revealing the news of her son’s father.

God only knows what he thought of her now. Arguing with Buffy and snapping at someone who had a right to be angry at her.

Glancing out of the window, the young mother watched as the streetlights blurred as the car drove past them and the sparse traffic. Hugging her arms, Cordelia attempted to ward off the chill coming in from the night air outside. It was okay for her, she didn’t have to put up with needing to be around the slayer as often as Angel did; he was the one who was going to get the backlash from this.

Changing her gaze from the window, the brunette looked back at Connor fast asleep on the back seat and a wry smile quirked her lips upward. It looked like vampire energy was too much for the five year old to handle; her son had met his match it seemed.

Angel darted his gaze towards Cordelia, his chest ached when he noticed her checking on their son and a warm, loving smile flickered at his as yet un-kissed lips. She was so beautiful, he couldn’t fight the attraction towards her and he didn’t want to.

She was the mother of his son, she had accepted him without a soul and made that side of him feel more than cold, hard rage.

What he had felt for her five years ago still ran deep; deep enough for his soul to feel empty when she had gone to work despite having Connor there. For once in the co-existence of demon and soul, Angel was at peace. The demon once consumed with a frightening intense anger, now purred and salivated at having it’s escaped pet back where she belonged.

The soul merely allowed those feeling to evolve into something so much more than love.

“I’m sorry”

The apology from Cordelia almost went unheard as Angel wallowed in just how good his life had become in the last two days. He’d been so busy sitting there, thinking of everything he had been given and what he’d been a part in creating that he’d forgotten the woman dominating his thoughts was sitting right next to him.

“Pardon?” Angel attempted to keep the smile from his face in order to be serious, but it just so damn hard. He was happy that the others knew who fathered Connor and wasn’t going to let their judgement or their opinions ruin anything for Cordelia, his son and himself.

“I’m sorry Connor and you had to walk in on that” Cordelia couldn’t face him, couldn’t face the closed off expression that maybe on his handsome face.

“You have nothing to apologise for Cordy” it had been too long since her nickname had past his lips. “They were bound to find out sooner or later” Angel told her wisely with an unneeded sigh and a little shrug.

As he pulled on to a road made of loose gravel, the vampire couldn’t help the wince as passing thoughts of ruined paintwork made him shudder.

“You’re right” Cordelia agreed, “Maybe I should have told them before you arrived with Connor.” She knew that would have made the arguments with Buffy a lot worse as the blonde would have branded her a liar and God only knows what else. “I just didn’t want…”

The sound the engine was shut off before Angel turned to face the brunette with understanding and a sad agreement written in the dark brown orbs. “Sadly to say I know what they can be like. It’s a good thing you didn’t, though I wish we could have told them together in less of a shocking way”

“Don’t let this go to your head but you’re right again” the young woman slyly smirked at the vampire. “Thanks for sticking up for Connor and me, you didn’t have to”

“Yes Cordy, I did” the vampire stated in no uncertain terms, “I wasn’t about to let Buffy o-or anyone brand my son a mistake or let her think you didn’t take care of him.” Angel gave her an unwavering glance which brooked no arguments “Okay?”

Cordelia nodded, not arguing as there was no point when he spoke in that voice with that expression on his face. “Okay”

The corners of his mouth flickered up as a spark lit up the dark brown depths as he focused on her lips. The brief touch of her lips still warmed his as the vanilla could still be tasted on his tongue. Angel watched as her tongue dipped out and swept across the fullness of her lower pout, making the gloss shine deliciously. “Kiss…”

“Aw dad, you can’t kiss her! Mom’s a girl”

Angel dropped his forehead against Cordelia’s, a laugh filled with both frustration and amusement sounded from him while the brunette giggled at her son’s timing. “Guess he’s awake” the vampire sighed, turning to look at Connor who was now sat up glaring at them with a tired scowl on his face.

“I don’t want to go too the park mom” the five year old looked guilty as he rubbed his eyes with a curled up fist, yawning almost continuously. He felt bad about not wanting to go too the park, his mom had promised and she’d been looking forward to it all day. She’d said how she would push him on the swings and the roundabout; he loved his mom and didn’t want to let her down.

“Too tired baby?” Cordelia asked him with a motherly smile designed to comfort her son. “You had a long night last night and no doubt you had your dad playing all sorts of games” one glance at Angel’s expression confirmed her words.

Connor pouted, he knew his mom had wanted to take him to the park “But you promised me park time and dad can come too because he’s like a real dad now”

“Connor, your dad has always been a real dad” she supplied, not knowing what the little boy’s words meant. “And you’re right, I did promise park time but we can go another night baby when you’re not so tired. Dad can still come if he wants too”

Angel couldn’t help the smile that crossed his face; he knew a guilty expression when he saw one. “I’ll take you both to a really good park tomorrow night, cross my heart” the vampire stated, he knew where there was one on the outskirts of Sunnydale. “But for now, how about mom and me take you to bed so you can get some rest?”

Cordelia granted the vampire with a highly impressed expression, silently congratulating him on his award winning compromising skills. “Your dad’s right, let’s get you to bed little man. I want to get out of this car”

*~*~*~*

While Angel was putting Connor into a useable room upstairs, Cordelia took the opportunity to wander around through to the courtyard where she and Angelus had often sat. Her gaze landed on the same rose bush he had taken flowers from, then her remembering hazel orbs ran around the rest of the area; each section had another memory that brought an ache to her chest.

There was a small place near the archway where water had come out, creating an indoor waterfall. Walking over to that area, Cordelia moved the branches away to stop the sharp twigs from clicking her clothes and stinging her bare arms. She couldn’t see where the water had come from, the overgrowth covered that part of the stone wall.

Her hands trailed over the cold stone, feeling the cracks that flawed the smooth white bricks and remembered as Angelus made love to her in the exact place she was standing in. Leaning her forehead against the wall, the brunette breathed in the ghostly scent of him and allowed the memory of the vampire’s first approach…

Smacking her lips together, Cordelia double checked the colour was even before tending to the strands of hair the wind had ruffled. Her fingers gently teased out the small tangles as her other hand flicked her fringe back to where it was supposed to be. With a smile of appreciation, the brunette decided not to mess with perfection and left her hair to fall naturally, admiring the way it fluttered around her bare shoulders.

Her father was throwing a high-society party at their house, everyone who was anyone was going to be attending and she had been instructed to be on her very best behaviour and look her best. In order to both please her parents and get into the society section of the newspaper, Cordelia had bought a stunning deep red silk dress that clung beautifully to her physique.

Strapless and long without being over the top, the red dress heightened the brunette’s statuesque figure, making her appear in her early twenties and not someone in their late teens. Around the visible part of her throat, a delicate silver necklace with a ruby clutched in a detailed claw fell to the curve of her cleavage, drawing attention to one of her best features.

Cordelia wasn’t stupid, she knew how attractive her physical appearance was and she knew how to use it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it had been her motto when it came to parties like this. She just might meet her future husband here, not that she wanted too but it would please her parents and give her security later in life.

And if she was going to secure herself someone worthy then she had better look nothing less than perfect.

Despite the effort put into her appearance, Cordelia had once again found herself bored to tears at the party not having anyone but Aura to talk too. Since her father had fixed her up with the son of a chairman, Aura had forgotten all about her friend and focused on the young man completely.

The brunette had often enjoyed walking around the well-groomed garden at the back of their manor, finding the places she used to hide when she had been young.

The uncomfortable heels on her feet were held in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other as she walked around barefoot, made-up hazel orbs swept over the orchids, roses and other flowers before landing on a space to sit. Placing her glass down, Cordelia pushed the loose, soft soil off the top of the smooth wall and sat down, a heavy sigh falling from her nude, glossy lips.

She wasn’t sure how long she had sat there in that spot, Cordelia hadn’t cared, she was just content to sit there in the tranquil setting of the garden.

*~*~*~*

Angelus had been making progress in his plan to destroy the slayer’s life piece by piece, deciding the best way to get too the girl was through the people she tried so hard to protect. Making her watch as her friends, her family, were killed one-by-one and watching in turn as she realised she couldn’t protect them all the time.

Friends and family had no place in a slayer’s life for that exact reason; too many innocent people would be caught in the cross-fire between good and him. All the more for him, Angelus smirked with sick sadistic pleasure as he visualised each kill he would make in the forthcoming future. For his first slayer kill, he would have to make this nothing less then special.

To start with, he would need something to attract her attention, something that would let her know his exact intentions but yet something subtle. A little eye-opener, something with a touch of class and a taste of blood smooth silk. With that thought in mind, Angelus had set out with every intention of finding that something; every instinct was running on high as he followed where his head took him.

Now, the black diamond gaze of the vampire was locked tightly on the brunette bathed in the soft glow of the night, her hair glinted with a touch of frosted silver as the moonlight caressed her. Bronzed skin was flushed with a dazzling array of colours as her body glitter caught the light, sparkling in all the colours of a rainbow he would never see.

Her almond-shaped eyes were defined with sultry, smoky shadow and long, dark lashes that cast shadows on the apples of her cheeks. Lips shone with transparent gloss, making the feminine mouth look soft and supple. The lithe body was encased in silk, a deep red silk that melted around the hour-glass figure a seventeen year old shouldn’t have.

Breasts were full, well-shaped and pert with youth. Hidden behind silk and no doubt a strapless bra, the slight slope of cleavage only teased Angelus and gave him an idea of how those breasts would look naked. A slit in the length of the dress allowed his gaze to wander down to see a long, shapely and slender calf straighten out.

The vampire had retained few of his human wiles, the urge for a good bar brawl, women and art. Angelus loved art in any form; paintings, sculptures, poetry, especially the art in the way he killed. It was an art to integrate himself into somebody’s life, get to know them, make them trust him before killing them.

It was an art to work with life, an art to create life and an art to destroy life.

It was also an art to capture life and immortalise it, bring every emotion to the forefront, make it shine from still eyes and make words pour from unmoving lips. Right now, Angelus wanted to capture the vision in front of him as she unknowingly left herself wide open for the kill. He would kill her, in due course, but not before he drew, tasted and had her.

The vampire leaned one strong shoulder against a tall oak tree, listening as a sigh fell from that supple mouth and feeling the warm breeze flutter over the coolness of his own. His arms became folded across his chest as he simply enjoyed looking at the young brunette, admiring the natural beauty that lay hidden under the make-up and pretty dress.

Cordelia scrunched her face up as she peered down at her feet, lifting one foot and then the other, inspecting the clear polish on her toes. Another sigh fell from her lips as a wry smile quirked her mouth upwards. “Aye me”

Angelus heard her speak and instead of some witless, sarcastic and self-involved remark, she spoke a very well known scene from Shakespeare.

“She speaks!” He whispered with a smirk.

“Oh Romeo, Romeo!” Cordelia stated, her mouth turning into a full smile “Where for art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or if thou wilt not, but be sworn my love and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” She got up from her place on the wall, beginning a lazy stroll towards where she didn’t know the vampire was hiding. “Stupid, boring play”

“Why couldn’t we have been studying something more interesting?” she grumbled the dislike towards her English teacher and the play currently in discussion. Descending into silence, Cordelia once again resigned herself to enjoying the peace and quiet.

On the ground, the soft blades of grass tickled her bare feet and made her scrunch her toes together in an effort to stop the tickling sensation. In the air the breeze picked up and became chilly, flushing her warm skin with goose-bumps. Moonlight paved the way for her to walk safely across the grass without stepping on anything that would cause an injury.

The vampire grinned, wondering what this particular teenage girl would find more interesting than a classic romance full of tragedy and heart break. “Just what would that be Cordelia?” His deep, rich voice pierced the silence, the masculine sound ringing out around the expanse of the quiet garden. Startled birds flew from the tops of the few oak trees and Cordelia stood perfectly still like a deer caught in oncoming headlights.

Hazel eyes frantically danced all around her, trying to see who had intruded on the private grounds and wondered if someone from the party had followed her out here. It had to be a man she knew, he stated her name as clear as day with no mistakes or hitching, thus meaning whoever it was had been watching her for a while.

“Excuse me, this is private property so if you’re not from my father’s party then leave before someone I call security” Cordelia stated in a very firm, very high voice as she continued to search for the owner of the deep, throaty voice. Clutching the only weapons she had, her shoes, tightly in her hands the brunette began to take subtle backward steps, intending on making a very quick getaway.

“Forgive me for intruding” Angelus made no move to show himself as the mock apology fell past his mouth, “But I have never seen true beauty till this night” the line came easy and was followed by another. “There is no way you can call security from here baby”

“Really?” she sounded so self-sure and confident under the heavy weight of his stare. A smug smirk flashed on her mouth before it disappeared, Cordelia raised an elegant and regal eyebrow as she reached into the side slit in her skirt. Angelus watched as a cellular phone was extracted from a secure, unseen holder.

“Pardon me a moment while I call 911”

The vampire had to applaud the girl and gave her credit, looked like Cordelia Chase wasn’t as stupid or as naive as she was made out to be. Angelus watched as the cell phone was flipped open and she began punching on the small keypad. “Do you really think the police or security would get here in time?”

His chilling words instantly halted the dialling for help and the brunette’s bravery began to take a back seat to the fear-filled lump gathering in her throat. Closing her phone, Cordelia swallowed it back and welcomed the numbing defensive bitchy attitude she used every day.

“You really think I would let you make me your victim?” her statement was accompanied by a smirk as her posture straightened and shoulders squared. “A little, pathetic intruder like you is not going to scare me”

She had come face-to-face with demons and vampires thanks to one Buffy Summers. An ordinary person was not going to scare her at all. Well, not much anyway.

“I don’t want you as my victim Cordelia, at least not until I get what I want from you” Angelus replied, still hidden in the shadows made by the trees. His black, amused gaze never once left the stunning brunette as she faced off with what she thought to be an every day intruder. He wondered if she would still be as brave if he showed himself.

“No!” her voice was firm and laced with fierce determination not to allow the intruder to do that to her, she would rather die fighting him off than have that done to her. “You can go to hell before you get to touch me in any way. I would rather choke to death than let a pervert like you destroy my life, not that you could. It would take someone a lot bigger and a lot less of a coward to destroy me”

Her face became smug once more, “Besides, even if you do get away after leaving me half dead, there’d be enough evidence to put you away for life. And with my father being who he is, do you really think you’d get it easy?”

Cordelia’s was full of self-assurance and importance, trying to make it sound like touching her would be a very bad idea. “People like you make me sick”

“Have I ever told you how much your spirit attracts me Cordelia? No? Shame on me” the cheerleader couldn’t miss the underlying amusement hidden under the crushed velvet tone. Angelus was happy just to watch the fluttering emotions wash over her feline features, seeing the hazel orbs flicker from toffee to caramel with hints of gold speckled in the pretty irises.

He damned the soul that had burned bridges with this one.

Cordelia took one more step away from the direction of the smooth voice, the cell phone now clutched in a shaking grip as she desperately tried to see into the trees where she was sure the intruder was hiding. Seeing nothing, the brunette gathered the rest of her courage and played the perky, silly cheerleader best she could.

“My spirit? As far as I can see I’m not a spirit, too alive to be one of those”

Distaste at the sudden attitude change welled up in the vampire’s mouth, Angelus wondered if he had made an error in his judgement of her. Maybe she wasn’t how she appeared tonight; maybe she was just playing up the grown-up clothes and make-up to the full. Art was nothing if there was no substance in the picture, no details to be brought to life and no essence to capture.

He chuckled wryly to himself; the act that put him off was what no doubt usually attracted males to her.

Seeing the perky, silly surface of Cordelia would probably give someone the idea that she could be shaped into being what they wanted her to be. While laying underneath was a young woman with enough fire to make hell seem cold. Angelus knew better now and was determined not to let this little show put him off getting what he wanted.

“That type of behaviour only serves to annoy, not amuse baby. Don’t hide from me”

“I’m not the one hiding here pal, you are” those words sounded like a challenge even to her own ears. Sucking in a deep breath and forcing the shaking of her body to cease, Cordelia trained every human instinct she possessed to where the intruder was hiding. “This game is boring me, either get off my property or show yourself”

The grass crunched under the weight of his footsteps, his large hand pushed his body away from the thick tree trunk as he slowly left the shadowed area and walked to where she could see him. Her breath lodged in her throat as her eyes scanned the vampire currently making Buffy’s life hell.

For the first time in her life, Cordelia Chase was speechless.

Angelus glanced once up at the moonlight “Nice night” he commented casually as he continued his lazy saunter until he was within touching distance of the brunette. He didn’t make another move, simply stood there and gave her a moment for the shock to wear off.

Green flecked hazel eyes searched his face unseeingly, wondering if he was really there or if this was a nightmare brought on from the night when he had tackled her two weeks before.

The silver moon shine gave the pallor of his complexion an ethereal glow, the gelled strands of his hair shimmered as though it were wet and his gaze looked pure black. His lips were tilting up in a smirk as Cordelia studied him intently, her orbs tracing every line of the vampire’s features as though to memorise them for all eternity.

His cheeks were a little rounded due to the smirk, his chin and jaw were defiant and his forehead crinkled up with little laugh lines. Angelus let her continue before breaking the silence between them. Thick, masculine fingers wove through the long wavy strands of silky espresso coloured hair, letting them fall separately between his fingers, tickling his skin.

Cordelia frozen to the spot, pinned into place by a gaze so black it made the night seem bright. When his hand touched her hair, she expected her head to be yanked to the side while he drained her dry. Forcing herself not to flinch from the cold caress, the brunette resigned herself to the fact she was going to die meters from the safety of her house.

“Walk with me” Angelus ran the roughened pad of his thumb down her paling cheek, relishing in the humanity that warmed him.

What was his game? Was he trying to lead her into a false sense of security? Make her feel safe, get her trust before revelling in her sudden terror right before he killed her in cold blood? Not likely.

“I’m not a fool, Angel” Cordelia removed his hand from her face, dropping his touch like it scalded her. “I won’t let you play one of your games with me, if you’re going to kill me then do it. I can’t stop you from doing that but I can stop you from making me into a trusting idiot”

Ignoring her, the vampire took her arm with a small amount of struggling and curled her smaller hand in the crook of his elbow. “Walk with me” the threatening undertone made her take notice that it wasn’t a request this time. “It’s a nice night Cordelia, enjoy it with me”

The solid and unmoveable grip covering her hand prevented escape, not that she tried. Figuring he was just playing nice-nice with her, Cordelia went along with it while she used her free hand to fumble with the cell phone. Sadly, Angelus noticed what she was doing and easily retracted the cell phone from the tight hold it was in.

“Baby I’m hurt” Angelus mocked as the phone was deposited into his jacket pocket. “Can’t a guy simply enjoy a moonlit stroll with a beautiful woman without her wanting to gossip with friends?” he tutted and shook his head. “I thought it would be romantic”

“What do you want? A gasped in delighted breath, slap my hand to my forehead and swoon?” Cordelia haughtily remarked with a sneer, refusing to give him anything, not even fear.

Angelus genuinely laughed out loud, the way she said it made his words sound incredibly cheesy and made him cringe a little in the knowledge he had used something like that. “When you put it like that, it does sound pretty bad”

Cordelia scoffed at the understating description used, deciding if she was going to die then she was going to go with him remembering her. “For a vampire the likes of you, I would have expected something a lot, shall we say, classier.” Death was easy to accept if you put yourself at ease she thought.

People could go blue in the face telling you there was nothing to be afraid of but that meant nothing if you didn’t believe it.

Halting their slow walk, Angelus tugged the brunette so he was staring down into the hazel orbs, startled at his sudden move. Using his fingers, the vampire brushed the fringe away, wanting nothing to disturb his view of her face.

“What would you have me say?” the vampire purred, “Would you have me say I want to take you home with me? Take that dress off and take you to my bed?”

Her mind went completely blank the moment the words ‘his bed’ left his mouth, leaving Cordelia speechless for the second time in her life. The first had been when he had first approached her mere minutes before.

Angelus continued, not aware that the brunette had no power of speech. “What if I said I wanted you to model for me?” he would get what he wanted; even if he had to suitable threaten her. “I have never seen true beauty till this night” the line from the infamous play once again fell from his lips.

“I’m sorry” Cordelia shook her head disbelievingly. “I’m not some girl that poses nude just because some guy, or vampire in your case, lays a really bad line on me. I have way more class than that, besides Daddy would kill me if word ever got out that his little girl posed for a cold blooded killer. I can see the headlines now.” Sarcasm dripped like acid from her tongue as she refuted his efforts to be nice.

The look that passed through the hard black orbs made her shut up as Angelus leaned close enough to her face that her now shallow breaths fluttered against his lips. His hands took hold of her upper arms and, strong fingers gripped the skin tightly as he lowered his mouth to the pulsating jugular hidden beneath delicate, soft skin. “If you treat me like a cold blooded killer baby, then I’ll act like one”

Sharp fangs scraped the skin, the stimulation drawing delicious blood to the surface and infusing his senses with the scent of feminine heat and life, but surprisingly the fear wasn’t as strong as it should be. Angelus smirked against the hollow of her throat as he decided to see how far he could he could push Cordelia so fear poured from her like a rain storm.

The brunette’s eye drifted shut as the feel of his cool lips descended on her heating flesh, a sharp scrape made her closed eyes snap wide open as she realised what was slicing her throat. A choked whimper of relief sounded when no bite came and then a soft pleasured moan escaped Cordelia’s drying, glossy lips as Angelus began to tease. “Angel”

His lips tugged on the skin, fangs nipped gently and his cool tongue caressed the area softly, soothing the love bite now appearing on her throat. The vampire’s iron hold on her loosened, allowing his hands to roam her back. A moan vibrated through his chest as he felt the heat burn his palms as he touched her. Angelus sucked harder, drawing more of her skin into his mouth and pulled her body flush against his.

Cordelia’s eyes squeezed tight shut as another moan of pleasure fell from her mouth, her small hand came to rest on the vampire’s marble cheek and she tilted her neck, increasing the pressure on the highly sensitised area. Her breasts were crushed hard to his solid chest, the silk material of her strapless bra felt rough against her nipples, making her hiss.

Angelus growled in protest as he let go to trail wet, hot lips over the contours of her jaw until he found her mouth. Soft and supple and pliant, the vampire manipulated her mouth into a deep kiss, dipping his tongue inside the warm cavern to taste hers. God, he wanted her here and now, wanted her on the ground with her legs spread wide and her body open, wet and ready to take him.

A last tug on her lower lip signalled the end of the brief but in no way chaste kiss. A mixture of fear, confusion and embarrassment caused Cordelia’s cheeks a pretty pink as she gazed into the hypnotising onyx orbs. Before she could open her mouth to say something, anything, a fingertip was pressed to her tingling lips.

“Ssh” Angelus mimicked, only removing his fingertip when he was satisfied she would be quiet. “Meet me by the tree tomorrow night, if you don’t you won’t like the consequences”

Was he for real? Did he think she was so stupid to venture out of her house after dark to meet a known psychopath?

“I’ll be sure to bring your ex with me Angel” though breathless and heavy, her voice came out steady and unwavering; Cordelia prided herself on it.

A low chuckle grated on her nerves as he merely laughed at her threat. “What would tell her? That I saw you in your garden and was so enraptured by your stunning good looks that I’m forcing you into letting me paint you?” He chuckled again, this time a shake of his head accompanied the smooth sound.

“Besides,” Angelus smirked victoriously at her “How would you explain my mark on your throat?” Cool fingertips traced the purple love bite soothingly, running over the raised skin before those fingertips trailed a line of icy heat towards the sloping of her breasts. “Please bring her Cordelia, I would love to see the look on her face when the truth came out”

“Truth of what?”

“Just how attracted I am to you. Now” Angelus shut her up with another finger to her lips. “In my time, I’ve been known to be ruthless, I guess you could say a little heartless where humans are concerned. If you’re not here tomorrow night at, shall we say eleven pm, then I’ll make sure you’re bathing in a bloodbath”

The chilling coldness in the vampire’s voice brought tears of fear and helplessness to her eyes. She had no choice but to do what he asked her to do. Though she hated herself for giving in and calling his bluff, which she knew it wasn’t, Cordelia gave him a short nod of agreement.

“Eleven it is… No wait! Not eleven, make it…” her father had handed out late supper invitations to some of his associates who had sons for nine tomorrow night. Cordelia hated herself even more for using her possible death as a way to get out of being fitted up. “Ten”

That way, she could put in appearances and then feign either illness, PMS cramps or say she had a late date. Anyway she chose to lie would lead to the same conclusion; her outside facing a soulless vampire without any defences while her family was safe inside.

That surprised Angelus so much his eyebrow rose quizzically, he expected her to say later “Ten it is and don’t be late.” He would get the reason why she wanted to meet him an hour early. “Let me walk you back to your house Cordelia, I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you”

Anticipation of being alone with the brunette had already brought his body to a hardened state, the arousal circling his brain only increased the desire to touch her. Having discarded his leather jacket, the black pinstripe silk shirt could be seen skimming his broad chest with the soft material curved around the contours of his shoulders.

Walking in quiet steps so as not to disturb the dreamy expression that softened her features. The vampire wanted to know what she was thinking of, which memory it was that had her nails absently trailing across the hollow of her throat.

Angel saw where Cordelia was stood and a smile washed over his mouth. He remembered taking her there under the small, indoor waterfall.

“Connor settled?” The sound of Cordelia’s voice held a knowing smile to it as she opened glazed hazel irises to look at the stealthy vampire.

Angel blinked, he’d forgotten how she knew he was there no matter how quiet he was. Stopping his walk as his thoughts turned to his son now sleeping upstairs in the room that had once been used by Drusilla. Though he had a wonderful night with his son, the vampire was more than glad Connor was now asleep; for more reasons than one.

“God yes” the reply brought a breathy, heavy laugh from Cordelia as she turned her back to the wall and faced the vampire she’d just been fantasizing about. She couldn’t help but see him as Angelus as that was who he was to her despite calling him ‘Angel.’ “Thank you for letting him stay the night”

“He’s your son Angel, he can stay whenever you want him too” the brunette sighed, wondering if it mattered to Angel how she saw him.

“What if I wanted him to stay all the time?” Angel resumed approaching her, wondering if it mattered to her if he had a soul. How weird that sounded to him, most of the time it mattered if he didn’t but with her the soul might be an obstruction in rekindling their romance.

Cordelia laughed again, amazed and delighted at how taken the vampire was with Connor already. “Then I would ask where I would fit in”

“What if I wanted you to stay all the time too?”

“Then I would want to know if you only wanted me because I’m Connor’s mom” the brunette stated truthfully, though what had happened between them in her kitchen would leave no doubt in her mind about whether or not he wanted her.

The question wasn’t that at all, the question was why and what he felt for her. “Or if this is because of my time with Angelus, with you before your soul was returned… How did you get your soul back?”

A pained expression flashed across the vampire’s face before it was replaced by an expression unreadable to her. Moving close enough to take her hands in his, Angel leaned his fore head onto hers and closed his eyes. He would have to tell her that soon but not yet, he needed time and assurance that she wouldn’t leave him because of it.

“Not yet baby, not until I know for sure you won’t leave me again”

“I won’t leave again, cross my heart” a relieved sigh breezed across her lips as the fearful expression on his face was replaced by a one of peace and reassurance. “I won’t push you Angel, I’ll respect the fact you need time” Cordelia ran her fingers through the gelled dark brown spikes. “J-just tell me you want me for me and not because I’m your son’s mother”

Angel took a moment to think of the best way to answer her, he could either take her against the wall and act out their memory or he could he take her to bed and make long, slow love to her until she begged for mercy. Or he could simply tell her in the words he wanted to say but thought would never get the chance.

“I never stopped wanting you Cordelia. When you left, I left too” it was the closest to the truth he could give her just yet. “I went numb, apart from anger and hatred, I was empty.”

If his soul had been intact that night, Angel had no doubt he would have waited for the sunrise to happen. He had the demon’s dark, emotionless state to thank for keeping him alive.

Tugging herself out of the vampire’s tightening grip, Cordelia smoothed her palm down his cheek and brushed the warm, soft pad of her thumb over his mouth. “I don’t want to be with you if you only want the family side of this”

“There hasn’t been anyone else since you Cordelia, I haven’t wanted anyone ‘but’ you” Angel all but growled at her. He was here, she was here, they could have everything together now she was back where she belonged. Wrapping a large hand around her upper arm in an iron grip, the vampire tugged the brunette back against his chest, nuzzling the bouncy curls he was so fascinated with.

Breathing deeply, Angel inhaled the remnants of spicy arousal and the soft, sweet unique scent laying hidden underneath the heady spice. His hands moved up to tangle in the espresso curls, threading his fingers through the silky strands and watched as they separated and fell back down to her shoulders. The vampire swept his lips over her cheek, trailing flirting kisses on the surface of her skin and tasted the vanilla.

“I love your hair like this” he murmured against her hotter mouth, dipping his tongue through her parted lips to tease hers with little, taunting flicks. Cordelia sighed, not being able to help but melt into him, responding to his teasing kiss with soft flicks of her warmer tongue over the sensitive spot where she knew his fangs were sheathed.

Angel moaned as his mouth tingled with the sensation, letting her play for a moment longer before gradually decreasing the kiss until a final tug said it was over. “Come with me” his voice was gravely, low and husky as he took her hand, leading the brunette through to the foyer so they could sit.

Her eyes took it all in, every little place held a memory of Angelus and subsequently of Angel. In the arching the vampire was walking under, Cordelia had walked into the wall when she had been busy staring at a shamelessly naked vampire.

The foyer they were now entering still held images so strong and vivid, the young woman could swear they were happening right then and there. On the leather chair Angelus had told her was specifically his, Cordelia had sat on his lap and slept. She had straddled him, riding him hard until he came, voicelessly sounding out her name.

By a well-lit fire, Angelus had allowed her to draw him as he drew her, only to end up surprised when he received a comic interpretation of his vampire face. The bottom of the concrete spiral staircase was where Cordelia would drop her pom-poms only to have the vampire order her to pick them up.

So many memories of happy times, funny times and bad times, like when Angelus had tried to clean blood off his knuckles after a fight. And a time when Buffy had gotten close to staking him, providing the vampire with a gaping chest wound. No matter what she remembered, Cordelia cherished it all.

Angel moved past her, kneeling down in front of a barely flickering fire and proceeded to place some logs on it to make it pick up before it died out completely. Cordelia watched in contentment as the vampire crooked his finger at her in a ‘come hither’ movement as he dropped lazily into his chair.

As soon as Cordelia was comfortable sitting on his lap, the vampire engulfed her and pushed her head to rest on his shoulder. His hands stroked her bare arms smoothly and soothingly, male fingertips touching the body, and woman, he loved but thought was lost.

“Talk to me” his breathless sigh drifted across her forehead before his lips pressed softly down. His hand moved down her arm to curve over her now flat abdomen, imagining how it would have felt when she carrying his son. An ache full of longing made his chest hurt but only for second, it was replaced by another, better ache.

“About what?” Cordelia curled up her legs until she was completely snuggled into his reassuring body. Her hands smoothed down the crinkles on the black pinstripe shirt, feeling the muscles flex under her caress.

Angel shifted a little, the heat of her body and the scent of her was making him react. “Being pregnant, what was it like?” he asked, voice thick with growing arousal and curiosity as he continued to feel her stomach. “I wish I had been there, wish I had never missed it”

The hazel orbs once more glazed over and Cordelia was forced to wipe away a stray tear falling down her cheek. It was stupid how she got like this sometimes, crying for no good reason especially now when Connor and her were with Angel. “It was hard at first but I got used to it”

The vampire’s frown went unseen as the scent of salty tears replaced arousal, why was she crying? “Why are you crying?”

Sniffling back a laugh, the brunette wiped her watering eyes and shook her head, waving away his concern. “I get like this sometimes, ever since Connor was born. I don’t why” that wasn’t true and he knew it.

He could always tell when Cordelia fibbed to hide what she was feeling, it wasn’t hard to spot the weak but noticeable tremor in her voice and it wasn’t hard to hear the way her heart rate picked up. “Talk to me baby” Angel urged, using his finger to tilt her chin up, his heart almost breaking at the sadness in the hazel.

Her forehead scrunched up, making the flawless skin wrinkle with a deep seated sadness that could never be removed. “When I was pregnant, it was hard. When I was sick, o-or if I just needed someone to talk too, there was no-one there.” Alone, that was what she had been.

To Cordelia, her bed at night had been cold and empty; too large even though she was pregnant. The sheets always felt like ice, never warm and comforting, only cold. Her little one bed roomed apartment was silent, never any sounds of voices or any smells apart from her own.

On mornings when she would get up, the loneliness was sometimes crushing when she went into a room and there was nothing and no-one there. It was just cold and empty.

She bit her lip in an effort not to give in to the tears threatening to fall. “When I had my first ultrasound, I had no-one to share it with” her voice cracked.

Cordelia had for hours, crying softly and silently to herself as she took in the sight of her unborn baby on the photograph. Hoping the phone would ring or there would be a knock at the door, but as usual there was nothing.

As she talked and cried softly, Angel’s heart shattered for what the woman he loved had gone through. Being so far from home, from everything Cordelia had ever known. A young woman that had once filled his life, sitting in a cold apartment pregnant and alone.

“Ssh baby” the vampire whispered, folding his arms tighter around her wanting to take the memory of that chill away, replace it with warmth his body couldn’t give. Cordelia was home now, with his son and she wasn’t going away again.

He’d keep her this time, he would ask her to come back if she ever walked away and Angel vowed to make sure Cordelia would stay. This was where she belonged, both her and Connor.

Connor had been up for a while, waking up to find himself in a room he didn’t recognise at first he had set about looking for his mom and dad. When he had heard his mom start to cry, the little boy had immediately headed for the top of the spiral staircase.

Peeking round the corner, Connor saw Angel comforting Cordelia and taking of her like he promised. His dad hadn’t lied, his dad said he loved mom and he never let her down.

Silently, the five year old went back to play with the toys in his room, happy that his dad was taking of his mom just like he promised.


Part 10
Kicking the ball across the floor to his dad, Connor frowned as he realised his mom had been gone an awful long time. She said that she was just going to pick the car up from the Magic Shop, see Giles about working tonight and come straight back. “Dad, when did mom say she was coming back?”

Looked like he wasn’t the only one who noticed the length of time Cordelia had been gone. Gently kicking the ball back to his son, Angel glanced at the grandfather clock he had moved to a safe corner and noticed the brunette had been gone an extra hour. “You‘re mom has only gone to pick up the car and get some clean clothes, I‘m sure she won‘t be long”

The little boy wasn’t the only one missing Cordelia, Angel loathed letting her walk out the front entrance to get things both his son and she needed. She should have been here, with Connor and him, so much had been lost out on and any time away from either of them meant longer for him to share in their lives. He wanted to hear every story no matter how sad, happy or if it seemed unimportant, Angel wanted it all.

Leaning down to pick up the ball, Connor guessed his dad was right. “She will come back won’t she?” he threw the ball to the vampire who caught it easily in his hands. “I mean, she won’t go anywhere without us?”

Angel shook his head “No Connor, mom wouldn’t leave us and she certainly wouldn’t leave you, she loves you” he assured the little boy while irrational panic began to bubble up inside his clenching stomach. No, Cordelia had said she wouldn’t leave again, he needed to trust her but…

“She wouldn’t leave dad” Connor scoffed, that hadn’t been what he meant. “Mom wouldn’t go anyplace fun without us” what had his dad meant?

Angel berated himself for almost slipping up and causing his son unnecessary upset, the vampire gave himself a mental kick in the head. “No son, mom won’t go anywhere fun without us”

Speaking of fun places “Are you still gonna take me to the really good park tonight like you promised?” the little boy turned big puppy eyes on the vampire. “You said you would because I was too tired last night”

“Cross my heart” Angel promised and crossed the place his heart lay still inside his chest. “Are you hungry yet? I could make you an omelette” anything to take both his and his son’s mind off Cordelia’s absence. “How about some juice? I think there’s still some left” he would have to buy Faith some more orange squash, Connor and Cordelia had polished it off this morning.

Connor shook his head, “Naw dad, I’m not hungry yet. Are you hungry? I can make sandwiches” he stated proudly with a large smile that was pure Cordelia. He had his very own cutlery set, plastic of course, but his mom had taught him how to butter bread and lather it with peanut butter.

Angel found himself blinking at the idea of his five year old son making him lunch, somehow he could see it happening. An amused chuckle brought a smile to the vampire’s face as he walked over to and sat down in his chair. “No thank you son” he grinned at the little boy, “I’ll make my own lunch” when you’re not here to see me drink.

Once again picking up his ball, Connor balanced it on the top of his foot before bouncing it off his knee with an expression of total concentration, he began to count the number of bounces. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5… Aw!” he missed and his ball rolled towards the door.

“Hey, five is great” Angel pointed out, trying to make the smile come back to his son’s face. “Even I can’t do that many” he doubted he could do one, let alone five. Running a hand through his hair, the vampire let out a tired sigh and marvelled at just how energetic Connor was.

He’d also noticed some other things about his boy, Connor had exceptionally good eyesight, co-ordination, hearing and other little bits that had Angel wondering if his vampire side had caused the little boy to receive benefits. This made him curious about his son’s strength, wondering if that maybe effected too.

Connor carefully avoided the small beam of sunlight that filtered under the gap in the door as he leaned down to pick up his ball. “Dad you want to play more soccer? I promise to let you win this time”

More soccer? What was so great about soccer? Angel wondered if he could somehow train his son to like something none energetic, like listening to music or drawing or he could stake himself before anyone found that his unnatural energy resources weren’t up to par with a five year old. “Why don’t I teach you how to draw?” he suggested hopefully.

“But that’s boorriingg!” his son grouched with a frown that had Angel laughing out loud. “Unless mom was right about you being really ancient old and that you’re really an old man that looks young and has no energy and who needs a walking stick!”

Offhandedly, Angel wondered what the little boy would say if he stated he was 247 years old. Deciding against it, the dark haired vampire shook his head and watched Connor enjoy throwing it up and catching it with ease. During the short time of knowing him, Angel found his son was like a miniature version of Cordelia and couldn’t help but wonder what she had been like at that age.

He smiled at the image of a five year old little girl with long brown hair tied up in bunches sneaking out of her room late at night to steal some chocolate. Angelus had discovered that little piece of information when he had asked Cordelia if she had ever done anything bad. She had been so innocent, so good despite her flaws, before he had tainted her.

Shaking away memories of the past, Angel refocused his gaze on Connor who was now trying to spin his ball on his finger without much success. “Dad, want to play catch?” No sooner than the question had been asked then his son launched the ball towards him.

Getting up out of the chair, the vampire threw the ball back to the little boy watching as Connor nearly dropped it but only just managed to retain balance. “Good save.” The triumphant grin that was sent his way told him it had more to do with skill than luck “Do you want to be a soccer player?”

“Naw, I wanna be rock star” Connor bounced the ball before throwing it back to Angel, “Mom said that if I ask real nicely and if I’m real good and everything, Santa will bring me a drum set this year.” He looked sad for a second before shooting a glance up at his dad, “Dad, I don’t think I should tell mom that Santa isn’t real, she’d get upset… You did know Santa wasn’t real right?”

Angel’s mouth and the muscles in his jaw twitched as he tried to keep a straight face, his son looked so serious about the dilemma of not wanting to upset his mom by revealing Santa didn’t exist. “How do you know?” the vampire asked after clearing his throat.

“Kelly said she saw her dad putting the presents under her tree at Christmas time” Connor explained seriously with an expression that matched his tone. No, the little boy decided firmly, his mom would never find out that Santa didn’t exist.

“Don’t you think mom knows he doesn’t exist?” the vampire enquired, keeping a straight face was making his jaw ache. He’d never really expected to have this conversation with anyone, let alone a five year old little boy that was his son.

If he kept thinking that, he might start to believe it was real and not something brought about by a sudden wave of insanity.

Connor stated with a serious expression, his big brown eyes peered up at his father as he nibbled on his lower lip. “Santa doesn’t visit grown-ups, just kids and mom said she saw Santa when she was little. But I think it was really her dad dressed up. I don’t think we should tell her”

Angel agreed entirely. Lowering his voice to a cunning whisper, the vampire graced his son with a private smile and little wink “Me neither. When it comes to Christmas, you can dress up as Santa”

“Aw dad!” Connor shook his head, “I’m to little to be Santa silly” if his dad didn’t know that then there was something wrong. “You have to be the one to dress up as Santa and wear the big furry hat and the big red coat and the black boots.” That image was funny!

*~*~*~*

Buffy had paced outside the front entrance to the mansion for a while now, wringing her hands together and thinking about what the hell she was going to say to the vampire. She had gone over and over last night’s revelations in her head, the sight of Angel carrying the kid had completely knocked her for six. Then the startling news of him being a father that’s a laugh had caused her brain to shut down.

There was obviously some mistake, Angel was a vampire and vampires couldn’t have children, not unless they sired. Human children couldn’t be born to a dead man, even if he was technically the living dead.

The blonde slayer shook her head, clearing those thoughts away as she concentrated once again on the situation at hand. Cordelia was laying the blame of her pregnancy at Angel, that in itself was a downright lie. He would never sink so low as to sleep with the school whore.

Not that she had fact to prove the brunette had slept her way through Sunnydale of course, but it had been the way Cordelia had used herself to get what she wanted. Not just the lack of evidence but that was how Buffy preferred to think of her.

As a vapid whore whom she and Angel had once upon a time called Sporedelia.

No, she decided firmly, Angel was in no way the father of the kid. All thoughts were immediately banished from her head as Buffy reached out to open the front entrance to the mansion.

Doing as she always did, the slayer swung the door wide open and allowed sunshine to pour throughout the foyer of the mansion. No sooner had Buffy stepped inside only to be suddenly surrounded by the startling sound of pained cries from a child.

*~*~*~*

If Angel hadn’t been standing as close Connor as he had been, his son would have completely engulfed in sunlight. Thankfully, the little boy was safe and secure tucked into his father’s arms as the vampire backed into the darkest corner of the foyer quickly.

Connor had been told over and over and over again by Cordelia if something like this was ever to happen, he had to be brave and stay as calm as he could. Curling his arms between his small frame and his father’s chest, the five year old protected his hands until Angel got to a safe part of the large area.

He was trying to brave for his dad but the light was really bright, it hurt his eyes and face when the door opened. He could feel the skin covering the back of his hands stinging from where he had covered his face. Connor wished his mom was here.

“It’s alright son, it‘s okay. Hush” Angel attempted to keep the furious growl ripping from his throat, his large hands held his son tightly and as securely as inhumanly possible. His gaze, darker than night, shone with a corona of gold as he focused in on the intruder, intent on vengeance.

Against his chest, the angered vampire could feel his son shaking in fear, childish tears soaked his shirt as Connor muffled his crying. If his heart worked, Angel knew it would be beating a tattoo on his ribcage. Hearing his son cry with fear was all but tearing him apart, he’d promised Cordelia to look after him and he’d failed.

He’d failed his son, Cordelia and failed as a father. Angel had been right all along, he wasn’t meant for this, didn’t deserve to have this.

“Buffy shut the God damn door!” Angel snarled at the stunned blonde who was stood looking blankly at him. “The fucking door!”

Snapping out of her shock, Buffy swung round and shut the door, leaving the large foyer in safe darkness. Her face was pale, blue eyes were wide with surprise and her hands shook with adrenalin. The sound of the sudden crying had seemed to shut down every instinct she had, making speech and movement impossible.

Pressing his lips against Connor’s wet cheeks in loving, comforting kisses, Angel noticed the red rash that the sunlight had caused. “It’s alright now baby” he cooed, his normally strong voice was shaky and unsure. “Light’s gone now” now he knew why Cordelia took medical supplies with her everywhere she went.

Buffy kept silent as she watched Angel pass her, his gaze never leaving the kid once as he took him upstairs.

Once the vampire was out of sight, the blonde finally found the will to breathe again as she sank to the floor. Her hand came up to press against her pale forehead, lips parting to gulp in oxygen and her heart racing a mile a minute.

What was Cordelia’s kid doing with Angel? Buffy’s thought process began with the one she wanted to know most of all. What the hell gave her the right to leave her kid with Angel? The brunette had to have given the vampire some kind of sob story to get him to baby-sit for her.

The only other explanation was the fact Angel really was the kid’s father and Buffy knew that couldn’t be true. She couldn’t of any other rational explanation for why the kid would be here at the mansion when he should be with his mother.

She got up off the floor and stood waiting for him to come back down.

*~*~*~*

Connor’s lower lip pooched out in a pout as he dried the tears on his sleeve, peering at his dad through glassy brown eyes. The skin on the little boy’s face was dewy from crying, the normally pale complexion had only been exposed for a mere second and was slightly red.

Though he hadn’t been badly hurt by the light, it had been the fright that had caused the little boy to cry. Connor sniffled, using the back of his sleeve to wipe his nose as he watched his dad get his cream from the overnight bag.

“Dad, I don’t want the cream on” it smelled and was cold and he wasn’t hurt enough for that.

Ignoring the complaint, Angel faced his son and swallowed heavily when his gaze landed on the red tint around the little boy’s nose and cheeks. Drying tears left stains and the big brown eyes were full of receding fear as they looked back at him. The vampire searched for any amount of blame from his son and wished he found it.

“You’re getting some” the vampire had been strongly instructed by Cordelia that if any light, no matter how small, should come into contact with Connor he was to use the cream. Angel had told her there would be no need for it’s use. “There’s no use arguing”

Connor scowled deeply at his dad, watching in disgust as the large white tub was opened up and Angel came closer to him. “Urgh! Da-ad, I’m not really hurt see?” One little finger gingerly touched his face and he grimaced at the small sting the touch elicited.

“Of course you’re not” Angel’s voice was even as he knelt down in front of his son, his fingertips coated in the aqueous cream as he prepared to touch the obviously sore skin on the five year olds’ face. He had to do this, Cordelia said he had too but he didn’t want to cause Connor any discomfort.

Anymore than he already had of course. If only he’d locked the entrance then Buffy would never had walked straight inside. His own sensitive skin had been caught a little but that could wait until his son was taken care of. Right now, he didn’t matter.

“I’ll be as gentle as I can, cross my heart” Angel used all his willpower not to give into the newly forming tears in Connor’s eyes as he began to apply the cream to the affected area.

“Ouch!” the little boy grumbled though it didn’t hurt, he just didn’t like the cream.

Slowly, his face was covered in a soothing layer of paraffin mix and the redness began to fade under the healing ingredients of the medical formula. One glance from Angel had Connor lifting the backs of his hands for treatment. “You have to put the cream and bandages on my hands now dad” he instructed, his mom would be proud of him.

Grimly smiling at his son at the offered advice, Angel nodded. “Your mom told me son, you can show me how to do it” though he knew how to apply bandages, the vampire figured Connor wanted to show he could take care of himself.

“Okay, well” the knowing five year old began with a hiccup, “You have place one end at the bottom of my hand here” Connor pointed to the edge of his palm. “Than you have bring the bandage round and round and round my hand and use the tape to stick it with because I don’t like the pins”

“Like this?” Angel followed the instructions, fixing them to make it so the white protective dressing was secure and repeated the same on his son’s other hand. What kind of father am I? I let my son get hurt after three days. Connor would be better off without me, so would Cordy.

Beaming in pride, Connor closely examined his father’s first attempts and looked for ways he could make it better. His large brown eyes no longer shone with tears as he smiled childishly at his dad. Then he remembered his dad was allergic to sunlight and immediate concern took over. “The sunshine hurts you too”

The vampire peered down at his own hands, they were burnt from the light and in much worse state than his son’s but it didn’t matter. “I’ll be okay” Angel told him gruffly, hiding his hands from the little boy’s view “It doesn’t hurt”

“Have some of my cream, it’ll make your hands all better. It smells real bad and it’s real cold and it’s all gooey but mom says anything that bad has be good” Connor told him. “And mom’s always right”

A wry smile quirked Angel’s lips up as he wondered if his son’s cream would help with the already healing sunburn. Deciding to humour the five year old and see if it worked, the vampire re-opened the tub and prepared to lavish his burnt skin in the thick formula.

“Wait dad, lemme do it” Connor dipped his little fingertips into the tub before his father could say otherwise. “I’ll be real gentle, promise” he smoothed the cream over the vampire’s skin on both hands before glancing down in triumph at his work. “Cool, I think I’ll be a doctor and not a drummer”

Angel swallowed against the wave of feeling that near enough crushed his heart. His son, his little five year old son, had shown him nothing but love and kindness after he had failed him. He truly hated himself right at that moment but he vowed to make it up to Connor and Cordelia in anyway he could.

“Listen son” he began seriously, “I need to go downstairs with the lady to talk to her and I want you to be on your very best behaviour and stay up here”

“Why?” Connor asked, blinking inquisitively.

“Because I need to talk to her in private” Angel replied.

“But… Why?”

“She needs to be told off and I have to do that privately”

“Why does she need to be told off? Why do you have to do it? Doesn’t she have a mom?”

“No son” the vampire explained gently the small boy, “Her mom was very poorly and now she doesn’t have a mom.”

Connor blinked again, “Mom says that when people die they go to different places. Like the Indians go to a real big hunting place and the Christmas people go to God and live in heaven. Did that lady’s mom die?”

Angel smiled in fond memory of Joyce Summers, it was only overshadowed by how hard Buffy had seemed to take it. Even now, almost three years on the blonde slayer didn’t seem to be handling it. Not that he could blame her of course, losing your mother must be one of the hardest things to have to cope with. Just like having to cope with the fact of killing your own mother.

“Yes Connor, she did. But she’s not poorly anymore and she’ll be in heaven, just like mom said”

“That poor lady” Connor pouted, that would be horrible. Having no mom to cuddle or make you breakfast in the mornings or hot chocolate before bedtime. “She can share my mom if she wants too” he was sure she wouldn’t mind, after all it didn’t take much to make extra hot chocolate.

“I’ll be sure to tell her son” Angel made a mental note to tell Cordelia how amazing their baby boy was. “Now you be good and stay here, I’ll come get you when it’s okay to come down”

“Alright dad” leaning forward, the little boy gave the vampire a ‘mans’ hug that strictly involved no kisses. Until Angel planted one on his rounded cheek, “Aw you’re worse than mom” Connor grouched, ducking away before he got anymore.

*~*~*~*

At the sound of the vampire’s heavy footsteps on the stairs, Buffy spun round to place a solid blue gaze onto him. Her deceptively fragile arms were crossed defensively over her petite chest and blonde hair hung from a neat ponytail.

Angel made no effort to talk as he walked through the archway and into the back half of the mansion that led out to the garden. He was feeling almost serene, posture was relaxed, his gaze a stunning shade of deep oak and his mouth was quirking upwards. The vampire wasn’t exactly sure where this peacefulness came from, but he was enjoying it.

Just like he was enjoying the loud, rapid thumping of the slayer’s heart, just like he was enjoying the nervousness floating off of her in waves and just like he was enjoying the slight fear that hinted around the edges of the anxiety.

Buffy refused to feel the slightest bit guilty for what happened to the kid, it wasn’t her fault. How was she to know he would be in here? Not that she even gave knocking a second thought but she never had too. The slayer was about to speak when the vampire in front of her suddenly turned around to face her.

Dark oak eyes revealed nothing, expression remained calm and Angel looked as carefree as she had ever seen him be. “Do not raise your voice” he stated in a casual voice, “Say what you have too say and make it quick. My son’s mother will be back soon and I already have to explain why her baby boy has bandages on his hands”

Buffy took a deep breath and locked a serious blue gaze onto rich hypnotic ones. “I don’t even know where to start” her head moved from side-to-side as her hand pressed her forehead before she rubbed her face. “Angel this can’t be serious” she began with where her jumbled up thoughts took her mouth. “You cannot be the father of that kid”

“But I am” Angel stated simply, he wasn’t going to sugar coat anything just so she could feel better. This wasn’t about her at all, this was about Connor and Cordelia, not Buffy and the slayer didn’t like it. “And his name is Connor, not that kid”

“You’re a vampire! It’s impossible for you to have kids” the blonde returned with an expression which clearly showed how she felt at the easy acceptance of Cordelia’s kid as his own.

The vampire merely shrugged, “And yet my son exists”

An incredulous laugh escaped her bubblegum pink lips as Buffy’s blue eyes widened in sheer disbelief. How could he just believe the kid, Connor, was his son? Surely he had to know he wasn’t the father. That was just impossible. “Angel”

“Buffy” Angel returned calmly, not a sign of any reaction came from him as he blatantly refused to give her what she came here for.

The slayer clenched her jaw and took a deep breath through her nose as she gave the vampire a hard stare full of ice. “Angel, this isn’t funny. You can’t let Cordelia tell you that you’re the father. You can’t let ‘Connor’ believe that lie”

“There is no lie for him to believe” he wasn’t ashamed of either his son or Cordelia and he refused to let her make him ashamed. The truth was a stark contradiction to that, he was so damn proud of his son and of how the young mother had brought him up.

Pressing the palms of her hands together, Buffy blew out a deep breath as she decided that anything she said revolving around Connor wouldn’t be listened too. “Where’s Cordelia?” it was a simple, short question spoken in a tone that carried a world of meaning behind it.

“Picking up her car from the Magic Shop then getting some clean clothes for Connor and her until she can take him home tonight” Angel’s lips quirked up a little at the thought of going to their house tonight. After the park visit of course because he had promised.

“She left you to deal with ‘Connor’ on your own when you don’t know anything about his disease?” Inwardly, Buffy knew that was probably overstepping the mark but at this point she had to try anything to get through to him. “Irresponsible don’t you think?”

It took all he had to keep the demon restrained, preventing himself from either snapping her neck or slamming his fist into her face a few times. Angel forced his body to keep the relaxed posture and the calm expression on his face.

“The only irresponsible thing Cordy has done is trust me to take care of our son. I should have locked the door, that’s now in mind for future reference. And he doesn’t have a disease, it’s a genetic disorder”

Ignoring the added comment about her use of the word disease, the petite slayer pursed her lips, not missing his point at all. “I’ve never needed to knock before, how was I supposed to know ‘your son’ was here?”

“That’s the reason the door should have been secure” Angel explained as though he hadn’t picked up on what else she was trying to say. “To stop someone from walking in unexpectedly causing an accident to a little boy like Connor, or to me”

She knew the amount of times she had openly walked into the mansion, allowing harmful sunlight to pour in, sunlight that could either cause the vampire some serious damage or worse. Buffy nodded, giving him that at least since she couldn’t deny she had done that in the past. “I get that”

Angel wondered is she would have kept doing that if the situation with his son hadn’t happened. “Next time, knock. I could be doing anything” and since Cordelia was back in his life, he meant the word anything in the literal sense.

“Don’t you think Cordelia should be here?” Buffy enquired, getting the topic off herself and back to the prior one. She didn’t want hear about all the times she’d invaded his privacy without a thought of the fact she might be interrupting. “After all, Connor is ‘her son’ and her responsibility”

“Connor is my son too, therefore also my responsibility” he remarked easily.

“But you don’t know how to take care of him because you can’t know anything about his disease. If he was my son, I wouldn’t leave him for a second in the care of a stranger”

Angel couldn’t stop himself from visibly bristling at the words. Buffy didn’t have a damn idea on what she would do if Connor was her son. “I’m not a stranger to Cordy, I’m her son’s father and if she can’t trust me to look after him for an hour, who can she trust?”

“That’s not my point” she debated, trying to keep the frustration she felt towards him right now out of her voice and off her face. “My point is Cordelia was so quick to leave her own son in order to do something she wanted to do”

“She went to get clothes for the son she selfishly and carelessly left with his father”

“Right” Buffy pursed her lips again, “How long has she been gone? An hour? Two?”

Angel raised his eyebrow at the blonde who was trying to find fault with Cordelia’s leaving Connor with him. “Why are you trying to find fault with Connor being left with me?”

“Because you can’t see that Cordelia has already started taking advantage of you” Buffy snapped a little, not really caring if she sounded angry and bitter. She had a right to be angry and bitter right now. “She hasn’t even been back for a week and already she has you wrapped around her little finger, willing to do anything she asks”

Angel kept his gaze steady as he inwardly seethed at the crap she was trying to pull with him. “Where Connor is concerned yes, I will do anything she asks because I know it’s for his best interests”

“You trust her that much?” Buffy deadpanned.

“Yes”

“Well” the blonde sighed as she changed the subject to something a little more personal to her. “Cordelia said Connor is five, right? If he’s your son then that means you cheated on me with her”

“There’s a lot more to it than that Buffy” Angel commented seriously, still not giving her any kind of reaction as that would only give her satisfaction that she was still able to get something out of him. “Don’t go throwing accusations around when you don’t have any of the facts”

Blue orbs gazed at him, encasing him in sheer ice. “You have a son who is five years old” Buffy began with the things Angel claimed as fact. “Five years ago, we were together and in love. Now, it comes out that you have a son to someone else, Cordelia Chase no less, and you expect me to believe you didn’t go behind my back?”

“Either you’re not Connor’s father or you did have an affair” she stated matter-of-fact. “Which is it? Either way, one of you is lying and I’m guessing it’s her because I don’t believe that you would lower yourself to sleep with that vapid whore”

“Cordelia Chase is as far from being a vapid whore as you can get” he couldn’t stop the growl that accompanied his defence. “I’m confused here” Angel’s handsome face showed the confusion as he took in the blonde’s heated words and ignored everything but the insult to his son’s mother. “Isn’t a vapid whore someone who sleeps around? Goes with a guy on the first date?”

“The definition you’re looking for is called Cordelia”

“Didn’t you sleep with that guy, Parker was it, on the first date?” He’d meant it when he said that he’d had enough of being talked down too. He refused to stand around and listen to Buffy insult Cordelia or Connor at all. The little boy who had so kindly offered to share his mother with the blonde didn’t deserve to be insulted and neither did the strong, young woman who had raised his son to be a loving and caring child.

Buffy’s face tightened as her eyes grew thunderous, her mouth turned into a grim smile as regret and shame crossed her petite features. “That was a mistake Angel and you know it. I didn’t ask to be used like that, I regret what happened with Parker everyday”

“And Cordy didn’t ask to get pregnant by me” Angel spoke truthfully, he still wasn’t sure how they had been able to conceive but how or why didn’t matter. Not to him and not to the mother of his son. Connor had been born and he was the only thing that mattered, him and Cordelia both mattered. “Vampires are supposed to be infertile, I’m sure Cordy didn’t expect Connor to happen”

“At least we agree on something” it looked like the vampire wasn’t as clueless as he appeared. “If you know that you’re infertile then how come you’re taking the blame for Connor?”

“Operative word being supposed”

She wasn’t getting anywhere with him, she couldn’t get through the fantasy Cordelia had painted for Angel through her kid. Buffy knew all Angel wanted was to be normal, be a part of humanity and having a son gave him part of what he wanted. “If you weren’t infertile then how come you didn’t get me pregnant?” What was she upset about? The fact Cordelia Chase proclaimed to have his child and she didn’t really irked the slayer.

Angel shrugged, “I don’t know just like I don’t know how my son was born” the chances of conception happening on the first go more often than not didn’t occur. He hadn’t slept with Cordelia just the once, it had been over and over and over again. The weekends when there had been no school for her the next day had been spent in nothing less than bliss.

“Shouldn’t the fact that you don’t know how he was born tell you something?” Buffy stared up at the dark haired vampire, pleading with him to see sense and how he was being used by the brunette to play dad for her kid. “If you’re the father and you don’t know then how am I expected to understand?”

“You’re not expected to understand anything since you don’t even know the half of it”

“Then tell me, I deserve to know”

The father shook his head, denying her quest for answers “Not yet, not until both Cordy and I are ready to give the answers you want”

Why was he being so frustrating? Why wasn’t he telling her what she wanted to know? Why was he putting Cordelia before her? Why was he acting like she didn’t matter to him?

Buffy bit back her yell of frustration as she snapped blue orbs away from his impartial face and away from the expression she could never read. “You sleep with her behind my back and yet you want to wait until your mistress is ready before you tell me what I have a right to know?” There was so much subtext in the one simple sentence, so many insults towards the brunette in that one word.

“A mistress is a woman who has an affair with a married man” Angel divulged on the meaning of the descriptive the slayer had used for Cordelia. “I didn’t think we were married back then”

“We were still together. You remember our relationship Angel, I know you do” Buffy’s voice was low and thick with emotion as the memories of her time with the vampire came rushing back with the way the conversation was going. “Yes but we were still in love and if you did sleep with her behind my back then as far as I’m concerned, she is no better than a mistress”

“If I did sleep with her behind your back, then what does that make me?” he asked lightly, she had so much to say about Cordelia being the bad in all of this but what did she have to say about his part?

“The way I see it I’m no better than Cordy, if anything I’m worse for allowing her to lead me astray” Angel found his words particularly amusing considering it had been him who had done the leading not the other way around.

Buffy noticed the quirking of his lips as a smile began to form, “You think this is funny? You think going behind my back with her amusing?” Without realising, her voice had risen in volume and anger.

He resisted the urge to shut her up anyway possible, this wasn’t something he wanted to talk about when his five year old son was just upstairs. “Keep your voice down Buffy, Connor’s upstairs and to answer your question, no it wouldn’t be amusing if I had gone behind your back with Cordy”

“If you never cheated on me with her then how come you’re the father of a five year old?”

“If and when Cordy and I are ready to divulge the sordid little details of our adulterous affair, then you’ll get your answers” Angel refused to say anything to his ex-girlfriend at all. What had happened between Cordelia and Angelus, himself, was a private, intimate secret that neither wanted to be tarnished anymore than it already had been.

Shaking her head, Buffy down right refused to let him off the hook without a fight. “You were obviously a part in her leaving town, was it your idea for her to leave? Hide the fact you got her pregnant? If he’s even yours, which I still don’t believe”

Angel tensed at the way she made it all sound, twisting the situation anyway she saw fit in order to get the answers she thought she was owed. “I don’t care if you believe I fathered Connor or not; I know it’s true, so does Cordy and my son. As long as they believe what’s true, then it doesn’t matter to me what you believe”

“Did you get her to leave town?”

“I let her walk away yes, but I didn’t tell her to leave” Angel simply responded with as close to fact as he could without giving anything away.

Buffy stood in front of the vampire in silence as she contemplated the words he had used, trying to piece everything together so she got some form of answers. “You let her walk away, what did you mean by that?”

“Exactly that, I let her walk away from me” Angel cursed himself for the millionth time for doing that. If only he’d called her back, all it would have taken was three simple words. Don’t go Cordelia that was all and she would have stayed.

“You make it sound like you didn’t want her to leave”

“I didn’t”

There wasn’t much she could say to that. Glancing around the overgrown garden, Buffy couldn’t help but wonder if she had ever been here, standing where she herself was standing now. The thought of Cordelia Chase in his bed with him, his hands covering her body was enough to make hatred bubble up in her stomach.

It was disgusting to think about, Angel and Cordelia Chase, the preppy May Queen and spoilt bitch extraordinaire having sex. No, it wouldn’t have happened, it couldn’t have happened but here he was saying in no uncertain terms that it did.

“What was she like?” Buffy returned her ice cold blue eyes to the silent vampire, shamelessly enquiring about the brunette’s ability in bed. “Pouting lips, heaving bosom? God knows she has plenty of that” acid dripped from her tongue.

Angel wondered how long she was planning to spend trying to get answers she wasn’t going to get until they were ready to be given. “You want the details of my sex life with Cordy? Why? So you can make it sound like that’s all it was?”

The slayer’s gaze never changed, the ice never leaving the blue orbs. “It would have been just sex with her, nothing more” she told him, refusing to listen or believe otherwise. “It wouldn’t have been like it was for us”

“It wasn’t sex between Cordy and I” the vampire was crystal clear on that, his voice never wavering unsurely. Dark oak eyes warmed as his own erotic memories began to surface from the secure place in his mind. “But that isn’t any of your business Buffy so stop asking”

Her jaw dropped to the floor as she spoke in an astonished tone that described exactly how she felt at being told it was none of her business. “Not my business? Excuse me if I think my boyfriend going behind my back is my business”

“Fine” Angel stated with a low growl, “If you want the details of it then you better be sure you know what it is you’re asking.” God, he could tell her in vivid detail where, when and how he had took Cordelia. Could tell her each and every time he had made her body burn with orgasm and could tell her all about the one time she had gotten him to beg for it…

The muscles in his jaw twitched under the intense pressure needed to keep his mouth shut, denying her what she asked of him. Angelus chest rose and fell with deep, controlled breaths as he kept silent. Her blunt teeth softly bit his stomach, brushing her tongue over the bite before moving further up his hardened body.

Cordelia captured a small, dark brown male nipple between her teeth and bit down, sending a blast of pained pleasure straight to his already excited state. “Say it and I’ll give you more”

“Bitch” Angelus’ voice was low, carrying a deadly undertone that matched the ferocious fury blazing in his midnight eyes. He was so fucking hard, having been whipped into a frenzy with teasingly soft, little licks and touches on his entire body only to deny him release.

Her breasts teased his chest while the ends of her hair brushed down over her shoulders to tickle the skin on his arm. Everything added to the onslaught of sensation his body was under. Hot and wet, her body teased his with penetration as his cock became nestled against her core.

“Ah, ah, ah” Cordelia’s voice was light and airy as she drew his lower lip into her mouth, sweeping her hot, wet tongue across the drying mouth. Biting down, the vampire’s body vibrated with a warning growl as he clenched his fingers tight around her upper thighs. “That’s not the magic word”

Angelus’ expression was a show of hatred, rage and lust as he was made to beg for what he wanted. “Please”

“Please what?” Cordelia scraped her core over his shaft as she moved down his body.

All he wanted was her mouth around his cock, sucking him into oblivion. The vampire was in hell, the flames burned from the inside out and it wouldn’t stop until he begged. “Please, use your mouth” his voice was slightly high with the force of restraint.

“Good boy”

Angel snapped out of the memory to find himself shaking, hard and begging for it all over again. Buffy was still stood in front of him, her blue eyes wide as she observed the vampire drift off to somewhere far away where she couldn’t reach him. Her eyes were heating up rapidly as the vampire’s unnecessary breathing began to deepen.

“Thinking about the details?” Buffy’s voice was a shadowed husky whisper of it’s usual femininity, “Or are you thinking about our details?”

The vampire’s self-induced arousal instantly began to recede with the realisation of two things came to mind. One being his son was still upstairs and two Cordelia wasn’t here to get the payback he’d promised for both times. “My thoughts are private” Angel responded praying the brunette would hurry up and come home, “As is my love life with Cordy”

Buffy’s mouth perked up in a sardonic smile as she retaliated against the insinuation that the vampire was already involved in a love with the brunette. “She’s been back less than a week and already she’s making a play for you” she gave a quiet laugh. “And you say she isn’t vapid”

Angel’s gaze narrowed at her, he had stopped counting the number of times the slayer had deemed Cordelia a whore and it was really getting on his nerves. “Buffy, please don’t make Cordy out to be a whore, it does nothing but make me angry” the calm way he spoke gave the slayer chills. There was nothing on his face or in his eyes that told her he was angry.

“Why not? It’s the truth isn’t it?” Buffy shot out at the vampire, having had enough of him not doing anything but defending the brunette and not giving her any signs to how he was feeling. Not that she ever knew how she was feeling but that would be something right she could do with right about now. “You have no idea how many guys she had in school and how many guys she had when she left!”

He knew how many Cordelia had slept with before and after high school. “Yes I do” Angel snapped at her, his arms uncrossing and dropping to his sides where his large hands curled up into hard fists in an attempt not fight with his son upstairs. “Cordy has only ever had one lover and that was me”

“I suppose you believed her when she told you she was miss innocent” Buffy stated with a shake of her head. The brunette cheerleader had flirted and dated all the way through high school, she’d heard the rumours from some of her dates about how great a lay she was. “I heard the rumours Angel but you can be forgiven for believing her because you didn’t go to school”

Angel laughed, actually laughed a full-on genuinely male laugh at her words. “I’m a vampire Buffy” at one point, he had assumed Cordelia was a girl who slept around but he’d berated himself over and over for that judgement. She’d been so tight when he’d taken her virginity she’d bled. “I know an innocent girl”

“I’m sorry but innocent and Cordelia don’t belong on the same page. You never saw the way she was in high school” the slayer snapped at him. “She…”

“She what Buffy?” Angel snapped right back, “Flirted with the football team she cheered for? Dated a few boys? I seem to remember you dating a few guys back in school too, does that mean you slept with them?”

Buffy stared at him, not really believing he was being like this with her. “Don’t you dare put me on the same level as her, I’ve never screwed someone else’s boyfriend” the blonde was positively seething with rage at the way Angel was making her out to be. “Yes I dated guys in high school that doesn’t mean I slept with them”

The vampire smirked as she stated his point clearly and precisely. Raising his eyebrow at his ex-girlfriend, Angel cleared his throat and spoke, wanting to end the conversation before it got any further. “Why is it that Cordelia can’t date without having sex but you can?”

“Because she likes the attention”

“Doesn’t every teenage girl like attention? Isn’t that the very reason why they flirt and date in the first place?”

She was getting nowhere and fast. Angel was talking as though Cordelia was some kind of saint or something, which she certainly wasn’t. He seemed to be blind to her faults and not realise just how much he was tangled around her little finger. Buffy was a little more than angry, she was so far beyond angry she couldn’t see straight for the rage was blurring her vision.

Straightening her body, Buffy took a deep calming breath as she prepared to launch into a speech that gave the vampire a detailed description of just who Cordelia Chase was when Angel stopped her before she could start.

“Don’t even think about it Buffy” Angel stated warningly when he saw the expression he knew so well cross her face. “I won’t let you come into my home and insult the mother of my son anymore than you already have. You’ll get your answers when Cordy and I are ready, not before. Now I strongly suggest you leave before you say anything you’ll regret”

“You’re kicking me out?”

“I never invited you in so I don’t think my suggesting you leave can be classed as kicking you out”

“Fine” Buffy stated simply, “Don’t say I didn’t try to get you too see sense. I hope you enjoy playing happy families with a son that probably isn’t yours.”

Angel couldn’t stop the near-blissful smile that turned the corners of his lips upwards at the thought of being part of a family, his own family. Something he’d never really had in his life. “I’m sure I will, thank you”

At those final words, Buffy gave a slight nod as she shook her head in dismay and turned to leave through the foyer. There wasn’t anything she could say that Angel would listen to, talking to the vampire would only be a waste of breath. He would learn through his own mistakes.

“Go out this way, I don’t want another accident like earlier” Angel nudged his head towards the exit through the overgrown garden. He stood in the same spot as he had been for the last God knows how long, waiting until the slayer had left with a loud slamming of the large gate near the back of the garden.

If Buffy had gone through the foyer, she would have walked directly into Cordelia who had arrived back around ten minutes ago.

*~*~*~*

The dark haired vampire exhaled sharply and ran his hands through the near black spikes as he replayed the entire confrontation over again in his head. Had he defended Cordelia as well as he should have? Angel didn’t think so, but he couldn’t have raised his voice or physically fought in anyway because of his son. If Connor had come down and seen him laying into a girl, who knows what the little boy would think.

Taking a deep and highly unneeded breath, Angel slowly exited the garden through the large arc and timidly walked over to join the young mother sitting on the stairs with a guilty expression marring her drawn features. Hazel eyes flashed with a light show of emotion and her hands shook a little, he guessed she’d been upstairs with Connor and had seen the bandages on the little boy’s hands.

Wearing a simple pair of black pants and an oversized jumper, Cordelia looked dwarfed by the baggy top as she peered up at him through long, dark eyelashes that fluttered. Her defiantly set chin was cupped in both palms while her elbows rested on her knees, espresso curls were tied back from her face and her mouth was twitching from side-to-side. “I didn’t mean to walk in and overhear everything”

She never got an answer when she’d knocked at the front door and so she’d inched inside via the smallest gap she could fit through. Upon hearing the argument between Buffy and Angel, Cordelia had tiptoed upstairs to take clean clothes to Connor. However, when she’d heard Buffy refute Angel was her son’s father the brunette had tiptoed back down fully intent on going in there and saying something.

Angel’s response had brought a tiny grin to her face, Cordelia knew only too well just how sarcastic he could be when he put his mind to it.

Dropping down beside the young woman, Angel curled his heavily muscled arm around her, comforting them both. “I’m sorry for not taking care of Connor” like that one apology made up for putting his only son in danger by not thinking to lock the door. “I should have…”

Leaning her head in the crook of the vampire’s shoulder, Cordelia let herself simply be held by him for a second before replying to his apology. “You have nothing to be sorry for Angel, Connor’s condition takes a lot of getting used to. Believe me” she turned her face up to look at him, shaking her head at the shame all over his handsome face. “If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine for not going over absolutely everything with you before I left”

“I’m a vampire who’s also sensitive to sunlight, I should take better care of myself in that way too” Angel wryly spoke with a twinkle of amusement in the depths of his oak orbs. It was true, he never bothered to keep himself totally safe from the sunlight and he only now thought of wondering why. “At least Connor can’t burst into flames”

“At least you can be in artificial light” Cordelia stated with a smile and expression that asked what exactly it was he had to complain about. “This whole thing is one big, giant mess”

He couldn’t argue with that at all. “If only you’d told me, I would have gone with you”

“If only I’d known what to say to you”

“If only I hadn’t killed…”

Sighing deeply as she relaxed into the tensing body of the vampire admitting to murder, Cordelia had to force her eyes to stay open. “There are way to many ‘if only’ here”

Again, he couldn’t argue with that. “I can’t apologise enough for what happened to Connor” Angel buried his face into the soft tied back strands, inhaling her scent deeply and relished the sweetness of it. Sitting on the bottom concrete stairs was no place to have a serious conversation. “Come on baby”

At his use of the affectionate name, Cordelia smiled dreamily and let the vampire pull her into a standing position. “They’re gonna find out you know”

Angel led the brunette over to the leather chair next to the flickering fire and sat down, watching as she flopped in front of the fire, peering at him through serious hazel orbs. The apples of her cheeks were puffed up with the held-in breath, the rounded shape making her look like an older and female version of his son.

“I know” he agreed, “If they haven’t figured it out already.” The only two that knew for certain Angelus had been the one who got her pregnant was Spike and Faith. Angel could lay odds down that after Cordelia referred to him as Angelus the other night, Willow had an inkling too. “There’s too many gaps in our story Cordy, they’re not stupid. Well, except Harris…”

“Xander isn’t stupid Angel, he maybe a little slow on the uptake but not stupid” Cordelia remarked in amusement. He’d never made it a secret that he didn’t like the dark haired young man. It still amazed her that Angelus had never made it his mission to drive him insane.

The scowl he gave for that defence had her chuckling for a few moments. His forehead furrowed in the middle, scrunching his eyebrows together and the tip of his nose curled up a little. It was too serious of a time to make any light-hearted comments or humorous gestures.

Turning her gaze away from the vampire, Cordelia fixated her eyes on the floor she was sitting on and fiddled with the zipper on her boots. “Do we tell them the truth?”

“Do you want to? I don’t want them getting a worse image than what they’ve already got” Angel spoke quietly, as though he might upset her by accident. That was the stark truth of it, the people that proclaimed to help and not judge until they knew the facts were probably now listening to Buffy’s side of things and going along with whatever the slayer said.

“I’m not ashamed of loving you back then, I never was” Cordelia nibbled her lip, unsure of how Angel would take that. Sure, he was still Angelus but the soul hadn’t been present when they got together and he might feel uncomfortable in knowing how she felt. “I’m still not ashamed and I’m certainly not ashamed that Connor is your son”

She would never know how much those words meant to him. Angel had to bite his tongue hard to keep from showing how he had been affected by her statement. “That means a lot” he said instead, voice thick and husky with underlying emotion. “I’m not ashamed of you and Connor either, no matter what Buffy tries to tell me about you”

“I never slept around Angel, not even after you” she told him unnecessarily with a hint of a smile on her naturally coloured lips. “But you probably knew that”

He couldn’t help the boost to his ego at the confirmation of celibacy. A part of the vampire swore that no other man, alive or un-dead, would be good enough for her while a part of him felt sad because she’d been on her own for five years. To Angel, those five years had seemed like a lifetime, God only knows what they must have felt like to her.

“Yeah, vampire” Angel reminded her with a slight smile, it wasn’t the fact he’d be able to scent another man on her but he would have felt it. “I would have felt it if you had Cordy”

Inquisitive hazel orbs peeked up at him, trepidation written in the bright pools. “Have you, um, has there been anyone else for you?” This wasn’t something Cordelia wanted an answer to but she couldn’t help herself.

Angel shook his head, lowering his own gaze away from hers. “No” when he remembered everything after getting back from hell, all he wanted was her back with him. He couldn’t remember a time when he had needed her more. Except for right now. “Cordy…”

Cordelia’s eyes snapped to his, her mouth parting a little as her breathing began to deepen. Hazel orbs were engulfed by dilated black pupils as his expression instantly changed from seriousness to lust. She watched in silence as Angel joined her on the floor in front of the fire, entranced by the way the red and orange flames highlighted his unnaturally pale complexion. The warm glow made his darkening oak gaze shine like tigers’ eyes, the rich shade brightened by the firelight.

Cupping her face in his palms, Angel stroked his thumbs across the apples of her cheeks before slamming his mouth down onto hers. Raising up onto his knees, the vampire shifted to allow Cordelia to lock her fingers at the nape of his neck, bringing herself in closer.

His tongue swept out to caress her soft, swelling lips as he used his harder mouth to manipulate hers. Angel moaned low, the vibration ran through his chest and made her shiver with sensation. Cordelia opened up to him, dipping the tip of her tongue inside the cavern of his cool yet hot mouth.

Her breasts became crushed up against his chest, the material of her bra and jumper felt rough on the aching sensitive flesh. Angel slid his hands down her face to her shoulders and then glided his touch over the slope of her cleavage to take her breasts in a firm hold. “Baby touch me” he whispered hotly, trailing wet lips down the hollow of her throat.

“Can I come down now? Or is the lady still here?” Connor’s grumpy yell sounded from the top of the stairs, making Cordelia and Angel fall away from each other guiltily.

The young mother touched her tingling mouth with her fingertips, a sheepish smile formed on her kissed lips as she shrugged helplessly at her son’s father. “Oops!”

Angel loved his son, really he did but one of these days, they were going to have a talk about timing. Her hot little hands had been so close to where he wanted them to be and that mouth wasn’t as bruised as he wanted to make it. “Yeah” the vampire spoke in an abrupt tone, “Oops”

“You can come down now Connor” Cordelia hollered back as she straightened her jumper out to look presentable for the five year old. “The lady’s gone now”

“You’re not kissing her are you dad?” the little boy asked in revulsion as he bounced all the way down the concrete stairs, carefully minding the door in case it opened again. “Cus that’s gross. Are you going to work again tonight mom? Dad said he’s still going to the park”

The brunette contemplated going to the Magic Shop that evening. “I’ll call Giles and tell him about my conversation with Buffy” Angel spoke, offering to give her a night free of being badgered. “He’ll understand”

Shaking her head, Cordelia denied she wanted to take the night off. She couldn’t afford to have a night off. “No thanks Angel, I have to face her sooner or later, I may as well get it over with. Besides, I need the money”

“You don’t have to worry about that” Angel told her seriously, she didn’t need to worry about that, he’d take care of Connor and her. He wanted to take care of his son and Cordelia, he loved them. “If there’s anything you need…”

“No Angel, I spent five years learning to be self-sufficient and gain my independence” Cordelia denied his offer of money. She didn’t feel right listening to him offer her financial help, it wasn’t like Angelus buying her gifts this was him giving her hand-outs and she’d never had to do that in her life. She didn’t intend on starting that now.

“But thank you” she smiled so warmly at him that the vampire felt a flush. She was so beautiful when her face lit up like that. “And you, you little monster” Cordelia grabbed her son around his waist and brought him in for huge cuddle, moving them both away from the direct light of the fire.

“Aw mom!” Connor wiggled and wangled but failed in his escape. “Get off me!”

“Nuh-uh buddy! I want smooches and cuddles and everything and you’re gonna give em to me.” Cordelia spent the next few minutes lavishing her son with mom kisses and evil-mom kisses under Angel’s amused gaze. “We can still go to the park but we have to be home earlier than usual, the removal van is bringing our stuff”

Connor’s face went from scowling to elated in a split second as he grinned at his parents. “Alright! I get all my toys and stuff. Dad, are you coming back with us after the park tonight? Please? You can show mom how super strong you are”

*~*~*~*

His son had fallen asleep on the way to Cordelia’s house, having been worn out from their time in the park. Cordelia had also been pretty tired too and had fallen asleep on the couch downstairs. Angel was the only left awake in the quiet house and now he found himself watching the sleeping brunette.

Not sure of the exact time, the vampire just knew it was still too early to be awake. Propping up one elbow, Angel peered down at Cordelia and made himself quite content to watch her sleep. This was one of the things he had missed the most, waking up in the wee hours of the morning and finding his body hot after hours of absorbing heat from the deliciously curvaceous one he was wrapped around.

Everything would be quiet, the only sound would be the human heart beat and steady breathing disturbing the peace.

Though the bedroom would be dark, his vision wasn’t obscured and he was able to take in every inch of her. From the long, straight chestnut hair to the slope of her breasts to the shapely slender leg entwined with a sheet. Her arms would be over his, warm little hands covering larger cooler ones with feminine fingers locked tightly with his.

Angelus had often been overwhelmed but never shied away or tried to deny it; he never had any control over what Cordelia brought out in him and he loved that. Sometimes, he would just lay quietly and enjoy it, other times he would wake her up just to get some attention. Either way, it always ended up with him inside her.

Snapping out his thoughts, Angel once again focused on the sleeping woman next to him and smiled, wondering what she was dreaming about. Maybe it was about him, maybe Connor or maybe it was she was dreaming about something completely different. As long as her dreams weren’t cold, harsh and terrifying nightmares, he was happy.

Cupping his cheek in the palm of his hand, Angel watched as he trailed a fingertip down the sleep-dewed soft skin on Cordelia’s face, smiling lightly when her nose wrinkled in protest. The espresso coloured curls lay haphazardly around the feminine features, softening the defiantly-set jaw line and shaping the already defined cheekbones.

In the darkened bedroom, he could see her with crystal clarity how her lips parted in response to the feel of his fingertips lightly skimming her throat.

His gaze was drawn to the bite mark, hardening at the memory of how her easily his fangs had slid into the butter-soft skin on the delicate throat. Hot, rich liquid had burned as he swallowed, the taste the catalyst the vampire needed for completion given freely from his human lover. Tracing the puncture wounds, Angel felt the pulse throbbing steadily under his touch, enjoying it and indulged himself a little more.

Angel curled his hand around the hollow of her throat, the vibrations flowing throughout his body, causing him to harden as the humanity appealed to his nature. Everything about the female body next to his was an erotic contrast to his; hot to the touch where he was cool, skin was smooth while he was roughened and where she was softly curved, the contours of his body were harder, more refined.

Against him Cordelia stirred in her sleep as he moved closer, a small light murmur escaped the lips as Angel slid his palm down across the gentle slope of her cleavage. She arched into his caress, making him increase the pressure as he curled his fingers around her breast, the material of the shirt he gave her slid off the back of his hand with the move. Angel moaned deeply when he felt his erection slide deliciously into the back of her burning thighs.

The scent of spicy arousal teased his senses, sending a smirk flickering the corners of his mouth up as he placed his lips at the throbbing pulse picking up in speed as her blood pressure began to heighten. Angel revelled in the knowledge he still had that power over Cordelia, the power to make her hunger for him as she slept, the power to make her body rise and the power to bring a muffled moan spilling from her throat.

Opening the few buttons she had fastened, Angel eased the material away from her abdomen and his fingertips glided down the heating body, the roughened skin rasping across the smooth surface of her skin. Perspiration made the natural complexion glisten in the dark. Sweat infused with the scent of sex covered the whole of her body as his cock pressed further into her ass. He wanted it, wanted to fuck her till dawn like he used too, wanted to wake her up with the hard feel of him inside her.

Cordelia whimpered, in her dream he was doing the things he used to do too her. Cool fingertips taunting the sensitive nipples until they were hard and responding to the sensation of his rough play. A hiss worked from her mouth when Angel nipped at the skin of her throat, causing the blood to rush to the surface staining the skin a light purple. Her leg curled over his powerful thigh, allowing his erection to slide into contact with her covered sex; what he was doing felt so real.

“Baby, I’m going to make love to you” the warning was hissed out through gritted teeth before Angel soothed his bite with a slow, hot flick of his tongue. His fingers reached the curve of her mound and he stilled, pausing momentarily as he wondered if she would want him to stop. However, that thought was quickly put to rest when her hips pushed hard on his, moaning his name in her sleep.

Angel slipped his hand down into the cotton panties, squeezing his eyes tightly shut when her neat curls teased the skin on his fingers. A male groan sounded when the silky feel of her sex made his hand wet with arousal; retracting his touch from her panties the vampire brought his glistening fingers to his face. Inhaling the intoxicating scent, Angel flicked his tongue out and teased himself with a simple taste that proved to be not enough to sate his hunger.

Cordelia pushed harder against his cock, bringing an explicit swear from Angel as he wrapped his hand tightly around the female thigh curled over his, leaving finger marks where he squeezed. It wasn’t enough, it would never be enough until he was inside her, fucking hard enough to form tears in her eyes and his name spill from her mouth in a scream. “Angel”

He could scent how badly she wanted him, could feel on his fingers how wet she was and knew how easily he would be able to penetrate her body with one smooth move. Replacing his hand under the cotton panties, Angel gave into the need to tease her sex as he parted the hot folds of her labia making more arousal flush onto his fingers.

The roughened skin on his fingers rasped over the sensitive inner petals as he searched for and found the throbbing pearl-hard bud of her clitoris. Moving in slow circles over the bud, Angel grunted when Cordelia bucked hard against him as he covered her sex with his hand, rubbing the heel of his palm over the exposed bud.

“You want to be fucked don’t you?” he whispered in her ear with an amused lilt in his voice, giving full reign to his desire to play with her.

Pressing his hand firmly over her pussy, using the touch to hold her still he crushed his erection between her thighs, forcing a loud moan from her mouth. Angel paused for a second, trying to hear above her breathy moans to see if his son sleeping in the room across from his had woken. After the assuring silence, the vampire happily continued in pleasuring himself and her.

Dipping his fingers further down, he smirked when her body instantly opened up allowing him to penetrate her body. Angel locked his molten gaze onto Cordelia’s face as he eased inside her, feeling each one of her vaginal muscles contract tightly around his intimate caress.

Any doubts he may have had regarding her being with someone else disappeared as the tight sheath melted around his penetration. “Good girl” she would have been spanked otherwise.

Her breathy moans got heavier as he slipped a thick male finger in and out of the silky velvet alcove, each time the penetrations got a little faster and a little harder. The heel of his palm brushed her sensitised clit and the shaft of his touch stimulated the inner G-spot, bringing sweetly sounding sex noises from her drying lips.

Angel ignored the argumentative moan as he slipped his hand once again from the hot body and moved out from behind her. Turning Cordelia onto her back, the vampire bit back his smirk when he saw the slight smile flutter over her lips she’s awake he was startled to make the discovery not having picked up on it sooner.

How could he? Arousal already had her heart rate up and breathing deep, so had waking up apparently. Angel wondered how far she would let him go.

Spreading her legs open, he skimmed his hands up the inside of her thighs and kept his gaze on her face, watching as frustration mixed with ecstasy as he teased her with a light, fluttering caress that didn’t satisfy. His fingers curled around the cotton panties and, in one flick of his wrists, removed the material keeping her from him.

Angel placed his heavy gaze to the place that held the most interest for him and a wicked smile curled his lips up. In the dark, he could see the intimate red blush that tinted the sensitive flesh as wet heat glistened brightly.

He was so close Cordelia could feel his breathless exhale caused her muscles to hold on too the finger now sliding inside her; her hips arched off the bed as she moaned quietly. Her hands lightly fisted the bed sheet underneath her, tugging every time the pressure inside heightened. Pulling away from her, Angel used a gentle but firm touch and parted the luscious petals to expose every part of her to his hungered gaze.

The exposed clitoris pulsed with blood making the pearl look incredibly tasty, leaning close enough to do just that, Angel darted his tongue out, licking first the bud with a teasing touch before sliding the tip down to the entrance to her body. A harsh groan sounded as the taste of pre-climatic rain hit the back of his throat as he slowly entered her deeply, massaging the heated inner walls with his tongue.

Inside, she was like silk against his rough skin; the velvet walls soothed the cool feel of his touch. His tongue darted into the heated cove, licking every droplet of liquified sex. The heat scalded his mouth as Angel flicked the tip of his tonue up to twirl rapid circles over her distended clit, making her moan softly and her hips jerk off the bed.

Pulling away from the her body, the vampire licked his lips clean of the female spice before using his hand to pleasure her. Cordelia bit back a whimper at the feel of his thick, hard fingers replacing his tongue. Hips arched high off the mattress, forcing his touch deeper inside reaching a place only he knew made her cry out.

Angel wet his own parched lips as he continued to be enthralled by the vision of his fingers moving slowly between her thighs. The soft material of his boxer shorts became painfully tight as it curled around the erect shaft begging for the mercy of release.

Cordelia’s hands had left the bed sheet and moved onto the vampire’s shoulders, the flawless marble skin was soon scored with pink scratches as his penetrations got harder and deeper when she felt him taste her, drinking her in. Her hips arched high off the mattress when Angel covered her sex with the whole of his mouth, his lips taunted the sensitive flesh surrounding the entrance and his thumb began to torment her clit.

Her face was a tight expression of the pleasure her body was receiving, eyes squeezed shut and mouth parted to allow the deep breaths to be exhaled sharply. “Angel…!” At the sound of his name on her lips, Angel increased the pleasure, driving his tongue deeper into the hot cavern and drank every bit of pre-orgasmic liquid falling from the body he wanted to be his again.

He loved doing this to her, making her come on his lips and tongue before taking her hard and fast; he loved to feel the hot flush of climax burn his mouth as he drank deeply and he loved it when she begged to taste herself on his kiss. At the feel of her hands leaving his shoulders, Angel felt his own arousal increase when he watched Cordelia cup both her breasts, stimulating the dusky pink pebbles and turning them into hardened, red peaks.

Clamping down on the need to scream his name in frustration, Cordelia pacified herself to teasing him right back. She remembered how much he loved to watch her bring her own body pleasure, remembered how hard he would come when he made her watch him in return. Her soft fingertips tugged and taunted the responsive buds until throbs shot from her breasts to her clit, exuding more burning rain to pour onto his tongue.

“Don’t stop” Angel pulled away long enough to growl the order at her, the spun gold that previously shone as corona around his crystal orbs now completely engulfed the dark gaze in a hypnotic show of melted gold. His cock was hard, the material of his boxers became increasingly annoying as the softness continued to slide around his shaft, providing no relief from the pressure slowly building in his balls.

It had was so long since he’d been with a woman, since he had been with this woman that he knew there was no way this encounter was going to last.

Cordelia shook her head, it was hard enough to keep her own climax from taking over without him asking her to pleasure herself. “No, if I’m gonna come then I want you hard inside of me, making love to me” she paused as a wicked smirk flitted on her swollen lips. “Fucking me”

In a flash, Angel easily removed the restraining boxers and carelessly discarded the unneeded material over the side of the bed. “You asked for it” a roguish grin quirked up his mouth as his body blanketed hers, the sheets falling completely away from him. Cordelia reached down and pulled the sheets back over his lower body, somehow thoughts of her son swept through her clouded mind

“Connor” she mouthed in answer to his quizzical expression. A responding grin crept along the vampire’s face and he nodded in full agreement. “Be quiet”

Threading her fingers through his ruffled dark hair, Angel didn’t wait for her to initiate the kiss. Crushing his lips to hers, he swallowed the moan that came when his erection slid down her sex, the shaft grazed the pearl hard clit and the tip teased her body with penetration. His tongue tasted of her and Cordelia relished it, sweeping her hotter tongue over his, she succumbed to his domination with pleasure.

The feel of her rasped against his excited state, adding the already painful pressure in his balls as Angel pressed his hips down into the burning cradle of her thighs. She bucked up, lips moving away from his to gulp in oxygen he had stole and she hissed when his hand touched moved down her body. “Please?” she hated begging for anything, it was against her nature to beg but he always seemed to warrant it.

“Please what?” Angel hissed, nipping her lower lip with blunt teeth then soothing the bite with a loving lick of his tongue. “Please do this?” he took his shaft in a firm grip, circling her clit with the tip of his cock before sliding down the sensitive labia until he felt the soft velvet of her body begin to envelope him.

Not penetrating deeper, the vampire purposely waited for Cordelia to answer him. A wicked smirk faded as quickly as it appeared.

Instead of giving him what he wanted, Cordelia wrapped her long, shapely legs around his waist and locked her ankles securely at the top of his thighs. A sinful grin quirked her mouth up and her eyebrows quickly rose and fell. Using her more feminine muscles she pulled him down on top of her, biting her tongue to keep from moaning loudly when his sex slid inside.

Deep inside, the heat burned hotter than the sun; scalding him with molten liquid as pre-climatic rain made her unbelievably slick. So wet and so soft, Angel found no resistance to the deep penetration. Soft, velour walls closed around his shaft, gloving his sex in a world of torturous bliss.

A wave of agonised bliss was expressed on his face as crushed, wet velvet encased his erection in a furnace of searing heat. Breathing unnecessarily heavy, Angel held still as the pressure in his balls grew unbearably. Withdrawing from the tight sheath, the vampire slowly penetrated, grunting when the hotness once again engulfed his aching cock. “Oh God!”

His fingers dug into her hips trying to keep her from bucking up until he had some semblance of control over his body. Angel wanted nothing more than to let go and go wild on the body beneath his, wanted to dominate and prove he still owned her. A feral expression replaced the bliss as he began to smoothly glide in and out of the feminine alcove.

Cordelia tried to move but his hands held her hips firmly against the mattress. Want you in deeper, her thoughts rang out loud and clear on her ecstatic expression as Angel ground into the intimate setting. Penetrating with a slow thrust that stimulated the G-spot with expert precision, whimpering when he hit the place that made her body weak.

Around each hard inch of his shaft, Angel felt her muscles contract viciously every time he pushed inside. It was so fucking good, feeling all that hot wetness just showering down on him, coating him in pure liquid fire as his thrusts got harder. When he allowed her body to move with his, the stimulation for him was enough to bring the demonic change to his handsome features.

For a second, the vampire paused wondering if it would make a difference to how she felt about him, maybe she would only want the demon. The demon that had originally captured her heart five years ago.

“Stop and I will kill you” Cordelia growled in frustration when the pleasure invading her body momentarily ceased. The scowl on her face softened when she saw Angel turn away from her, no doubt trying to hide the change. “Angel, don’t be an ass” now was no time to sooth and boost his ego, “I don’t care about that. What I do care about is taking advantage of a No-Connor moment”

The spun gold gaze that returned to lock with her melted toffee ones sparkled with unbridled lust and something she didn’t, couldn’t, understand. Angel pushed up on his hands so the weight of his body was no longer crushing hers. Low growls were emanating from the vampire’s throat as he did nothing more than look at her through hypnotising orbs.

Fangs glinted a deadly white as he smiled down at her, appearing the predator he was. His forehead, nose and cheeks were made prominent as the demon visage completely took over as the soul relinquished the tight leash on it’s demon. Withdrawing from her body, Angel ignored Cordelia’s frustrated expression and pushed her onto her side.

He liked this position, it allowed him to feel every inch of her body and still left him dominant of her pleasure.

Curving her slender leg high over his thigh, Angel slipped his hand from her feminine muscle and located the body he had left unsatisfied. The heat burned his fingertips as he entered her, causing Cordelia to muffle her moans. “Like that baby?” he whispered, his panting breath a cool breeze on the nape of her neck.

“I’d like it more if it was you” she turned her face to peer over her shoulder at the vampire. A little smirk flashed across her face that quickly turned into a tight-lipped moan when the feel of his masculine fingers moved faster. She was already close to climax from the oral stimulation and coming without him deeply inside was not going to happen. “No, want you inside”

Cordelia hissed and moaned with the loss of pleasure as Angel slipped his fingers slowly out from between her thighs. Licking the spilled liquid from his thick digits, the vampire’s chest vibrated with a low growl as he gripped his hard shaft firmly and moved to touch her core with the sensitive tip.

Instantly, she relaxed the velveteen muscles and opened up to him instinctively. Squeezing his eyes tightly shut, Angel muffled a male moan against her neck at the feel of being gloved in the hot sheath. Each and every part of her hugged him, holding his cock in a tight wet fist and refused to let go. “Baby!”

Oxygen clogged up in her throat as he filled her, the tip of his erection touching her cervix. “Deeper” Cordelia’s voice was muffled by the pillow as she clenched a handful of the cushion in her shaking hand. “More” she wanted a lot more than what he was giving.

Slamming her hips back into his, the brunette choked back the scream caused by the sensation of his cock stimulating her inside out. The tip of his sex crashed directly against her cervix, sending a stinging wave of pained pleasure through her and his shaft massaged the raised, sensitive G-spot.

The roughened skin on the pads of his fingertips rasped over the hard bud of her clit while her softer fingertips closed over his free hand, securing his hold on her breasts. Angel clenched his jaw tight, moving in a way that had the hot, lithe body writhing in his arms. His cock repeatedly crushed inside her, movements were graceful and almost fluidic as he took possession of her.

Cordelia couldn’t breath or think straight, the vampire was determined to send her over the edge. Driving hard and high inside her, Angel groaned a little loudly when the alcove began to cave around his shaft, drenching his thighs and balls in liquid sex. His fingers rubbed her clit, sliding down the desire-swollen petals to touch the over-sensitised inner folds.

Her fingernails dug sharply into his hand as she bucked back, pushing so hard into the intimate setting of his male thighs she made the vampire choke back a high-pitched moan. Orgasmic vibrations ran like shockwaves through her body, causing the velveteen walls to pulse as climax began to take over. This was what he wanted, her in his arms and coming hard.

“Come for me baby, let go” Angel whispered that, and other naughty words, into the shell of her ear as he fucked her in an almost punishing way. Feral, animalistic and carnal, the vampire just wanted to possess what had been lost to him. The hand on her breast moved up to smother her mouth when she started to involuntarily get louder.

She was getting to tight inside he found delicious resistance to each move he made. Having to struggle to keep from moaning loud every time he pushed past the deliciously soft resistance, Angel buried his face completely in the crook of her neck. A hot shower of climatic rain soaked his cock and fingertips teasing her sex. “Oh God Cordy!”

Whimpering behind his hand, Cordelia reached round to clutch his shoulder for purchase as the orgasmic throbbing got harder, his penetrations got deeper and he seemed to swell inside. Her muscles tightly fisted his shaft, holding him in place and refusing to let go. Then her body went stiff, hazel eyes closed against everything as she fell, taking Angel with her.

His balls tightened with the building pressure as he rode her through the climax that had her screaming into the pillow. Angel felt her crack wide open, shattering around him as his movements became frantic. Driving into her body repeatedly, he groaned as the pressure grew intensively before he snapped.

Back arched into hers, his hand stilled as his hips pushed once, twice more before his fangs sank into the delicate flesh protecting her jugular. Thick, red and delicious human blood raced into his mouth, coating his tongue in an elixir more precious than anything else. Tasting of orgasm, of softness and of the spice only Cordelia possessed. Angel drank as he ejaculated in long, sharp painful bursts that left his body reeling under the relief.

The only sounds in the quiet bedroom were her heavy breathing and pounding heart as the afterglow of love making bathed them in a heady tranquillity. Angel licked the puncture wounds free of stray blood droplets, delighting in the unique flavour before curling his arms around the brunette.

“Sssh” the vampire whispered when he felt Cordelia go to speak, “Sleep baby, we’ll talk tomorrow.” There wasn’t anything to be said.

“Angel” she turned her head to look at him through glazed hazel orbs, “I’ve never stopped loving you.” That was all she wanted to say and hoped it wasn’t too much for him right then.

Angel simply smiled aloofly at her, his still golden gaze heated with every emotion possible. Silently, he thanked God that when he got his soul back Willow had made it permanent. “We’ll talk tomorrow baby”

Snuggling back under the covers, Cordelia sighed in deep contentment when his arms wrapped completely around her and the vampire tucked her in. “Okay” before she had even finished the word, she was sound asleep leaving Angel awake, happy to watch her.

 


…THE END…


SAGE’S CHALLENGE:
Angel/Cordy
Buffy/Xander
Spike/Faith

Some B/A and Willow/Cordy/Faith Friendship
The Calling Blessing of a Child
Angel and Cordy have a Son but Angel doesn’t know Because Cordy left, The child has a strong Irish name.
Have Cordy come back Four of Five years later.

BTVS/Angel Cross over
Cordy’s POV but can change to Angel’s or Buffy’s.
Dark Fic, Happy Ending Angelus was the one that Got Cordy Pregant.
Track 9 of Limp Bisket Album


 

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