Amorous Cruelty

SUMMARY: AU. Angel never went to L.A. and never broke up with Buffy. Cordelia did leave, and comes back after four years there. Angel falls into depression and boredom in his relationship with Buffy and forms a friendship with Cordelia and a maternal bond with her baby.
POSTED: 27 Dec 2003
CONTENT/PAIRING: B/A, C/A (I am a C/A shipper, but for a good part of this story, it’ll be C/A friendship.)
AUTHOR NOTES: Since it’s begun at the end of Buffy Season 7, pretty much the whole series. But the story is AU so some things have changed (i.e. No Riley!)
STATUS: Incomplete

Part One

Things weren’t supposed to be like this—everything was supposed to be perfect, everything was supposed to feel perfect. But it wasn’t, which severely hurt Angel as much as a stake through the heart would. He was human now, and glad for it. But he felt as if there was still a part of him missing.

He had lived for more than two centuries, and had always been able to hide that sense of longing for a family. A blood family, not a circle of friends that supported him, but a devoted, loving family that he could call his own. Maybe it was the mournful remembrance of that night he murdered his immediate family. Or maybe it was the fact that all that kept him from a family was his vampiric state. Whatever it was, it still was there, floating around inside of him, churning to come out.

He forced a smile and feigned interest as he lifted his whine glass to clink with the others. They began talking and reminiscing, hardly taking notice that Angel wasn’t even listening to them. So it wasn’t a surprise when Angel excused himself and made his way out onto the front porch. He took pleasure in breathing the cool night air, but even that pleasure was tainted with confusing and longing. He turned for a second to look in the window to see his friends sitting around the table, laughing and enjoying the time spent with one another.

A voice came from behind, surprising startling him. “Mind if I join you?” It was Alexander Harris, a slightly goofy brother-like friend to Buffy, and he also preferred to be called Xander, which to Angel, didn’t sound any better. Angel just turned away and gazed out across the street,
pensively taking each object into consideration.

When he didn’t hear Xander leave, he let out a sigh and whispered to himself more than to the man. “It’s a little unbelievable to think that there are no more Vampires in Sunnydale.”
Xander didn’t answer, which Angel proffered over feigning interest in one of the man’s tedious exploits. The two just stood there, absently looking around and ignoring the bursts of laughter from the dining room.

Silently, their thoughts met each other in the middle. Silently, the two men shared their grief and confusion.

* * *

He wasn’t surprised when he realized that he was ignoring Buffy when she was talking to him. It didn’t surprise him when she started to do what she always did: argue that he never listened whenever she had something important to say. Which was true, partly. She never had anything important to say, at least not in the recent weeks and months.

The fact was, over the years, Angel was forced to endure meaningless and pointless conversations that didn’t do Buffy justice. She was a smart, beautiful girl, but the fact that on many occasions she acted less mature and more childish then she should, was enough to cause Angel to be medicated for constant migraines. But Buffy didn’t know that, and Angel wasn’t intending on letting her know.

He wasn’t looking for sympathy with his circle of friends, he never thought to use that option. They were entirely happy at the moment, perfectly blissful if you must. No more Vampires, the Hellmouth is gone, they defeated the Master. Angel had heard the story a million times, and frankly, he was getting pretty sick of it. Sure it was an accomplishment, and a deed like that is worthy of being mentioned. But it once Buffy and them started using it as an excuse to ignore other things in life, then it started to sicken Angel.

He wanted something more than this, something more than Giles, Willow, Xander, Dawn and Buffy. Angel winced at the thought. He cared for them all more deeply than possible, but deep down inside he knew they didn’t feel the same way. Even Buffy’s affection seemed strained around him.

Every once in a while, Angel would get bored and head up to the attic or down to the basement and look through some old relics. He would find old yearbooks from Sunnydale High where Buffy attended. The smell of the old, moldy paper surprisingly struck memories in Angel’s head. Memories of how Buffy was in high school and how she was now. The two were eerily similar. Sure, in a sense Buffy was mature now that her mother is gone and she has the responsibility of Dawn.

But then again…She has Angel himself or Xander drive her to school most of the time, and has Willow and Giles to watch after her if she’s out late. Every time those thoughts surface, Angel slammed the yearbook closed and packed it away; only to open it again the next day. Talk about a case of De’Ja Vu.

Angel’s head shot up, and his hand automatically rose to wipe the drool from his mouth. Looking around, he was sorely disappointed to see that he was in bed, naked and his clothes were strewn across the table. Though the passionate night was pleasing in physical sorts, the emotional bonding two lovers should share was absent. Again, this was no surprise to Angel as he sat up. The smallest thing possible bugged Angel the most as he walked over to his clothes. Though they were messily thrown on the table, they were EXACTLY arranged in the way they were the night morning before.

He shook his head, ignoring it and telling himself not to read into it as he slipped on his pants. After a few moments, he realized that Buffy was in the shower and quickly exited the room when he heard her call his name.

“Next time check the zipper,” he heard Giles mumble before slurping down his tea. But the statement seemed muddled to Angel as he stumbled to the cabinet and took out a cup. It had his name on it, which forced a ghost of a smile to play at his lips. It was a Shanshu present from Dawn. Though tacky to most, it was a generally heartfelt present.

He groaned as he noticed the sword hanging on the wall in front of him, one of his obvious gifts. “Good morning,” he forced out of his mouth, but noticed that Giles had already left the kitchen and he was alone.

A shrill rang came from where the phone was, and Angel lifted his heavy arm to grab it and pick it up. “Summers house,” he answered as politely as he could muster. But it was the wrong number, which further annoyed Angel as he roughly hung up.

He ignored Dawn as she walked in and greeted him. He had no time for small talk, it was time he looked for a job. The thought made his stomach turn upside down. Besides killing demons and atoning for the past century, Angel had never actually had a job before. It was a chillingly scary endeavor, but he was willing to take it. As long as it took him away from the house for a while.

Buffy walked in with a bright smile on her face, “Why didn’t you join me in the shower?” Angel ignored her, forcing a grin and laid a kiss on her forehead before slumping into the nearest chair and gulping down his coffee. He looked up at the clock before returning to his drink. “You’re late for work.”

Buffy laughed, “Oh, it’s just a counseling job…I’m sure after the whole world-saving thing I deserve a little vacation.” She wrapped her arms around him and licked his ear. Angel shook his head, waking himself up before pulling away from Buffy.

“You can’t skip your job and leave them unnotified,” he gruffly pointed out, opening the door and leaving.

He slammed his coffee cup on the deck outside when he heard Buffy as Dawn what was wrong. Angel rubbed his head thoroughly, sick and tired of it.

“Monotony’s a bitch,” He growled.

Part Two

“Your resume seems a little—short.”

Angel feigned a grin and sat up straight, “I got paid under the table by my uncle to work with him.” He didn’t care if he was lying, and he didn’t care if this was a stupid banking job. Even if it meant answering phones all day, Angel knew it’d be better than being stuck in the Summers house with Buffy prancing around telling everyone how she saved the world.

He bit his lower lip, not at his negative thoughts of Buffy, those were practically normal, but by the expression on the man’s face. It was a mixture of contemplating decisions and doubt.

Luckily, the man returned his attention with a grin that, though strained at first, seemed genuine. “You’ve got the job, is next Monday alright?”

Angel leaned forward, “I could start sooner, if you like?” He knew he was starting to sound forward and a little like an over-acheiver, but it seemed as if anything that was positive would help him in this scenario. But the man denied his offer, saying Friday was the soonest he could get him in. Fighting the urge to give the man a good punch, Angel nodded and shook hands on it, squeezing the man’s hand a little tighter than he should have.

* * *

Angel edged into the living room, noticing quickly that all of the original Scooby Gang was present. He swallowed hard and puffed out his chest, proudly walking openly into the room. Xander stood up and looked at him with a suspicious flicker in his dark eyes. “What’d you want to talk to us about?”

“I wanted to ask if it’s alright if you can take up my part as Carpooler?”

Xander nodded slowly, not quite catching on. “What, is Dawn too much to handle?”

“No,” Angel spat back, looking back at Buffy, then to the rest of the gang. “I got a job.”

Everyone’s reactions were quite different at first, Willow and Giles were quite relieved and happy that Angel was successful as something more human. While on the other hand, Xander was a cross between giddy that Angel was going to be around less and confused at how any person in their right mind would hire him. But Angel didn’t even really care about any of their opinions, no matter if they were as positive as Willow, who was doing a victory dance. He didn’t even flinch when Buffy walked up to him, not one bit.

“How come you didn’t tell me you were looking for a job?” she asked, her lips becoming pouty and her eyes watering. Angel held back an eye-roll. As he silently thought to himself, Why must we do this now? He quietly replied, “I don’t have to tell you everything.”

As if slapped in a face, Buffy stepped away from him and just glowered at his impassive face. Angel nearly cracked up at the fact that he won a bet between himself and himself that Buffy would be pissed off. Predictability was a turn-off for Angel.

* * *

The next few weeks were the best for Angel, for he worked long hours and didn’t return home until everyone was asleep, which relieved him of hearing the pointless squabbles that would have normally ruled his day. He got paid a good price for 8-hour job. Money wasn’t a problem for him. Not even listening to people complain that their credit card limit must be raised bugged him. The job was tedious, but it was different.

It was normal. It was human.

It was a normal, dull Tuesday when Angel began with a brush of the hair and a drop of gel. It was all going fine, he was working full time, he didn’t have to force himself to be with Buffy every night and he met quite a few interesting people.
In fact, when the usually pointless day turned thrilling, it was when he met a blast from the past.

Angel bent down to pick up the strewn paper work, politely ordering it all before standing back up to hand it back. Luckily the woman had the papers in her hand or else Angel would have dropped them. “Cordelia Chase?”

“Angel?” She asked back, her soft voice echoing in the near dead-silent bank room. “Oh my god, it’s been forever.”

“Yes, it has,” he motioned to the suit he was wearing and grinned. “How are you? I mean, you look very…” he was looking to compliment the always stunningly beautiful young woman, only to be cut off by a lump in his throat as he noticed a bump in her belly.

A large bump, in fact. He swallowed hard and finished, his voice no louder than a whisper. “Pregnant.”

* * *

After the initial shock, Angel ended up inviting Cordelia to lunch with a polite gesture and a genuine grin.

Once seated, Angel was surprised at how easily the two laughed as they reminisced about their difficult past and how different they were from how they used to be. It was weird how easily acceptable Cordelia was about Angelus, claiming that she had forgotten about the entire endeavor. “I mean, yeah you were vicious, but it wasn’t your fault.” Angel held back a creepy, spine-chilling shiver as the perfect answers kept coming. Though uncanny at first, Angel grew quite comfortable with the style of exchange between the two.

Cordelia was noticeably different. She was oddly mature and a lot quieter than her former high-school persona. A deep sense of longing shone in her eyes as her soft voice continued her tales of Los Angeles, the City of Angels. She ironically pointed out, “I couldn’t imagine you in a big city like that.” At first he didn’t know what she meant, but after a few confused moments, he grasped the fact that she was kidding and burst into laughter, along with her. Though it seemed a little silly to be laughing at such a thing, Angel took the moment into consideration as the laughing continued.

He listened diligently as she went on about how she came to become pregnant. Angel’s eyebrows rose when she admitted to the fact that the man was demon; half-demon to be exact. “His name was Doyle,” she finished, a somber look on her face. He had died a month or two ago and it seemed to still hurt her as she remembered the life she led. “It wasn’t perfect and there wasn’t a lot of money, but he was the sweetest man alive. And it was enough for me.” Her voice broke as she stopped, sipping down the last of her water, and averting her eyes.

But she blinked away the wetness in her eyes and a big, bright smile crossed her tan skin; a toddler giggled and walked passed, looking perfectly innocent. “But enough about me, how are you?”

“Well, as you can see I work at a bank,” Angel motioned behind them where the bank was a few blocks away. “And also,” he added, pointing up at the sun. “I’m human.”

“Can’t beat that,” she laughed. Her chuckle made Angel’s heart do something it hadn’t done in years, leap. She licked her lips and patted her belly, causing Angel to further his interest.

“What the name?”

“It’s bad luck to name a baby before it’s born,” Cordelia pointed out, still smiling as her eyes locked with Angel’s. “I’ll think of a name when it comes to me.”

“It’s got to be something of important, remember that now.” Angel leaned back and flippantly tapped his fingers on the table, only to look down at his watch and see the time. “Holy crap,” he ignored the looks from passerby and looked around. “Did you know we’ve been sitting here for four hours?” he laughed at the thought. “I haven’t talked for that long in a while.”

Cordelia held her hands up to her mouth and frantically apologized, “It’s my fault, and I kept talking about myself, god I can be such a gabber sometimes.”

Angel shook his head, “I loved talking with you and if you ever need help with your bank work, I can hook you up with someone real nice.”

They both stood up, Cordelia still grinning at Angel. “Someone nicer than you? Not possible.”
“Where were you?” Buffy asked, jumping out of bed and walking over to Angel. “You were supposed to be home hours ago.” She roughly brushed the blonde hair out of her eyes and gave him a defiant look. But it didn’t faze Angel as he walked past her.

Angel ignored her, biting his tongue to hold back a rude retort. He roughly undid his tie and threw it on the nearby chair, his teeth clenching as Buffy continued her inanity in a loud, shrill voice. He tuned her out with a Barry Manilow classic playing in his memory and slipped into some pajamas and quickly fell asleep with no hopes that tomorrow would be better. Because Angel knew, with the arrival of a possible friend, today was a good day.

And damn hard to beat.
Angel tapped his finger impatiently as he slouched in his chair, listening to the tediousness of the man’s tone and story. “Look, I know you’d like to have the max thing a ma-jig raised on your credit card, but you can’t keep doing this, it’s not good for your…health.” The statement sounded inane even to Angel as he bit his
lower lip and continued to tap his finger.

Letting out a sigh of relief when the phone call finally ended, Angel threw the headset off to the side and grabbed a magazine. A grin played at his lips as he read a few interesting articles on tans and such. With the human part of life now available to him, Angel had to admit that getting a tan and eating junk food was a good thing to look forward to. He licked his lips as he reached the nutritional part of the magazine with the variety of tasty fruits such as strawberries.

Suddenly, a soft and enthralling fragrance crept into the room and Angel lowered his magazine, looking around slowly to identify where it came from. A few seconds passed before he finally looked outside to see Cordelia approaching the door, only to jump out of his seat when he saw her knocked down by a passing biker.

He threw himself through the doors, opening them frantically and knelt down beside her. “Are you alright?” he asked, brushing the hair out of her eyes, and checking for any scratches. He lightly grabbed her hand and placed his other on the small of her back for support when he helped her up.

Ignoring the redness in both of their cheeks, Cordelia shook the pain away with a strained smile. “Thanks.” She looked down at her belly, “Yep, still there.”

Angel laughed, and after a few seconds noticed that he was still holding her hand. He casually pulled away, “Were you headed for
the bank?”

“Well, I need some cash for this place I’m planning on buying.”

“You don’t have a place to live yet?” Angel was shocked at the thought of it.

“I’m staying at the Hotel,” she pointed to the one across the street. The grubby-looking building seemed hardly capable to stand against a small wind.

Angel swallowed hard, “Whoa.” He winced at how stupid of a remark it was, and stuttered to respond. “Why don’t you come stay with me?”

Her eyes widened at the suggestion, “No offence, Angel.. but we haven’t spoken in four years, and you’re nice and I hope we can be friends…”

Angel held his hand up, “I get it, it’s alright.” He forced a smile and laughed to relieve the tension. “How much do you need for the apartment?”

“More than I have,” Cordelia sighed. “Which is why I need a big fat loan.”

Angel nodded, awkwardly averting his eyes. “I’ve been only working here for a little while, but I’ll see what I can do, alright?”

Part Three

Two weeks passed by after that day on the street, and Angel had put in several recommendations, only to be utterly ignored by his superiors. Holding back his visceral anger, Angel just nodded along to his managers when they explained that not everyone gets what they want. “Whatever you think is right, sir.” Every time he forced out those words it ripped a bit out of his heart, disgusting Angel deep inside. What had he become? Just another push-over human? Is this what being a human is like?

Sure, being able to go out in the sun is an advantage, but at what cost? On the verge of gagging, Angel stepped outside to get some fresh air. He held back a yelp of surprise when Giles popped up from behind. “Hey,” Angel muttered, purposely not making eye contact and feigning interest in something off in the distance.

“I have some somber news,” Giles bowed his head, his voice quiet. “I’m returning to England, for good.”

“Again?” Angel asked, holding back a laugh as he allowed a sly smile to creep onto his face. The native-British man’s departure was no new news to Angel as they stood there together. Giles had left several times before, and as insolent as it was, Angel couldn’t find a smidgen of sensitivity or concern in his entire soul.

Giles shook his head and laughed, finally catching on. “I guess it is no surprise to you, or anyone for that matter.” The man’s voice broke, obviously disappointed at the lack of gloominess.

Angel held back an eye-roll as he feigned a tinge of consideration, “They care, we all care.” With a pat on the pack and a nod of appreciation, Giles left Angel to be alone: thankfully.

* * *

Removing his coat and letting out a breath of relaxation, Angel attempted to force the million thoughts and emotions out of his mind. But his endeavor proved challenging as he slouched into the nearest chair. Cordelia drifted into his thoughts; her troubles were at the top of his list when the image of her pregnant physique floated into his mind. He wanted to help, but he didn’t know why. He hadn’t spoken to the woman in four years, and even before that they were hardly on speaking terms. It was ironic and uncanny, which frightened Angel even more.

He shook his head vigorously, reminding himself that it was crazy to think such things. But he couldn’t help it, no matter how hard he tried. Cordelia had an aura about her that seemed so…sisterly. He felt the urges normally felt by an overlooking brother worrying about his baby sister, and the weird thing was: he liked it.

Angel glanced into the kitchen to see Buffy flippantly breezing through one of her cosmo magazines and Giles drinking his tea. And it was that moment that he realized that he needed something new in his life and something that was his own.

He nearly choked on his own spit when Willow jumped onto the arm of the chair he was sitting in. “Hey,” she chirped, a bright smile spread across her face as if she knew something he didn’t. “How are you doing?”

“Fine,” Angel replied as politely as he could muster, staring at her directly in the eye. He firmed his jaw and held back the urge to growl, “And you?”

Her smile flickered, “I’m doing okay, with Kennedy gone it’s a little…” She sighed, forcing herself to continue. “I’m just still a little shaken up about the whole-”

“It was five months ago,” Angel blurted out in a small, gruff whisper. “I understand the significance of the situation, but life goes on.” He could hear the words repeating themselves in his head and he didn’t bother to correct himself, even when he realized how rude he was.

“I was actually trying to say that I was a little shaken up about Giles leaving,” She laughed and shook her head, her checks turning as red as her hair.

The answer didn’t really matter to Angel as he rolled his eyes and forced himself out of the chair. He was a little tired of the melodrama in the house. For god’s sake, he loved the whole lot of them, but they all needed to stop being so full of themselves and think about the future and of other people.

Dawn blocked his way when he started up the stairs, her nose high in the air as she gazed at him. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“Upstairs,” he shot back at her, nearly shoving her out of the way.

Dawn held her hand up and pushed him back down the stairs, “Not right now, we have something to show you.”

Before too long, Angel found himself dragged into the kitchen, where the only lights that were on were coming from the several candles on the cake before him. The whole group was standing with fake smiles and singing Happy Birthday to him. He feigned appreciation. He had almost forgotten that his birthday was in the morning, it wasn’t too much of a deal to him, he hadn’t ever really celebrated it.

* * *

After an hour or two of small talk that had nothing to do with his birthday, which wasn’t surprising, Angel gave up and left the room unnoticed.

Thank god Xander had recently started smoking to relieve the stress, or else Angel wouldn’t have had an excuse to walk out onto
the front porch. And thankfully so, because after he threw the cigarette away in disgust, Angel breathed in the soothing fresh air of night. He sometimes missed being a vampire, having the longevity and how refreshing it was to breath the coldest of air in the middle of the night.

Shaking his head at the thought, Angel sat himself down on the step and gazed up at the stars. Luckily, he was distracted from some unwanted deep thoughts by a familiar fragrance. “Hey,” a soft voice came.

Angel focused his eyes to see it was Cordelia, who’s clothes hung loosely on her and seemed a bit raggier then before. After a few moments, Angel whispered back to her. “Hey.”

Cordelia struggled with her bulge while sitting down next to Angel, letting out a groan with every movement. Once settled in next to him, she grinned at her struggle. “Being pregnant is a bitch.”

Angel laughed out loud, a thing he hadn’t done in the past two weeks. “I’m sorry about the loan, I tried to-”

“That’s not why I’m here,” Cordelia cut him off quietly, looking down at her swollen feet. “I know it sounds a little selfish for me to ask you this but…”

“You need a place to stay,” Angel assumed, sighing. “I think it’s a good idea, if you ask me.”

“That’s actually not what I was thinking about,” said Cordelia, her mouth twitched nervously. “I had to sell my car to pay for the next few months in the Hotel, and I have a doctors appointment tomorrow and I was wondering if you could give me a ride?”

Angel nodded, not really responding as he pursed his lips.

“I feel really egotistic being here asking you for something,” Cordelia struggled to stand up, almost falling backwards if it weren’t for Angel moving to catch her.

For a moment, their eyes met and an uncertain flicker appeared in their eyes for a split second before Angel said to her, in no more than a whisper. “What time?”

Part Four

Angel didn’t mind lying to Buffy about skipping work to help Cordelia; in fact, he didn’t feel bad about not telling her that Cordelia was even in town. He figured that she wouldn’t give a damn about anything to do with Cordelia. The two weren’t quite friends in High School, so Angel didn’t bother mentioning it.

“Hey,” he called as Cordelia neared his car looking frantically in her purse.

“Thanks for doing this,” She mumbled, absently putting on her seat belt when she finally sat in the car. Her hair was primped and made her even cuter, Angel thought to himself as he started the engine again. Angel didn’t notice the abnormality of thinking such things; it seemed too natural to think anything of it.

“How did you sleep?” Angel asked after a few awkwardly silent moments.

“I woke up pretty early,” she answered, turning off the radio and turning to Angel. “Morning sickness is a makeshift alarm clock for me.”

After chuckling for a few moments, Angel cleared his throat. “I woke up pretty early too, I didn’t want Buffy to know that I wasn’t going to work today.”

“Buffy? Wow, I forgot all about her,” Cordelia rolled her eyes and finally admitted. “Actually, I didn’t, but she did slip my mind when you didn’t mention her.”

“I didn’t think you’d want to hear about her,” Angel muttered, looking away.

“I wouldn’t have minded, but hell, she’s your girlfriend,” Cordelia pointed out. “But why didn’t you just tell her that you were taking me to the hospital?”

Angel bit his lower lip and glanced around nervously before casually replying, “She doesn’t know that you’re in town.”

Cordelia’s eyebrows rose when he uttered the words, a look of shock spreading across her supple visage. After stuttering for quite a few moments, she finally blurted out. “Why not?”

Angel turned to her and forced himself to lower his voice to keep from yelling, “Like she’d care.” He winced as he realized what he said and tried to recover, “I mean, she’s been tired from saving Sunnydale and destroying the hellmouth,” Angel gagged at the thought. “And I didn’t want to bother her with stuff like this.”

Cordelia eyed him carefully, “Okay, I guess.”

The awkward silence lasted the whole drive to the Hospital.

* * *

“You’re quite a few months along, Miss Chase, nine months to be exact.” The doctor, Dr. Smith, pointed out as he pursed his lips and looked over the forms. Dr. Smith turned to Angel and handed him a clip board, “You’re the father, I presume?”

Angel was about to deny, only he caught a glimpse of Cordelia looking down at her lap somberly at the memory of Doyle. “Yes, I’ll sign those for you.” He winked at the appreciative grin Cordelia managed to throw his way.

“I’ll leave you two be while the results come in,” he motioned goodbye and left the room.

Almost immediately, Cordelia shot out: “Thank you.”

Angel grinned, pleased that he had been some help and modestly shook it off. “Any help I can offer.” He squeezed her hand and looked at her tenderly, “I’m sorry about the loan.”

Cordelia shook her head and looked away, “Let’s just leave that subject be for a few days, we’ll talk about it later.”

“So there’s a later, is there?” Angel joked, softly rotating her head so she looked directly at him. “How about I pick you up and take you to work in the mornings.” The offer sounded generous, but caught both of them off-guard.

Cordelia bit her lip and earnestly nodded, “If only I had a job.”

“Because of your car,” Angel put it together and started to slowly pace around the room. He nearly punched his own face when he couldn’t think of anything at the moment.

“Angel,” her soft voice whispered. And when he turned to her, her eyes shone with tears. “You don’t have to do all of this for me.”

“I know that,” Angel replied in an even quieter whisper, placing his hand on her belly. “We both need some friends right now, and I’m willing to be one to you even if you don’t want yourself to
be mine.”

“I do.”


* * *

“So is that the couple?” The nurse persisted, a sly smile crossing her face as she nodded towards the open door where a pair was bickering. “The guy’s hot.”

Dr. Smith chuckled, “Suzy, don’t start with this okay, and like he’d even bother to say hi to you.”

Suzy giggled, “All men notice me.”

“He won’t,” Dr. Smith went on, grabbing the folder in front of him and smiling widely. “Those two are in love.”

“Then why are they fighting?”

* * *

“Seriously, you need to consider it,” Angel said in a loud voice, pacing around the room. “Emily is a nice name.”

“But it’s a boy,” Cordelia pointed out, rubbing her belly and rolling her eyes.

Angel scoffed, looking directly at her with an expression of sarcastic disbelief, “You don’t even know the sex of the baby yet!”

Cordelia sighed, avoiding his stare and looking down at her belly. “I can just tell, alright?”

Angel couldn’t help but roll his eyes, “Twenty bucks says that the baby is a girl!”

“Why are you so damn persistent?” Cordelia demanded, struggling to get up, nearly falling off the bed. Luckily, Angel caught her and helped her up the bed.

“I’m just a little stubborn, is all.” He grinned as he softly spoke.

“You better not get into the habit of doing that,” Cordelia whispered, her eyes locked with his.

Angel, still close, let out a soft chuckle and whispered into her ear, “Why not?”

The Doctor walking in with the results interrupted them. Both Cordelia and Angel sat up straight and looked at him with utter anticipation.

“Would you like to know the sex of the baby?”

“Do you even have to ask?”

“It’s…a boy,” Dr. Smith gleefully explained, handing the folder to Angel.

For a few moments, it was nothing but silence tainted with excitement. When Cordelia finally did something, she held out her hand: “Where’s my twenty dollars?”

* * *

Angel scratched his head, turning around and pacing to the other side of the room as he thought about what to say. “Look, Cordelia…we’ve been hanging out for a while now, a few months I think, and what I want to say is, I’ve come to care for you, as a brother, and I’d like to be a brother to you, full-time.” He cut himself off and sighed; relieved he’d gotten through it. So he confidently turned back and faced the pillow he was rehearsing to.

“Was that good?” he asked the pillow, not even expecting a head nod or anything, because Angel knew it was just a pillow. But that pillow was about the only thing in the house that he could trust to talk to. He knew Buffy wouldn’t understand, and everyone else in the house would likely run to her with the news that he was rehearsing asking a girl to move in with him.

But it wasn’t like that, Angel reminded himself. Though to outsiders, he assumed, it would seem a little less platonic and more of an attraction. But it wasn’t. Though Cordelia was an attractive woman altogether, Angel knew that wasn’t the reason why he cared so much for her. He had killed his sister when he had become a vampire, and to have such brotherly feelings for Cordelia was a burst of forgotten fresh air that he hadn’t breathed in a long time.

“Who’re you talking to?” A voice came from the door, it was Buffy.

“No one,” Angel said a little too fast as he shot around to look at her with a fake smile.

“Really?” She sauntered towards him, a sly smile crossing her face. She grabbed his shirt and ripped it open, “I love you.”

“Me too,” And Angel meant it; it just sounded strained at the moment because of his distraction. He shook the thoughts away and kissed Buffy, more passionately as the seconds passed.

* * *

“Thanks for taking me out to lunch, Angel,” Cordelia said quietly, taking a huge bite of her hamburger. She laughed at herself, “Sorry, I must look like a pig.”

“No, you don’t,” Angel muttered, smiling nervously.

“Is something wrong?”

Angel shook his head, looking perfectly innocent and cute as he stuttered to say something.

Cordelia reached to grab his hand, squeezing it. “Seriously, what’s wrong?”

“I uh—wanted to know, if you wanted to—-you know, come to dinner at my house,” Angel finally blurted out, looking down at his lap. “We’re having this big dinner, and it would be nice to expand the table a bit.”

At first, a look of shock crossed Cordelia’s face, but it soon subsided as she slowly nodded. “Sure, it sounds like fun.”

“Good,” Angel let out a sigh of relief; finally glad he could breath easily again.

* * *

“Cordelia’s in town?” Xander asked, swallowing hard. “What a big blast from the past, eh?”

Angel laughed, relieving the tension just a smidge. “I was being polite and asked her to dinner.” He didn’t know why the truth was being bent, he didn’t know why he was literately changing the story when explaining it all, but Angel knew that the Scooby Gang accepted it.

Buffy stepped forward, “We better get started cooking then, shouldn’t we?” There was something in her voice and a flicker of another in her stare when she said it, but Angel decided to ignore it.

* * *

Cordelia clenched her hands into fists to keep them from shaking as she walked up the sidewalk and onto the porch. “This is a bad idea,” she thought out loud as she was about to ring the doorbell.

“Why is that, now?” Angel asked from the side, and after Cordelia’s initial shock, she focused her eyes and saw him sitting on the bench.

He stood up and slowly walked towards her, “I know it’s been a long time since you’ve seen them.”

“They didn’t like me then, why should they now?”

Angel motioned for her to sit with him on the porch and when they finally sat down, Angel put his hand on her shoulder. “We’ve all grown, we’re different from who we were.”

“I guess,” Cordelia sniffed, blinking away the wetness in her eyes. “I just have no one left in my life, and it’d be nice to have…” she turned to look at the door. And when Angel followed in suit, he saw Buffy standing there with a dangerous glare. “Family.”

Part Five

The awkward silence and the clinking of silverware was enough to make any sane person crazy, but luckily Xander Harris was there to break t he ice.

“And then he was all ‘Tissue? I don’t even know you!” He joked, slammed his hand on the table while he burst into laughter. But the chuckles from everyone else seemed strained and he cleared his throat. “Okay, that was stupid, I’ll shut up now.”

“No, it was funny,” Cordelia muttered. She ineptly cleared her throat and turned to Dawn, “Can you pass the potatoes?”

Angel noticed, after a few moments, that Buffy stole a glare at Cordelia every once in a while, as if noting her weaknesses and preparing for attack. It wasn’t a settling thought as he chewed down the dry roast. “This is good,” he finally blurted out, throwing a weak smile Buffy’s way. “Thank you for making this.”

“I wanted to apologize that I didn’t make anything that I could bring, my microwave is acting up again,” Cordelia put in quietly, looking around at everyone with a nervous grin.

“I could fix it for you, if you want,” Xander offered, taking a big scoop of potatoes before eventually handing it to Cordelia.

Dawn was the only one at the table who had a genuine smile, and Angel was thankful for it. “I’m trying out for cheerleading tomorrow.”

Buffy finally broke her glare at Cordelia and turned to her sister, “Dawn….”

“I know what happened last year, and I learned from my mistakes,” Dawn cut her sister off, sitting up straight and defiantly continuing on. “It’s what I want right now.”

Cordelia nodded, “It can be fun at times.” She paused when Buffy rolled her eyes and scoffed at the statement. “But it’s not what they make it look like, Dawn.”

Angel felt a tug at the arm and turned to see Buffy nearly yanking him out of the room, “Excuse me for a moment,” he threw back at the table as he flew outside with Buffy.

Her face was red and eyes cold with anger. “Explain yourself,” she demanded, huffing and puffing like a big bad wolf, which made Angel laugh out loud.

Buffy never was a threat to Angelus, and she was never close to a threat with Angel. It was absolutely hilarious to see her fuming and angry over a small matter such as Cordelia coming to dinner. “What haven’t I already explained that isn’t obvious, Buffy?” He spat at her, purposely rolling his eyes and turning to walk inside. But her strong arm pulled him back.

“Why didn’t you tell me she was pregnant?”

“Because I didn’t think you needed to know right away,” Angel explained in a quiet whisper, a rational tone creeping into his voice. “I can’t believe you’re acting like such a child.”

“How dare you,” she gasped, taking a step back. Angel let out a disturbingly creepy chuckle and lessened the space between him, a dangerously sly smile crossing his face.

“Her and I are getting along great, we’re good friends now, and she’s a different person,” Angel spat in her face, his eyes glinting gravely as he continued to knock her down with his strong words. “Don’t assume shit anymore, Buffy…Life is going to come back and bite you in the ass if you don’t stop whining and grow up.”

* * *

It was a little more than five minutes after Angel sat himself down when Buffy followed him in. Her face was spine-chillingly impassive as she ate her food and blankly gazed down at her lap. A tinge of regret crept its way into Angel’s mind as he stole some glances her way. But with a shake of his head, Angel easily dismissed it and joined in on the conversation.

“So he was only a Half-Demon?” Willow asked Cordelia through her chuckles from the hilarious story Cordelia had just explained. “So your baby must be…” Willow paused when the somber face crossed Cordela’s façade.

“I guess, I haven’t really thought about it,” Cordelia finally said, a sincere grin crossed her face. “As long as he’s healthy, I don’t mind.”

“Why don’t you tell the one about the bachelor party,” Angel suggested through his bright, beaming grin.

“Well, his ex-wife came to town with her fiancé,” Cordelia began but was cut off by Buffy.

“So he was married before he met you?” She asked, her face stonily cold.

“Yes, he was,” Cordelia answered softly.

“Did he leave you when you told him you were pregnant?” Buffy shot at her, her voice dripping with sadistic pleasure as she watched tears form in Cordelia’s eyes.

“Buffy,” Angel warned, rising a little from his chair as he anticipated what was coming.

“Actually he um…he…”

“He what?” Buffy cut her off, her eyes flickering with trouble.

“He died, alright,” Cordelia finally answered in a loud voice as she jumped out of her chair. “I’m sorry that I wont give you the pleasure of knowing my unhappiness by telling you he left, he didn’t! He was murdered! You like that, Buffy?”

Buffy flinched, obviously regretting her attitude.

Cordelia hobbled over to her, “I would’ve told you earlier but I didn’t want your sympathy, you know why? I am not some sniveling, whiny little crybuffy! I don’t purposely look for pity from people, I deal with it. Unlike you, my life isn’t perfect, so just shut your trap or leave me the fuck alone.”

Xander nearly choked on his drink as he burst into laughter. “Whoa,” he said in unison with Willow, who frantically covered Dawn’s ears as she laughed herself.

Angel finally got out of his seat and walked in between the two, “Let’s calm down.”

Buffy stood up and looked at Cordelia, “I didn’t mean to-”

Cordelia, a little calmer than before, held her hand up. “Yes you did.” She turned to Angel, tears finally falling down her cheek. “I didn’t realize how different I was until I met you, and you showed me how much everyone has changed…And before, I actually thought it’d be different around here, it’d be better, I’d have actual friends, a family that I could call my own….But it isn’t like that.”

Angel shook his head, “Everyone’s been having a bad time, and it’s not your fault.”

“You didn’t even bother to tell them I was pregnant, I wasn’t even important enough to mention was I?” She exclaimed. “I thought we were friends–” She was cut off by a gasp. She held her stomach tight and looked down. “Oh dear lord.”

Xander pointed towards the water puddle between her legs on the floor. “Is that what I think it is.”

“Her water broke.”

Part Six

Angel wiped the sweat from his brow as he frantically ran about the house for blankets and such, yelling orders at nearly everyone in the house. “Willow, help Cordelia outside, Xander get the car!” He didn’t care how rude, loud or mean he sounded; his top priority was to have Cordelia taken to a hospital.

Every once and a while, Angel was forced to pass by Buffy, and it took all of his strength to keep from screaming at her. But he proved himself wrong and ignored her completely, not even throwing dangerous glances at her, which to Angel was a huge accomplishment at the current moment.

It seemed as if time was an enemy to Angel as he kept ordering people to do things. But when Willow wasn’t moving fast enough, Angel grabbed Cordelia and heaved her into his arms. At first, he struggled under the weight of the pregnant woman when he kicked open the door, but Angel found his cool and made it to the car, letting out a breath of relief when he laid her in the car gently.

He looked at her for a split-second that seemed like an eternity; her face was covered in pain as she grabbed onto the seat and nearly ripped it apart. He wouldn’t let her give birth in a car, he wouldn’t let her have anything to regret tonight.

Angel was distracted by Dawn hopping into the car with a panicky smile spreading across her face. “I’ll be her squeezer.”

“Huh?” Angel blurted out, giving her a quizzical look as he impatiently tapped on the door loudly enough to know this wasn’t the time for a conversation.

“I’ll give her a hand that she can squeeze,” Dawn explained in a sarcastically slow tone, rolling her eyes. She laughed at the irony of it and turned away.

Angel let out a growl and slammed the door, about to make his way over to the other side. If only Buffy hadn’t grabbed him and pulled him back, “Let me come, I was a bitch.” For a long time, there was a longing and regret in her tone and stare. But Angel purposefully disregarded it.

“For once, Buffy, you are absolutely right!” Angel bellowed, jumping at her and only stopping when his face was inches from hers. He held back a laugh as he notice his spit flying across her face. “I’m tired of your, you’re almost Twenty-Three years old, damnit.” He wanted to pull his hair out as he it all poured out, stressing him even more than when it was all bottled up inside.

“I’m sorry,” Buffy pleaded, her lips pouting as she desperately tried to back away. But Angel just stepped closer, still yelling in his loudest voice.

“I’m not going to be putting up with your crap anymore, either grow up or get the hell away from me.” He didn’t bother to hear her answer; his attention was on getting Cordelia to the hospital to deliver her baby.

Angel jumped into the car and slammed the door, “Hit the gas, Xander.”

* * *

Luckily, the doctors noticed the quickness of the baby and put Cordelia into a delivery room right away. But when they got in there, Cordelia screamed at the doctors that he wasn’t the father so they pushed him out abruptly. Much to Angel’s dismay.

It all happened to fast for Angel; first he had been helping her into a car and now she had ordered the doctors to get him out.

“I can’t believe she did that,” Angel whispered, pacing around the waiting room. “She needs someone in there to help her through this!” He threw his hands up and kicked the chair over.

Xander stood up and placed his hands on Angel’s shoulders to calm him. “She’s raging with hormones, Angel, she didn’t mean what
she said.”

“She said she didn’t know me and that I wasn’t the father,” Angel pointed out, shoving Xander away.

“You’re not the father,” Xander added in a loud voice.

“I know I’m not, but come one, just because I didn’t tell you guys she was pregnant doesn’t mean I’m not her friend,” Angel slammed his fist into the wall and held back a wince of pain.

“It’s the hormones,” Xander reminded him as if it were that simple and easily understood. “Pregnant women are never reasonable.”

“I guess so…” Angel sighed, letting out a grunt as he yanked his hand out of the wall.

* * *

After about five hours, Angel lost all of his patience and forced his way into the delivery room. The doors nearly flew off the hinges as he stormed in, a defiant look on his face.
“Enough is enough,” he grunted, walking over to Cordelia and looking at her directly. “I’m not going to put up with this and let you do this alone.” Angel didn’t care if the doctors persistently ordered him out, he didn’t care if Cordelia was mad at him for some reason; he didn’t care. All Angel knew at that moment was that he wanted to be there for Cordelia; for his friend.

She replied with a loud, shrill scream of pain. Angel looked down to see all the blood, and that the baby was half way out. He looked back to Cordelia and mumbled, “It’s almost over.” Angel allowed her to squeeze his hand and scream in his ear, as long as she was doing well with the childbirth.

But after a few moments, Angel kept looking down at all the blood and the screaming and the tears and everything started to catch up to him. His eyes rolled around and his legs buckled beneath his weight and he finally passed out.

“Men,” Cordelia growled as another wave of pain hit her.

* * *

A disgusting smell fumed up Angel’s nose and he shook awake to be face to face with Dr. Smith who was looking down on him. “You passed out.”

Angel rolled his eyes, “Did I now?” At first, he struggled to stand up, but when he heard the cry of the baby, Angel shot up. “Is the baby fine?”

“Yes, it was success.”

Angel breathed easily then, looking around and finally focusing on the baby. He motioned for the nurse to hand over the baby. “It’s got ten fingers, ten toes and…” Angel paused, looking at Cordelia, who sat upright yet dazed in the hospital bed next to
him. “It’s a girl.”

Cordelia and him both laughed. She held her arms out for her to hold him as she looked at Angel with half-open eyes. “Let me see my baby girl.”

For the longest five minutes Angel had ever lived, he hadn’t taken his eyes off of Cordelia or her baby girl, finding fascination in both as he studied their movements. The girl had Cordelia’s dark, russet eyes and lusciously soft skin. It looked as if the girl had the sun in her smile, very much like her mothers’. Angel laughed at the thoughts.

“Have you come up with a name?” The nurse asked, a smile crossing her face too as she noticed the picturesque scene before her.

“Angel,” Cordelia whispered as she looked up at him directly.

“Angel it is.”

But it was actually the real Angel who looked up and corrected her, “I think she was just talking to me.”

“Well, we’ll just leave it as Angel until you both decide, is that alright?”

Cordelia squeezed Angel’s shoulder to show him that it was best left be for the moment. Her worn but striking grin was enough to convince Angel to back down.

A few moments passed before Angel sat next to Cordelia on the bed and started to sing lullabies with her. But it was Cordelia who was the first to shed visible tears, but only because she noticed the wetness in Angel’s dark eyes as he sang to the baby in their arms.

After stealing many unnoticed glances Angel’s way, Cordelia was a little caught off guard when he was looking back at her.

He leaned forward and kissed her light on the forehead, and when he pulled back, his face was only inches from hers. After a few moments of silence, Angel finally whispered into her ear. “Where’s my twenty bucks?”

Part 7

Angel slowly turned to Xander, a soft expression on his face as he grinned. Before uttering a word, Angel turned back to a sleeping Cordelia. “She looks so innocent, doesn’t she?” He couldn’t bear to tear his eyes away from her sleeping form, a sense of accomplishment resonating inside of him as he replayed the pain she had gone through and the serene look on her latent façade.

Xander nodded, looking at her with just as much attention as Angel. But a cloud passed over his face as he grabbed Angel’s arm to spin Angel around to face him. “Buffy’s like a sister to me and I’d do anything to make sure she isn’t hurt,” he began, his voice husky and deep as the time passed. “I want an honest answer when I ask you-”

“There’s nothing going on,” Angel replied in a simple tone, returning his attention to Cordelia. “She’s a friend.”

Xander slowly stood in front of him, his eyes shone with defiance, “Are you sure?”

Angel nodded and replied at length, “If there was, I wouldn’t be keeping it a secret.”

They both shook their heads and walked over to either side of Cordelia and held her hand, wishing her well in unison. But their prayers were cut short when Angel noticed that the ice cup was empty, “I should go get her some more.”

“I’ll go with you, my throat’s killing me,” Xander suggested, following him out the door.

* * *

What the pair didn’t notice was Buffy coming down the opposite end of the hall and making her way to Cordelia’s room. Her face was sullen as she snuck in. Her eyes watered with tears as she saw Cordelia lying on the bed. She wiped her wet eyes and pulled up a seat next to Cordelia.

“I’m so sorry,” she whispered, hesitantly moving her hand to hold Cordelia’s. And when the hand squeezed back, Buffy couldn’t lie to herself and say she didn’t jump. Cordelia’s eyes flickered open and focused on Buffy.

“What the hell?” she stuttered in a soft, raspy voice.

Buffy swallowed hard and looked down at her lap for a few moments before looking back up at Cordelia. “I know I’m not your first choice for a surprise visitor but I came here to–”

“Make me feel even more stupid? Not possible.”

Buffy let out a strained chuckle, not taking her eyes off of Cordelia. “I deserved that…but that’s not why I came here.”

Cordelia shook her head and sat up, yanking her hand away from Buffy. “I have my hormones as an excuse for how bitchy I was, but what’s your reason?”

“Resentment, suspicion, distrust, being threatened and a long list full of other reasons,” Buffy said in a soft voice, holding her hands up to count the amount. “But it isn’t an excuse, and I know that now.”

“What changed your mind?”

“A man by the name of Angel,” Buffy laughed at her admission. “I love him to death, but sometimes I get so paranoid that I’m going to lose him, and not by death, but by him falling for someone else.”

* * *

Angel paused as he heard voices inside of the room and wished that he had his super-hearing to find the definite source. He creaked open the door to see Buffy sitting beside Cordelia’s bed enthralled in a conversation with her. Angel nearly cursed under his breath when he realized she was in the middle of an apology.

* * *

“Angel and I ran into each other a month or two ago, and we’ve become really good friends, but that’s it, Buffy.” Cordelia pursed her lips and tapped her finger on the blanket. “I hope you can believe me.”

Buffy nodded along, looking her with sincere interest. “It’s not that I don’t trust Angel it’s just that I don’t trust other women, it’s happened before.” Buffy lightly grabbed Cordelia’s hand and whispered to her. “I’m sorry for how I acted.”

* * *

The hallways in the hospital were dull and expressionless, hardly drawing attention to the quiet passerby as they made their way around the huge Sunnydale Hospital. Angel could help but be fascinated with them; he was fascinated with the simplicity of life and it nearly overwhelmed him every time an object, small or large, caught his eye.

When he turned the corner, Angel saw Buffy sitting in a waiting chair and patiently looking down at her lap. He was surprised, given how angry he was with her earlier, at how easily he smiled when she did the smallest of things. Such as absently brushing her blonde locks out of her eyes and behind her ears, a thing she always did when waiting.

Angel ambled over to her and without a word said, slouched down in the chair next to hers. He nodded at her and grabbed a magazine, feigning interest in a tedious article on a random page. But after a second or so, Angel decided the silence was unbearable and that he needed to speak. “So, I heard you spoke with Cordelia, how did that go?” He didn’t bother hiding his curiosity, because after he heard Buffy’s apology, he had wandered down the hall before hearing the end of the conversation.

“We came to an understanding,” Buffy answered at length. “I didn’t just come here to apologize to her, I came here to apologize to you too.”

“Obviously,” said Angel in a sarcastic tone that he didn’t bother to cover up.

“I was a bitch, a selfish bitch and I saw that,” it all seemed genuine as she continued on about how she regretted her actions in the past few months. “And with Cordelia moving in and me helping with the baby, you’ll see a whole new me.”

It took Angel a few moments to finally catch on and a ghost of a smile played at the corner his lips. He didn’t care if she was just letting Cordelia move in to prove to him she was grown up, he was just glad she finally saw the right thing to do. Angel had spent forever badgering Cordelia about moving in, and now that he finally got that, he was nearly toppled over in giddiness that Buffy was finally smartening up. “That’s not the reason why I’m going to forgive you.”

Buffy leaned forward, a sly smile creeping onto her soft, tan skin. “So you’re going to forgive me, are you?”

Angel leaned it too, genuinely happy that this was working. A spark flew between the two that hadnt happened in years which made Angel even more happy. “I’m forgiving you because you came to the hospital when you didn’t have to.”

* * *

Cordelia stood in between Buffy and Angel and wrapped her arms around their necks, “I always knew you two kids would end up together.” It was obvious she was teasing, but there was a sense of irony in her voice that dimmed it a bit.

“There she is,” Angel pointed to the nurse laying baby Angel into the nearest crib. “Isn’t she a beauty?”

Buffy giggled, “She looks just like you, Cordelia.” With a bite of her lower lip, Buffy looked at the baby name on the crib. “But should I suggest a change of names.”

Angel cut her off with his face scrunching up in a confused way, he motioned with his hands for a while before he finally squeaked out, “Why though?” A perfectly innocent grin crossed his face as he looked down at the baby, “It’s a perfect name.”

“It is, is it?” Cordelia teased.

“Besides,” Angel added, placing his hand on the glass and making funny faces that easily had Angel laughing. “It fits her.”

Part 8

It had been a whole month after the birth of Angel, who the Scooby Gang refers to as ‘Baby-Angel’, and it seemed too perfect. The young infant was as normal as can be, and everyone was thankful for it. She cried when she was supposed to and pooped and peed normally, everything was a success in their eyes. Angel had formed the closest relationship with the baby, besides Cordelia that is.

Sure, Buffy, Willow and Xander had their shifts to take care of her, but Angel was always the one who offered to do extra hours and change more of her diapers, but most of all, Angel loved watching Cordelia take care of her. She was, by far, the best mother Angel had come across. Compassion mixed with a natural mothers intuition plus the support of her friends formed the ideal woman.

Baby-Angel cooed gently when Angel supported her in his burly arms, mellifluously swinging his arms while he crooned a lullaby. His skin was a tad abrasive and there were shadows under his eyes, yet Angel couldn’t be more contented. He had a family. Buffy, Willow, Cordelia and Baby-Angel, and god even Xander. The ironic perfection seemed to jump out at him, but Angel pointedly overlooked it while enjoying the last month.

Though the baby did rouse everyone up every few hours, the entire Scooby Gang enjoyed having a regular responsibility in their hands and Cordelia’s appreciation shone unmistakably through her incessant, albeit exhausted and tired, grin.

Ignoring the snide remarks from Xander of his singing voice, Angel continued on and walked all over the house looking for Cordelia, his thoughts drifting back and forth from where she was and Baby-Angel’s condition. The small infant was an utter replica of her mother; she was beautiful, gorgeous and so many other things that made her perfect. The smile was the best feature, Angel noted to himself as he climbed the stairs. Baby-Angel’s head may have been a little large for an infant, the vampire added in an afterthought, recognizing that even a small fault could be a blessing in disguise. “You’re going to be the smartest girl in school,” he informed the infant while tickling her nose.

He made his way to the bathroom and decided to change Baby-Angel’s diaper, especially when a certain stench coasted throughout the hallway. “You went poo-poo!” he exclaimed in a baby-mocking tone.

Though he was searching thoroughly for Cordelia, Angel’s last thought was that she would be in the bathroom—changing.

Angel’s eyes turned wide when he saw that she was half-naked and they both let out shocked yelps when they noticed each other. “Sorry!” he said in a loud voice, trying desperately to force himself to tear his eyes away from her body.

Finally, Angel turned away as quickly as he could, openly embracing the awkward silence as the discomfort settled in. “Sorry,” he reiterated in a desperate whisper while unconsciously covering Baby-Angel’s eyes. He prayed that no one had heard their yelps and would be suspicious, but he nearly begged that Cordelia wouldn’t scold him for his stupidity.

Absently throwing a glance behind him to make sure Cordelia was fully dressed, Angel allowed a nervous grin to cross his face when he spun himself around.

Cordelia laughed at him for a few moments before walking over and softly taking the baby from him with an innocent sparkle in her eyes. Her blouse now buttoned, it seemed that Cordelia was a dressed cleanly and properly for a walk in the park; and Angel’s stomach turned over when he realized he couldn’t accompany her and Baby-Angel on their stroll. He avoided the sunlight shining through the window nonchalantly before clearing his throat.

“How’d you know I wanted to see her?” He heard Cordelia ask as she playfully teased Baby-Angel.

Casually leaning against the doorframe, Angel’s face scrunched up as he adorably stuttered in response. Finally, letting out a heaving sigh, he threw his hand up in exhaustion, “Call it intuition.”

Before the two could continue the nonchalant discussion, Willow entered the hallway with a phone in hand. “Cordy, you have a phone call.”

The look of shock on Cordelia’s façade was a little more emphasized than anyone would expect. “Really?” she let out a stressed grunt and squinted her eyes at Willow. “Who is it?”

“A guy who likes to call me pastries,” Willow snorted, her cheeks flushing. “But he’s a charmer.”

One word came to mind when she heard that he was referring to her as pastry names: Lorne.

Grabbing the phone a little less politely and a little more rougher than usual, Cordelia cleared her throat and took a deep breath. “Hello.” Waiting for a response, she handed Baby-Angel to the vampire beside her.

The woman was good at covering her usually loud voice when she heedlessly turned away and muttered into the speaker. “I’m sorry, I can’t—I’m too busy.” Her voice was stern and on the edge of a growl when she finished, stressfully tapping her fingers on the counter.

When Angel walked around to see her face, he found her eyes bulging and the woman biting her lower lip desperately. Shifting slightly to avert her eyes away from Angel, Cordelia shook her head. “I’m not ready, Lorne—-Just come back another time,” she ended with a slam of her fist and her finger nearly breaking by forcibly hanging up.

When Willow approached her with a curious look, Cordelia merely threw her hand up to stop her from saying anything. Pointedly looking down at her feet, Cordelia merely forced a laugh. “Just an old friend.” And before anyone knew it, she had departed the hallway and disappeared.

Buffy bit her lower lip and looked at Angel, “Maybe she’s in some kind of trouble.”

Angel nodded, “That’s my guess.” And silently, he concluded to himself that something had to be done.

* * *

Cordelia jumped at the sound of the door. She had been pacing around the basement, where she had been staying, for a while now and her feet were numb. She forced herself to walk up the stairs to open the door. Yet, paradoxically, she had to use all her willpower just to move her legs to near the door. Her life was flashing before her very eyes and it wasn’t a settling thought, it was quite disconcerting. She first held her hands tight to keep them from shaking before turning the knob.

When she opened the door, she wasn’t surprised to see Angel looking straight back at her. A completely goofy expression on his face, it looked as if Angel seemed to be hiding something from her. Cordelia had to fight the urge to grin when he handed her a plate of: “Brownies. Made em’ myself.” It took a minute for Cordelia to step back and allow him inside while taking the plate of brownies.

“You made these by yourself?” Cordelia asked, still hiding a smirk behind her hair that freely hung across her face. She asked the question in a way that she knew Angel would know wasn’t insulting.

“Well….Angie wanted to help, but-”

“Angie?” Cordelia cut in, giving him a curious look.

Angel shrugged, a bashful grin crossing his face. “It’s cute, don’t you think?”

Cordelia held back the itch to tease him and say that he was acting cute. Instead, she simply nodded and headed down the stairs while stealing a bite of the delicious brownies. Following close behind her, Angel simply sighed and placed his hand on her shoulder.

“You want to talk?” he asked softly as she turned to face him. A sincere look crossed his face as he patiently waited for her response. For a split second, it seemed as if Angel desired to bite his bottom lip in anticipation, but, as usual, he fought the urge and remained casually sympathetic.

Cordelia merely shook her head and made her way to the makeshift counter off to the side, hoping to tidy up. Angel obviously took the hint and changed the subject.

“I was thinking of having Xander help me build some tables and a better bed frame for you,” he rambled on, shoving his hands in his pockets. It was quite comforting to have him be down here and not force her to talk about Lorne or anything of those sorts. He laughed as he continued in an added thought, “Maybe even a bathroom…”

“That’d be nice, I’ll be sure to help you guys,” Cordelia muttered under her breath as she absently moved the plate of brownies into the corner and just looked at them. Her expression more blank than usual, Cordelia threw a sweeping glance with her watery eyes.

Angel moved closer to Cordelia, slowly raising his hand again to place it on her shoulder. But Angel’s attempt to sympathize was cut short by Cordelia lunging backwards into his arms and shrieking in pain.

He held her tight even as he fell to the floor under her weight. On the ground, Angel caught a glimpse of Cordelia’s face scrunched up in pain as she threw her hands up and nearly pulled her hair out. Her screams diminished to whimpers and soon, there was just a few moans before she went entirely quiet.

“What happened?” Angel whispered in her ear as he helped her over to her bed. He didn’t even notice everyone pounding down the stairs in search of where the noise was coming from.

Xander lowered the battle-ax in his hands and walked over to Cordelia, who was lying on the bed recuperating from what happened. “Is she okay?”

Angel didn’t answer, he just wiped the sweat from his brow and held her hand, muttering under his breath. “Cordy.” He ignored the desperation in his voice and silently prayed that she would be okay.

Buffy went to the other side of the bed and lifted her hand to feel Cordelia’s forehead, her face blank when she confirmed nothing was out of the norm. But suddenly, Buffy noticed the woman’s hands shaking uncontrollably. “She’s trembling…”

Angel ignored her, still praying silently to himself that she would be okay. A feeling that no regular medical treatment would help her in this case permeated through Angel’s soul as he repeatedly looked up at Cordelia lying in pain.

Every few seconds, Cordelia would murmur random words, “Guns….crowds….” but when she finally opened her eyes for a split second, they were full of fear as she whispered: “Lorne.”

Part Nine

Angel slammed open the weapons cabinet and roughly pulled out random weapons, stuffing them into his bag urgent and sharply. “We don’t have time to plan, we just need to go in and save him. Simple as that.”

Buffy grabbed his shoulder and desperately held him still, “This isn’t like you. Rushing into battle is never a good idea.”

“He has something to do with whatever happened to Cordelia,” Angel growled, pushing her hand away and throwing the bag across his shoulders. Throwing a glance back at Buffy, Angel simply mumbled before making his way to the door: “No one gets away with hurting people I care for.”

The Slayer sped after him; frantically grabbing the bag and yanking Angel back to her. “You can’t fight with a clouded mind. You’ll get hurt.”

“Just trust me. I know what to do,” said Angel, turning away and striding towards the door. To his surprise, Cordelia stood between him and the doorway, a stubborn aura about her as her eyes determinedly locked with his.

“Angel…” she began in a strong voice. When Angel stopped, she placed her hands firmly on his strong chest, holding him resolutely in that position. “Lorne didn’t do this to me. It’s possible he was calling to warn me.”

Angel rolled his eyes, “You’re acting a little too gullible, Cordy.” Holding back a low growl, Angel tried to walk past her, but when her hands surprisingly held him in his place, Angel added: “Not everyone is as goodhearted as you.”

“The vision was meant to help him,” Cordelia told him, her voice rising to a high pitch. “He needs help, and I’m going to help him.”

“Not alone,” Angel blurted out, unconsciously and automatically accepting her
rationality and believing what she said. His anger still rising and churning inside of him, the man went on. “And I will find whoever did this to you and-”

“Doyle did this to me,” Cordelia blurted out. “I mean, he gave me the visions on accident.”

Willow, who had been eavesdropping on the conversation from the basement door, walked out with Dawn in tow. “How?”

“It was a goodbye kiss,” Cordelia answered, strongly keeping the tears forming in her eyes from escaping. “The Powers That Be can control everything but love, and that’s exactly what Doyle and me shared, which is why I got the visions.” Her voice seemed dispassionate, as if reciting. “Lorne explained it to me when he died.”

“So this Lorne was a friend?” Dawn asked, finally speaking up. “I mean, if he’s a friend, then shouldn’t you already be on your way to rescuing him?”

“I would be if Angel wouldn’t be so stubborn,” Cordelia pointed out, a slight smile creeping onto her face. Absently brushing the hair out of her eyes, Cordelia motioned towards the door. “Let’s get to it.”

“I’ll go too,” Buffy said simply, walking out the door before anyone could argue.

Angel grabbed Cordelia’s arm firmly before she could exit too. “This is too dangerous for you, maybe you should…”

“I’m not going to let another person I care for die,” Cordelia said through her clenched teeth. But the tense moment passed faster than a blink of an eye, for a sly smile crossed her face as she winked at him. “Besides, you might need me to save your ass.”

* * *

Xander paced around the room, “I should have gone.” His voice broke as he admitted his thoughts; “I’m tired of sitting around and letting the people I-” It was obvious in his tone that he was reminiscing about Anya. Her sudden death in the battle of Sunnydale was a shock to everyone, but it hit Xander harder than ever. The chance to marry her was willingly and fearfully given up by Xander and it was plain to see that he regretted it. “They should have waited a few moments till I was done.”

“In the bathroom?” Willow blurted out, trying to lighten up the situation. “I’m sure they’ll be back any minute.”

“But where was Lorne anyways?”

* * *

Uttering the last words of his favorite classic, Lorne threw his microphone onto the stool beside him and ambled over to the bar. Walking behind the counter, Lorne filled his personal cup with his usual drink and gulped it down. Swallowing hard and rolling his eyes, Lorne looked around Caritas.

“Monotony’s a bitch.”

L.A. was a large town filled with outlaws, freaks and outsiders; Lorne knew more than anyone that Caritas was one of the few places a demon could find peace.

Lorne’s thoughts were cut off when he saw a nervous, sweaty African-American man walk in. “Gunn?” The suit didn’t do the man any justice, Lorne added. The once cool, hardcore street fighter was now an accomplished law student. “What are you doing on the seedy-side of sunnytown?”

“Don’t sweet-talk me,” Gunn growled, his eyes shifting as he looked over his shoulder several times. “You still got that anti-violence spell?”

“Sure I do, only an idiot would remove one of those,” Lorne laughed, filling his cup and swallowing the last of it. But his blissfulness was cut short as he finally caught on. “Why you asking, sugarcakes? You hear that trouble’s coming this way?”

Gunn swallowed hard and tapped his foot, “I made a visit to Regina and she said there was trouble a coming.”

“Boy, things sure are going to hell in this town,” Lorne grumbled.

“Worse than before-” Gunn cut himself off as he noticed a picture-frame behind the counter with a certain girl and an Irish-demon in it.

Slamming the picture down, Lorne eyed Gunn carefully. “Look, we all went our own way, so unless you got something good to warn me about, I suggest you leave. I’m not up to a reunion.”

Gunn stubbornly slumped into the stool and grinned at Lorne. “How’s Wes doin’?”

“I told you not to–” Lorne paused, biting his lip as he noticed a horde of gunmen storming into the bar. “Look, you know how I told you I didn’t remove the anti-violence spell….I only meant the one’s on demons.”

Before anyone knew it, bullets were flying. Gunn instinctively pounced onto the nearest gunman and beat him to pulp with his fists. Clearly enjoying the nostalgia of fighting, Gunn let a smile creep onto his face. “Boy, do I miss this shit!”

* * *

Cordelia jumped out of the van desperately, looking at the broken-down entrance to Caritas. “Hurry.” The sounds of bullets were enough to make her heart pound harder and harder as the seconds passed.

Angel pulled her back, “Stay in the van, both of you.”

“What!?” Buffy and Cordelia yelled in unison. Looking at Angel as if her were stupid or crazy, the two women punched him in the arm.

“You arrogant bastard, I’m not letting you go in there alone,” Cordelia growled, pulling two swords from his bag and walking past him. Buffy followed in suit and grabbed a long sword.

Angel winced, rubbing his shoulder. “Ow.”

* * *

Gunn pushed Lorne behind the counter, “Stay there!” Still smiling, Gunn smashed a table and made a makeshift club as he smacked everything in sight. “No one starts shooting up my boy’s club unless they want some ass-kicking.”

Suddenly, a beautiful woman walked in. Clothes clean, hair cut and nice, the woman looked oddly familiar. “Cor?” Gunn coughed as he choked on the words, looking at her with shock.

Cordelia grinned at him, and for a split-second, she was completely oblivious to the apparent mayhem and made her way to him. But the joyful reunion was cut short when a bullet went into Gunn’s gut. “No!” Cordelia screamed, jumping under a table and crawling over to him.

Angel slammed a few people, “What the hell is the point of all this violence?” He was clearly enjoying letting out all of his frustration. “Why can’t we just talk?”

Buffy stabbed a gunman, then twisted around and jumped over a sword that was lunged at her. Throwing the sword back at the man, Buffy tried to hide her happiness over accomplishment as she noticed all the gunmen were down.

“That was it?” Angel asked, his face contorting in confusion as he looked around; less than pleased, he kicked an already fallen gunman just to add to the fun.

But it was all broken down when Angel heard Cordelia whimpering and screaming. Fearing the worst, Angel desperately searched across the room. When he found her, kneeling on the ground, Angel tried to hold back a cry when he saw her bloody hands. But when he finally noticed that the man beside her was bleeding from the gut, Angel put it all together and realize it was his blood on his gut. “What happened?”

Cordelia wiped the tears from her cheeks, ignoring the blood smearing across her face. “Someone shot him. We need to help him.” Ripping off the bottom part of her shirt, Cordelia desperately put pressure on the wound with the cloth. Urgently yelling at Angel, Cordelia couldn’t help but cry. “Help me put him in the car, he needs to get a hospital.”

Buffy walked over, kneeling on the other side of Gunn. “What can I do?”

“Look for a green demon, he owns this place, he should be somewhere in here,” Cordelia mumbled as she and Angel supported Gunn. “If he’s hurt, you’ll have to help him here. Hospitals usually don’t help demons.”


* * *

The rest of the night happened in a blur to Cordelia as she and Angel nearly died just trying to speed all the way to the hospital. Seeing her friend in pain caused Cordelia to have a sort of mini-epiphany.

She left L.A. for her own selfish reasons and they were finally coming back to bite her in the ass. Yet Cordelia remained silent for the ride to the hospital and the entire time she and Angel dragged Gunn into the emergency room and saw him being pulled into a closed off room.

Angel gulped down the last of the water with difficulty as his bandaged hands got in the way. Walking into the waiting room, Angel’s eyes searched for Cordelia.

Buffy walked up beside him, wrapping her arms around his waist and placing her head on the back of his shoulder. “You okay?”

Angel ignored her when he spotted Cordelia with her head pressed up against a wall; pushing Buffy away absently, Angel walked over to her with concern spread across his face. “It’s looking like Gunn’s going to be okay.”

“They’re not sure.” Cordelia didn’t look at him, as if her head was glued to the wall. Slamming her bloody hands against the wall, the woman sobbed quietly. “I should have never left.”

Angel remained quiet, not sure whether his opinion was right in the situation. He merely placed his hand on her arm and squeezed her softly, comforting her in silence. Cordelia’s only response was her other hand moving onto his, taking comfort in its warmth.

* * *

Off to the side, Buffy eyed the two with a tinge of resentment in her green eyes. Fighting the urge to break the two apart, Buffy reminded herself that it was a merely comforting moment between two friends.

Biting her lip, Buffy turned away and decided to leave the two be.

* * *

After a few long, silent moments Cordelia looked up and into Angel’s dark eyes. Her russet orbs were full of regret and strong emotional pain as she remembered the picture of Gunn bleeding to death. “This isn’t working, Angel.”

“What isn’t working?” Angel asked quietly, though deep inside he knew where this was going. Swallowing the urge to beg her to not continue, Angel sat down and motioned for her to sit next to him.

Cordelia remained standing, turning away so she didn’t have to look him in the eye as she admitted. “I’m glad you guys have helped me. I appreciate it more than you can assume. But I can’t stay in Sunnydale.”

Angel jumped up, glad she was turned away so she didn’t see the pain clearly on his face. “Why?” he whispered in a husky tone.

“I have family here.”

“But I thought we…were your family,” Angel’s voice broke as he placed his hands on her shoulder.

Still facing away, Cordelia sobbed as she grabbed his hand and held it tightly. Taking comfort in his grasp, she couldn’t help but sob to death. “I have a responsibility here. I started a life here with a family that I love and it was wrong of me to just leave them.”

Angel wanted to turn her words around on her and say it was wrong of her to leave her new family behind, yet he simply bit his lip and finally turned her to face him. His face was contorted in pain. “They can move to Sunnydale.”

Cordelia looked at him, her tears holding her back from talking.

“Or maybe I can move to L.A., with Buffy of course.” Angel could go on and on with suggestions but his voice broke and he was starting to have trouble breathing. He finally had a connection with someone that wasn’t so tired and he loved Cordelia more deeply than he loved his actual sister.

Not waking up to go see Cordelia and Angie everyday was enough to kill Angel on the spot; but Angel remained as strong as he could and stood there, waiting for her response.

Cordelia placed her fingers on his lips as she silently cried. She leaned in to hug him but paused when her face was inches from his. “Go home,” she demanded softly. To Angel’s surprise, Cordelia kissed him softly on the lips. Whether or not the young woman kissed him with romantic intentions or with just the notion that it was a passionate goodbye between two close friends, Angel couldn’t begin to guess as his legs buckled beneath him and his head seemed to float.

Pulling away, Cordelia looked at him with tearful eyes. “To your family,” she finished, stepping aside and pointing to the door.

Part Ten

Lying alone with your thoughts can eventually and perpetually drive you crazy and shape you into a disturbed monster with hardly any willpower to control your mere thoughts.

As I sit here alone, with my thoughts, I wonder and wonder continually for what seems to be an eternity why I could never hold onto the things I completely desired and yearned for my entire life. Being a paternal figure to such an innocent and pure life completed my enigmatic soul to such a perfect point that if I were still bound under that daunting curse I would’ve been reverted back to my old, sadistic self.

And Cordelia. Cordelia Chase. A walking showcase of what beauty and perfection truly was. Her subtle modesty diverse with her strong, unconditional confidence that flowed through every word she spoke and every movement her ideal body made easily devoured my soul. Oh, how I miss the feelings that surged through my humanly body whenever I heard her laugh.

Angel paused, biting his pen as he looked around carefully. He was alone and liked it that way.

It took a while, but Angel finally convinced Dawn to distract Buffy long enough for Angel to finish his ‘alone time’ and complete his entry.

Writing in a journal was not something Angel would normally or openly do; but ever since Cordelia left with Angie he didn’t have an outlet to pour his heart into. Happiness was now a foreign language to the man as he carefully hid himself from the Scooby Gang almost twenty-four hours a day.

Angel had voluntarily quit his job at the bank a week after Cordelia left, finding no purpose in being paid when he no longer was needed to bring in the income when Principal Wood raised Buffy’s pay, albeit as long as she patrolled the halls and made sure there was no trouble.

Breathing sharp intakes, Angel threw his pen down and slammed the book shut. Making his way to the door out of his room, Angel paused, his hand inches from the doorknob as it began to twist.

To Angel’s dislike, Buffy walked into the room with a smile across her face. “Hey,” she whispered, closing the door behind her and sauntering over to him. Her voice crept with a little bit of seductiveness in her tone. “I missed you earlier.”

“I wanted to be alone,” Angel growled, not minding if he was rude. “I still do.”

“Look, I can understand that Cordelia leaving had a big impact on you, but come on, Angel. She’s just in L.A., not England or anything.”

“If this is you trying to comfort me, it really sucks,” Angel spat, pushing past her and walking out the door.

* * *

Cordelia grinned slightly, looking blankly at the wall as she only half-listened to Lorne and Gunn. “Angie said her first word yesterday.”

Lorne perked up, smiling brightly. “Angel cakes finally said her first word, how sweet.”

Cordelia didn’t seem so entirely excited. It seemed as if the moment was a bit too bittersweet for the young lady. “It was daddy.”

Gunn coughed, laughing a bit. “Were you wearing your hair up or something, girl? Cause shouldn’t it be mommy?”

Cordelia swallowed the shot of vodka and looked at them firmly her face impassive as she droned, “I was showing her a picture of Angel….It sometimes helps to calm her when she’s upset.”

Lorne’s face fell as he heard her admission. Gunn also looked a bit down as he pursed his lips in thought.

Rolling her eyes, Cordelia simply muttered under her breath as she stood up. “You don’t have to be all stoic about the situation. I’m where I’m supposed to be, let’s just leave it be.” Heading to the stairs, Cordelia grabbed her purse and pushed Angie’s stroller along with her. But before she could exit, Xander Harris walked through the door.

His face sweaty and twitching nervously, Cordelia held back a sweet grin as she cherished how innocent he looked. “Hey.”

Cordelia swallowed hard, “I can’t talk, I have to take Angie upstairs to sleep.” Leaving to go up the stairs, Cordelia grabbed Angie into her arms and gave Xander a stubborn gaze before walking past him,

Xander didn’t bother arguing, he simply stepped aside and let her go.

Gunn eyed the man carefully as he made his way to the bar and sat on the edge of his stool. “Not to be rude, but what you doing here man?”

Lorne snorted, “And who are you?”

“What happened to this place?” The man asked as nonchalant as he could manage. “Looks like a disaster.” When Gunn eyed him and Lorne shrugged, Xander swallowed hard and desperately tried to recover. “Which I like. I like disasters. They’re very hospitable.”

“Again, what a man like you doing in a town like this?” Gunn asked more firmly, holding back a wince as he shifted in his seat. The gun-wound still fresh in his physical bearing, Gunn couldn’t help but feel a little testy. “And why you harassing my girl? She’s like a sister to me and if anyone hurts her I’ll-”

“I’m not here to hurt her,” Xander croaked, looking at him straight in the eye. “I’m a friend who just wanted to make sure she’s okay.”

“She’s fine,” Lorne said in a less-than-friendly tone as he grabbed a cup and motioned to the different varieties of drinks.

“I’ll have a Sam Adams,” Xander said, distracted. Still looking at Gunn, Xander swallowed a good half of his drink. “Is she really doing fine?”

Gunn paused, “She’s a strong girl, I’ll give her that.”

“That’s not what I asked,” Xander cut in, dangerously on the edge of pounding him for taking too long. “She left us without really explaining why and we are worried.”

“You should be,” Gunn grunted. “She hasn’t been herself. Must’ve been something that jackass Angel did or said.”

“I don’t love the guy either, but he wouldn’t hurt Cordy either.” Xander stood up, “He cared for her and Angie…we all did.”

“I’m tired of this,” Gunn growled, standing up and looking down at Xander. “You leave now, get away. Leave Cordy and Angie alone.”


* * *

Buffy opened the door as silently as possible, peeking her head inside. The hall was completely dark so there was no light shining in as she looked around. Squeezing herself through the crack between the door and the frame, Buffy could hear noises from below, deeper down in the basement.

Closing the door behind her, Buffy tip-toed down the stairs, being careful as to not disturb whatever was down here making those indistinct noises. After a few steps, Buffy paused when the sounds become more definite. Someone was sobbing.

The sobs were much deep and seemed to become painful as each moment passed. A strong sense of sorrow resonated in the dark, empty room creating shivers up and down Buffy’s spine.

She was wrong. The room wasn’t empty. There was the carriage Angel had made for Angie when she was born and Cordelia had left it there for Angel to remember Angie by….There was something kneeling beside it. A figure, a large one, obviously a man.

It was Angel.

Kneeling beside the crib, Angel continuously sobbed into his arms as he buried his face in the crib. His breathing was sharp and it felt as if he was having an asthma attack. She could see the empty cabinet and how barren it looked. God! It even pained her just to look at it! The baby had become a part of all their lives and it hurt to not have Angie it their lives in anymore.

Suddenly, Angel looked up, obviously aware of her presents. “What are you doing down here!?” Angel roared, jumping up and pouncing at her. “Leave!” His face was wet with tears and contorted in utter emotional pain as he looked at her. “LEAVE!”

Buffy’s lip quivered as she slipped away from him and stormed up the stairs and through the door.

Angel fell to the ground, pounding his fists over and over into the concrete as his frustration and agony overtook him. “Why?” he growled to himself over and over, passing out onto the floor as his body slumped over and his puffy, red eyes drifted close as he cried himself to sleep.




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