Part Four - "Missing Something"

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LYRICS: All lyrics are by The Counting Crows

AN: To clear up any confusion, I consider this fic taking place in S6, however, since it is an AU fic, I've warped the time lines a bit. So there are elements of S4,5&6 in this fic. Hope that doesn't confuse anyone. If it does, just attribute it to my fever. *G*




if you think that i could be forgiven...i wish you would

Angel climbed slowly out of Buffy's window and prowled the streets of Sunnydale looking for something to kill. He really wanted to follow Riley and Buffy and he would be trailing them right then if he thought he could get away with it. But he was sure that Buffy would catch him sooner rather than later and would be more pissed off at him than she already was. So he forced himself toward the cemeteries, where he was fairly certain their date was not taking place.

He took out a couple of lesser vamps and kept patrolling, hoping that something would click inside his mind, some idea that would present itself as the solution to all his problems. He wasn't even sure if his son existed in this alternate dimension. He made a mental note to ask Cordelia about it later and was sure he was going to get yet another stupefied look of exasperation, but he had to know certain things about his life. Like, was Darla alive? What about Spike and Drusilla?

A rustle in the trees made him look to his right and he knew immediately that the rustler in question was not a vampire, "Who's there?"

"Me," Anya said, stepping into plain sight.

"Hey," Angel said.

"You're looking a bit less large and glowery in this dimension," Anya said gloomily, having still procrastinated on her decision of whether or not to contact Xander.

"You remember too?" Angel asked.

"Yes," Anya said, hopping up on a gravestone to sit, "You were already dust when Buffy's Dad made the wish, but I'm responsible for this dimension."

"Oh," Angel said, "Okay, that clears a lot up. What did he wish?"

"That he had never left his family," Anya answered, "Because of that, Buffy never moved to Sunnydale but you did. She visited the Hellmouth a lot over the years to fight whatever danger was here, which is why you were involved in this world too."

"So, are we stuck here?" Angel asked, "I mean, is it going to change back and then I'm going to be dead again?"

"That depends," she answered honestly, "Here's the thing. If I stay a vengeance demon and stay alive, then this world will remain. If I don't and decide to return to my human form, then it might change back again."

"So what you're saying is that I can die any minute now," Angel said, feeling as if his heart was pounding even though it remained still in his chest.


"Wonderful," he said, turning around to head in the opposite direction.

"Where are you going?"

"I have to find Buffy and make things right," he yelled over his shoulder as he began to run away, "If this dimension disappears and I die then she'll never know how much I love her. Thanks Anya!"

"You're welcome," Anya said, now very confused. Angel obviously didn't realize that if he told her he loved her in this dimension, she wouldn't know in the other one. She looked at the space where the vampire had been and decided not to mention that little detail. She slid off the gravestone and began to walk idly in the direction that Angel had gone. If she didn't act soon and someone figured out what happened with the wish, she could fail again. And lose Xander again. Picking up her feet, she began to run as well. Forgetting the common sense she had just gathered for Angel, she followed her heart. She couldn't lose love again this time too.


she's tired and lonely
scared and depressed
her visions of one day go racing the next

"Hi Buffy," Riley said as she opened her front door. He took a second to look her over and saw that she looked tired. Her eyes were puffy as if she had just been crying and her dress was wrinkled. He thought that it looked like she had been wringing it in her hands for a while before she put it on, "You look...upset, actually."

"I've had kind of a bad couple of days," she said honestly, "But I'm fine, really. Ready to go?"

"Sure," he said uneasily, stepping aside so that she could step out on the porch. She turned and yelled a goodbye to Willow as she closed the door and a falsely happy voice rang out an echoed goodbye back.

"Where are we going?" she asked, with a tenth of the enthusiasm she had planned to drum up before Angel's little visit.

"Are you hungry?" he asked, answering her question with a question.

"Not really."

"Okay. Well, I was going to take you to dinner but since that's out, I thought I would take you to The Bronze. I know you always said you liked it there."

"Okay," Buffy said, nodding absently, still thinking of being in Angel's arms and the words he had said to her. In particular, she couldn't stop hearing "I love you, Buffy" again and again.

"You know," Riley said, stopping in the center of the sidewalk and turning to her, "If you aren't feeling well maybe we should do this another night. You look like you're really not into this."

"I'm sorry, Riley," she said, "I just...yes, can we do this another night? I really didn't plan to be like this."

"That's okay," he said, leaning in to peck her cheek, "Rain check?"

"Sure," she answered. She watched him walk away and stood there less than a block from her house caught in confusion. The steps it would take from her house to Angel's seemed to rise up and beckon her. After a few minutes, she turned and followed them.


i'll follow you down baby, down into this valley
i'll follow you down baby, but i won't come up again

Angel raced across town and checked every place he could think of to take a date in Sunnydale. Since it was such a small place, there really weren't that many places a couple could go. He checked every restaurant and every diner. He even checked the rows of shops and boutiques, although most were closing or already closed by the time he got to them. He sped past the movie theatre, knowing there wasn't really a way for him to go in and check every showing for Buffy. Finally, he headed to The Bronze and found the place pretty dead for a Sunday night. Among the people there, none of them were Buffy or Riley.

He headed back out into the night, silently praying that Buffy was not at Riley's house, in his bedroom, where the fucker could take advantage of the emotional distress that he had caused. Just the thought of that commando jerk touching his girl - again - made his skin crawl - again. He looked up as someone stepped in his path and found himself face to face with Charles Gunn.

"Gunn," he said, wishing he could remember what his relationship was with him was in this new world.

"How the hell do you know my name?" he asked, narrowing his eyes as he looked over the vampire, "I guess in this small of a town, you'd figure out who the new face is. I wanna talk to you, Angel."

"About what?" Angel asked, tensing himself for a fight.

"My girl," he said, "And if you plan on hurting her again."


"Uh, yeah, jackass," Gunn said, "I'm pretty sure that you already know about my relationship with her and I sure as hell know about your whatever that was with her."

"You were involved? With Buffy?"

"You think we were chess partners?" Gunn asked sarcastically, "Look, I'll be quick cause I gotta get back to LA and The Slayer will kick my ass if she knew I came here, but I want to warn you, if you hurt her again I'm going to stake you without thinking twice about it. I don't care if you have a soul or not."

"Was love with you?" Angel asked, feeling as if he had already been staked.

"No, of course not," Gunn snorted, "The only person, well, you're not a person, but whatever. The only thing she ever loved was you. Fucking Angel this and fucking Angel that. Gets old. Especially when she's crying on my shoulder. I just want to let you know; you hurt her, I'm coming back. And next time I'm not going to be so nice."

"Nice," Angel said with a little laugh, "Look, Gunn-"

"I don't want to hear it!" Gunn shouted, "Just know, I will come back for you if I have to."

"You won't have to."

"Yeah," Gunn said, "With an asshole like you, I can almost mark my damn calendar."

Angel watched Gunn turn and walk away, debating with himself on who he could possibly be in this world. If he never turned evil, then what could he have possibly done to Buffy to make him so horrible? He tried to remind himself that it took Gunn a very long time to accept him as a good vampire and that a lot of people didn't like him initially. If he broke up with Buffy on the pretense that he didn't love her, then it wasn't hard to believe that everyone would hate him. But Willow didn't seem to.

Willow! he thought. Maybe she could clear all this up. If he couldn't find Buffy, then Willow was the next best source of information.


why'd you leave me 'till i'm only good for waiting for you
all my sins...i said that i would pay for them if i could come back to you
all my innocence is wasted on the dead and dreaming

Buffy walked into the mansion and found it empty. She thought that Angel probably wouldn't come right back here after she went out with Riley. She was a little surprised that he hadn't been stalking them in the shadows and even though it would have pissed her off if he had, she couldn't help but be disappointed that he hadn't.

"Any one here? Angel?" Buffy called, hearing only her own voice echoing back to her. She made her way to his bedroom and stood there looking at his bed. There it was, the place he had made love to her a hundred times, the place where they had started to plan their future on the little weekends she had stolen to be with him, the place where he told her that he didn't love her anymore.

She was so confused. It had been almost a year since he told her to leave and go on with her life without him. It was almost as if he had become a different person overnight. She shuddered when she remembered how harsh he had been and how his words had been painfully exact, cutting her to the quick with each consonant and vowel being its own separate strike to her soul.

She sat on the edge of the bed and smoothed her hand over the crimson bedspread, recalling her conversation with Willow on her next visit to Sunnydale. Willow had said that Angel had fired Doyle and Cordelia, booting them out of his life. There was also a rumor that Darla, Spike and Drusilla had been in the mix, causing a ruckus in town. By the time Buffy got back to Sunnydale, all three were missing. No one had seen or heard from them at all in the last year. In fact, even Willy wasn't sure where they went. Rumors had been flying all over town that Angel had killed his Sire and his two children, but no one saw it. Apparently, Angel had set all three of them on fire but they had survived that and were seen later.

She shivered with the memory of Willow and Xander recounting all of the Sunnydale happenings to her. She had never seen Xander so reluctant to share bad news about Angel, but even he had to admit that there was something very different about the souled vampire. Buffy had yearned to go to him and talk to him the whole time, but he had made it more than clear that he didn't want anything to do with her. Ever again.

Now he thought he could just glide through her window in that incredibly sexy way and profess his undying love? And his excuse was that he woke up in another dimension? Even The Slayer had a hard time swallowing that one. At the same time, though, she wanted nothing more to believe that he did love her and that this was all some big misunderstanding. Maybe he did love her. He certainly seemed serious when he said it. God, it was almost like he had never broken up with her.


i will wait for you

Riley walked in The Initiative and the alarms were going crazy. Just as he got out of the elevator, his beeper went off for him to report in and he was glad that he had decided to come in, although he would have preferred it if he had been beeped in the middle of an actual date, rather than a canceled one.

He hurried down the stairs, jumping down the last four and catching the arm of the first soldier that ran past him.

"What's going on?" he shouted over the sound of the alarms and pounding feet.

"Three HSTs have escaped, sir," the guy shouted back, "Hostiles 17, 18 & 19. One male and two females. They are considered extremely dangerous."

"Have they made it off the grounds?" Riley shouted.

"Yes sir. Teams are being deployed now to retrieve them."

"Thank you," Riley said, running further into the complex, searching for his team, which should be standing by for his orders.


she'll change so suddenly
she's just like mercury
yeah, but she's all right with me

Angel made his way to Buffy and Willow's and found the house dark and quiet. He stood on the porch for a second and listened, hoping that he would hear something to indicate that someone was home, but he didn't. He waited a minute more before deciding not to knock and headed back home. He fought the urge to climb back up to Buffy's window but she wasn't there. He was certain of it.

The mansion was silent when he arrived and he went to the kitchen to feed before heading to his bedroom. His mate was curled up on the bed fast asleep in her wrinkled dress and he nearly jumped for joy when he saw her there. He wondered how far she got into the date before she came here, but realized that it didn't matter. She was here now.

He laid down beside her and propped his head on his elbow looking down at her face. He always loved to watch her sleep. It was the only time that she took on that look of absolute peace and safety. He loved that look and liked to think she had it because she was with him, even though he knew that probably wasn't the case. He brushed her hair back from her face and kissed her brow.

"Angel," she murmured, after feeling his cold lips touch her skin.

"I'm here, love," he answered, smiling down on her as she blinked. She shifted positions and buried her face in his chest, squeezing her eyes closed again.

"Don't say anything," she whispered, her voice muffled into his chest, "Just hold me and we can pretend none of that ever happened."

"Okay," he said, kissing the top of her head as he wrapped her arms around her. He was happy to pretend none of "that" ever happened, especially since he really didn't have any idea what "that" was. Not in this dimension anyway.

After several seconds, she seemed to break her own rule as she sat up and looked into his eyes as if she were searching for the truth, "You really still love me?"

"I love you, Buffy," he said, making himself as clear as possible, "Whatever I said before wasn't true."

"Are you going to do that, what you did before, again? Cause I need to know ahead of time."

"I don't remember what that was, love," he answered honestly, "But if you mean, am I going to tell you I don't love you and break up with you again, then no, I'm not going to do that again."


"I promise."

"Good, because I was starting to hate you," she said, nestling back against him again.

"I already do hate you," a voice said from the doorway and they both looked up to see a very pregnant Darla leaning heavily on Spike, with Dru standing behind them. Buffy looked on in confusion as Angel leapt from the bed and hurried over to place his hands on her protruding belly.

"Connor," he whispered and looked up at her with a smile, "It's all going to be different this time."

"This time?" Darla asked, arching one delicate brow at her former lover.

"Our son," Angel answered, "Long story. Never mind."

"You mean you aren't bloody surprised that you knocked up your Sire?" Spike shouted, "Have you lost your gob, mate? She's a pregnant vampire."

"I know," Angel said with a large grin. Peeking back over his shoulder, he saw the pale and shaking form of his mate as she stood by the bed with a stake in her hand and confusion on her face.

"Angel?" Buffy asked, looking over the faces of the three soulless vampires and finding them just as confused as she.


Part Five "Surprises"


well, i guess there might not be too many who would stand beside you now

"You're responsible for that?" Buffy gasped, pointing her stake at the pregnant vampiress darkening Angel's doorway.

"Yes," Angel answered, nodding slowly, "But Buffy, if you give me a chance, I can explain everything."

"I thought you couldn't remember anything," she snapped angrily. She thought about trying to leave but Darla was blocking the only exit and standing behind her were the two formidable forms of Spike and Drusilla. They all looked exhausted and hungry - starving actually. Darla licked her lips as she stared at Buffy's throat. Nothing was more tasty to a starving vampire than a Slayer.

"I can't," he said, "But it's complicated. This happened before, in the other dimension. In a moment of despair I cut off everyone I cared about and was essentially driven insane by my Sire. I slept with Darla when I was at my very lowest point and she got pregnant. I'm sure that's what happened here. It may seem unbelievable, Buffy-"

"You're right about that," she said, feeling the need to punch him or her or both, "This is unbelievable. You're a vampire! You can't have children. And you slept with HER?"

"There's a prophecy," Angel answered, "Darla is carrying my son. I lost him in the last dimension. He was stolen from me. I've been give another save him. Buffy, he's human."

"Human?" Darla shouted, feeling as if all the human emotions that had recently been clouding her brain were finally making sense, "This thing inside me is human? It's not possible. I've tried everything to get rid of it-"

Darla stopped talking and did what a vampire never did. She turned her back on The Slayer. Spike and Drusilla did the same as they heard a rustle coming from behind them. Footsteps were becoming more clear and the three moved into defensive stances. Angel crept up behind them and knew Buffy was at his side, peering over the shoulders over the others and in between their bodies to see what the danger was.

"They found us," Drusilla whispered, holding Spike's arm nervously. She didn't want to go back to The Initiative. None of them did. Being trapped in those tiny rooms for months on end with no warm blood was horrible. Not to mention the fact that half the blood they were given was drugged in some way, so they rarely fed at all during their stay.

"I'm not going back there," Darla growled, reverting to game face as she scanned the dark room ahead of her for movement. Vampiric eyes saw the barrel of the gun poking into the room but they didn't expect the ammunition to be tranquilizer darts.


the altar is empty and she'll never be a little girl again

"Since when did you knock?" Xander asked, stepping aside from his apartment door to let Anya in. He looked over her face for a second and reached up to caress her cheek, "Something wrong, An? You look a little pale."

"N-no," Anya said, walking in the room just enough so that he could close the door behind her. This was the first time she had desperately wanted something to result in a wish besides exacting pain and mayhem. She looked over her lover's face in confusion. She thought, or she assumed, that she wasn't with him in this dimension. She was certain that she would have to start all over but he was leading her to the couch and sitting her down. His eyes were searching hers urgently for answers.

"Honey," he said, caressing her hand in his, "You're an hour late and you look freaked. So, I'm guessin' that you might be upset about something."

"Do you love me, Xander?" she asked, glancing down at the diamond on her finger. How had it escaped her notice before? Was she just so used to it being there that she didn't think anything about its welcome weight on her hand?

"Yes," he said, nodding with confusion, "You know I love you."

"And you really want to marry me? Are you going to leave me at the altar, Xander? Do you want to go through with this wedding?" She asked, clutching his hands as she spoke.

"Of course," he said, smiling oddly, "Where is all this coming from? Have you been talking with your demon friend again, because you always get like this whenever she's around and-"

"No," she answered shaking her head, "I just need you to know something."


"If you don't want to marry me, then tell me now. Break it off now. I can't go through this later," she said. She almost had to force the word "later" out instead of "again."

"I want to marry you," he answered confidently, "That's why I asked you to marry me. Are you having second thoughts again? Because we've been through this a million times."

"Me? Second thoughts?" she asked.

"Very funny," he said, kissing her gently and grinning his token goofy smile, "We'll just keep pretending you don't have cold feet. Whose the guy here anyway? Do you still want to go out or do you want to stay in tonight?"

"I love you," she said, slumping back on the sofa and smiling dreamily at him.

"I love you too," he said, shaking his head at her strange behavior, ""


well i heard you let somebody get their fingers into you

Riley Finn stood looking down at the bodies of four vampires and one very beautiful almost girlfriend. He was already disturbed that he found his canceled date for the evening in this mansion on Crawford Street in the company of four vampires, but she was laying in the doorway of the bedroom. He didn't want to think of the possible reasons she could have been in the bedroom. The tall, dark vampire had blocked her body with his when the firing started and before she was shot, she had tried to drag him back into the bedroom to safety. It was all a little too strange to contemplate.

"We're going to have to taken her in," Forrest said, standing next to his friend and looking down on the girl, "She has to be quarantined until we know for sure that she..."

"I know," Riley said, clearing his throat. He turned to face the men waiting for his orders and cleared the emotion from his face, "Gather them up and let's take them in, men."

The two teams under his charge moved forward immediately. Riley gathered Buffy in his arms, taking sole responsibility for her, much to the surprise of all of them except for Graham and Forrest who exchanged worried looks. This wasn't good. Not at all.


i got friends who care for me

"So, Buffy did not come home last night?" Giles said, looking at Willow over his glasses with concern.

"No," Willow gulped.

"And you've checked with...what's that boy's name?"

"Riley," Willow said, "He said he hadn't seen her. He said she canceled their date last night, but Giles, I saw her leave with him and she didn't come back home. I called Angel's only to find that he's missing too. Cordy said that there looked like there had been a struggle at the mansion. No one's seen either one of them."

"Perhaps The Initiative has something to do with this," Giles mused, swirling his tea in the porcelain cup absently.

"That's what I'm thinking," Willow answered, "They were going to break it down after the whole Adam thing, but they didn't for some reason. We were never able to find out why."

"Let's call the others," Giles said, moving toward the phone.


don't try to feed me
i've been here before
and i deserve a little more

Angel was angry and growling like a crazed beast when he woke up to find himself trapped in a tiny cell with Spike of all people. Buffy, Darla and Drusilla were not in the cell with them or anywhere in sight, but Angel knew that Buffy was in the complex somewhere. He could feel her presence close by.

Two bags of blood were lying in the center of the cell but Angel ignored them and crossed to the glass wall. He touched it once and felt an electric surge pass through his body which only pissed him off more.

"Don't drink the blood, mate," Spike said, resting in the corner casually, "It's probably drugged."

"You think?" Angel snapped, "Of course, it's drugged. The Initiative is notorious for maiming vampires."

"Well, that little bit of information would have been helpful months ago when we were captured. I can't bloody believe we escaped tonight and we're already back in this hellhole. I want to kill someone."

"Me too," Angel growled, surprising his Childe.

"Be my guest," Spike grumbled back, "In fact, I hope you take out every combat boot wearing wanker in the place, just as long as I get to leave."


well, i know i don't know you and you're probably not what you seem
aw, but i'd sure like to find out

Buffy looked up when the door to her cell opened and Riley stepped in, looking down at her where she sat huddled in the corner.

"You're free to go, Buffy," he said gently, holding out his hand to help her to her feet. She refused his help and stood up on her own, glaring at him angrily.

"I can't believe you locked me in this...this prison after all I've done to help you in the past," Buffy said, in a quietly cold voice and made shivers run down Riley's spine, "You lied to me. You said that this place was going to shut down after what happened but all you did was renovate."

"It was going to be shut down," Riley said, "But they changed their minds."

"I can see that," she said, walking quickly out of the cell and into the safety of the hallway. She stopped and turned back to him, as he stepped out of the cell and closed the door behind him, "What happened to the vampires?"

"They're being contained," he answered, "But why were you there? You're supposed to be slaying them, not chatting in their bedrooms."

"Don't talk to me like you have any idea what my life is about. You have no right. What I was doing there is none of your business or The Initiative's," she said. She turned and walked down the hallway, mostly to hide her look of relief that Angel was okay. She knew he wasn't dead. She could still feel him inside of her, but she always doubted that feeling. She always made herself believe she was imagining it.

Riley followed her silently as she stomped angrily ahead of him and as she turned the corner, she heard the distinct sound of her lover's angry growl. She surged ahead and looked into the cell that contained Angel and Spike.

"Buffy," Angel growled, moving as closely as he could to the glass, sporting his game face. Spike jumped to his feet and walked up too.

"Let us out of here, Slayer," Spike said, "Bloody people are inhospitable here."

"Open this door," Buffy said, looking over her shoulder at Riley.

"I'm not letting those bloodsuckers go," he said, crossing his arms defiantly.

"Just Angel," Buffy said, pointing out the dark haired snarling beast, "He has a soul, Riley. He's good. You can't keep him here."

"That's Angel?" he asked incredulously, "Your ex is a vampire?"

"Yes," Buffy said, "Now set him free."

"If he's so good, then why was he hanging out with the other three? Why were you for that matter?"

"We were trying to figure that out when you and your buddies barged in," she answered, "They just showed up and then we were all attacked."

"No," Riley said, "What I mean is why did you break our date and then go see your ex-demon?"

"That's none of your business," she said quietly, looking over at Angel who had stopped growling and reverted to his human face. He had been wondering much the same thing. Truth be told, he didn't care, as long as she was with him and not Riley.

"You think The Slayer's gonna leave Angel for you, insipid boy?" Spike said, laughing heartily, "That's a bloody riot! Let me give you a little tip. She can't get enough of my old Sire here. She'll never love you."

"Spike," Angel warned, "That's enough."

"Aw, come on, Peaches," Spike said, leaning against the wall and propping one foot back on the white tiled wall, "You know as well as I do that despite your pesky soul you would love to kill him for touching your mate."

"I don't kill humans," Angel answered, meeting Buffy's gaze.

"Yeah," Spike snorted, looking over Riley with his head cocked a little to the side as if he were trying to decipher a puzzle, "I bet you'd make an exception for him."

"Shut up, Spike," Buffy said, "You're not helping."

"Temper, temper Slayer," Spike said, "She's really testy. You probably couldn't handle the girl anyway."

Riley reached out and touched Buffy's shoulder, causing a growl to erupt from Angel and a sprinkle of laughter from Spike.

"Get your hands off my mate," Angel growled, trying to speak normally, but failing.

Buffy shrugged him off but turned to face him, "I need you to let Angel out."

"I can't. It's against regulations."

Buffy sighed and thought about continuing to argue, but hit him instead. One well planned punch to the temple, knocked him out cold. She reached for his card and opened the door. Angel hurried out and back kicked his Childe, sending him flying back into the cell. Pressing the release, the doors slid closed, locking Spike back inside.

"You can't lock me back up in here!" Spike screamed, running back to the glass, "Come on!"

"Sorry, Spike," Angel said, "But I can't have you running the streets again."

"You fucking wanker!"

"Let's get out of here," Buffy said, tugging on his arm as she glanced back at Riley's prone form.

"Not yet," he said, "I have to find Darla."


"She's carrying my child, Buffy. I can't let The Initiative get a hold of my son."


well, i guess you left me with some feathers in my hand

"This is unprecedented," Giles said excitedly, "You're sure Darla is really pregnant? And with Angel's child?"

"Yes," Buffy said, settling onto the couch sadly, "And he'll do anything to protect her. Anytime you want to comfort me instead of acting all weird and Watcherly, that'd be nice."

"I'm sorry, Buffy," Giles said, scanning his bookshelf, "It's just that vampires cannot procreate. It's impossible."

"Apparently not," Buffy fumed.

"Dead boy's having a baby, huh?" Xander said, "Great, just what we need. More of his kind."

"That's just it," Buffy said, "Angel says the baby's human."

"Are you certain?" Giles said, eyes bulging in such a way that Buffy thought they were going to touch the lenses of his glasses.

"That's what he said."

"Wow," Willow added, looking over at Tara to see the same shocked look on her pretty face, "A human baby?"

"Normal," Buffy said, "Just a human child. But Darla said she tried to kill it and couldn't."

"She attempted to abort it?"

"Well, I don't know what she tried," Buffy said, "Only that she wanted it gone and couldn't get rid of it. There's some sort of supernatural protection."

"But how can a human baby live and be nourished inside the womb of a vampire?"

"Who knows?" Buffy said, "But Angel could barely look at me, he was so busy coddling Darla. I don't even think he noticed that I left."

"I'm sure he noticed," Willow said, patting her arm.

"I'm not."


Part Six "Baby, baby"


find a little flame

Angel tucked Darla into his bed. Actually, it would probably be more accurate to say that he locked her in the room, dead bolted the door and had Doyle on guard with a crossbow in case she tried to escape. The half demon was more than a little nervous about being left alone with a hormonal and hungry vampiress, but he was glad Angel had seen that she was fed and fast asleep before he left. He could at least rest more easily knowing that the other two demons were safely locked up in The Initiative and his own pregnant Princess was at home where she wasn't likely to be attacked.

He watched Angel leave and gripped the crossbow tightly in his hands. He knew how to use it, but he knew he was a fumbler. Vampires didn't really like demon blood, but she looked hungry enough before that he was afraid she might want to try it anyway.

"Doyle?" A voice whispered behind him and he nearly jumped out of his skin.

"Delia! What the hell are you doing here?" he said in a whispered yell.

"I came to check on you and Angel. Where is Angel?"

"He went to see Buffy," Doyle answered, glancing quickly between the door and his wife and back again, "And you have to get out of here. You have to go home now. Right now."

"Are you trying to tell me what to do? Because you may be my husband but you don't own me-"

"Princess," he said, dropping one hand off of the crossbow to caress his wife's cheek, "You're pregnant and Darla is starving for human blood and dangerous. Please go home."

"I can take care of myself," Cordelia said, producing a stake from her pocket, "I've lived on the Hellmouth my entire life, you know."

"Yes, but you weren't pregnant before," he said, kissing her lightly and wishing he could just take her home himself and keep kissing her, "Please."

"Fine," she huffed and turned to leave. Doyle listened to her footsteps retreating through the Great Room and out of the mansion. He held his breath as he listened, waiting for the sound of the car starting. When he heard it, he exhaled his breath and leaned his head back on the wall. Living on the Hellmouth was not a good idea for a family man. He still didn't know how all these people raised children and had families in such a dangerous place.


round here she's slipping through my hands

"Stalking me?" Buffy said, turning around in the graveyard to face her mate, "Shouldn't you be watching over your unborn son or something?"

"You left," he said simply, digging into her with his eyes but making no move to approach her. He was infuriating.

"Yes," Buffy said, "I'm sorry. I know I'm being selfish, but I can't help thinking that you had sex with Darla and now she's going to have your child. Do you know how many times I dreamed of us together? Of me having your child? It's stupid, I know, but I never thought it was possible. Now that I know it is..."

"Buffy," Angel said, crossing the space between them, "I want him to be your son. God, I wish he was but I can't help that he's not. I don't love her. I love you. Can't you understand that?"

"Yes," she said, staring at the buttons on his black silk shirt, "I understand. It's's...just hard."

"I know, love," he said, "I didn't know it had happened in this world. I would have told you if I had known. I would have warned you. But I'm not sorry. I love Connor and I thought I had lost him. Now that I have a second chance, I'm going to devote my life to him."

"I get it," she said, sniffing lightly.

"No, I don't think you do," he said, crooking his finger underneath her chin and tilting her head up, "I want you to be with me this time. I want you to help me raise him. You and me. Together."

"You do?"

"Buffy, the only things I care about in this world or any other are you and my son. You're my life. I should have had you with me...before. When he was taken, I was destroyed. I crumbled. I thought about you, how I had lost you, how you never even saw him before he was gone. I want you to be a part of it this time."

"I want to be a part of it," she said, meeting his tearful eyes with her own, "I bet you make a really anal father."

"Hey," he said, smiling despite himself, "I'm overprotective, not anal."

"Anal," she returned, grinning at him.


time fades into the night

Doyle knew that Angel hadn't been gone that long but he felt as if half the year had passed already while he watched that closed wooden door. He thought he was imagining things when the door handle began to jiggle but when it became more forceful, he stood up from where he leaned against the wall and aimed the crossbow at the door.

"Angel?" Darla's throaty voice came calling through.

Doyle froze. He couldn't answer because he wasn't sure what to say. He didn't have long to think about it before the door shuddered from the force of a blow on the other side and then a second blow caused it to wrench from its hinges and slam to the floor.

"Demon," she said bitterly as she took a sniff of the air, "He couldn't have a human guard me."

"Sorry," Doyle said, keeping his aim, "Angel will be back in a little while. I'm just keeping watch here."

He didn't have time to even squeeze the trigger before she crossed the room, knocked the crossbow from his hands and clenched a clawed hand around his throat.

"I'm starving and this child is poisoning me," she said, heaving breaths as she spoke, "You think a door will keep me from the world? From feeding? Not even these sick emotions inside me will keep me from getting what I need."

She tossed him aside and he slid into the Great Room, crashing into an end table before he clambered to his feet.

"Darla," Doyle said carefully, holding his hands up to show that he had no weapon or intention of hurting her, "Now you know you can't go out like this. There's blood in the frig. You can have all of it."

"Pig's blood?" she shouted angrily, "Don't insult me! I need something warm."

She kicked out at the table in front of her and broke in half. Doyle moved aside, still trying to block her exit to the door. She attacked, trying to make her way to the exit, but he only took her blows and dodged a few of them, before he tripped her and sent her slamming against the couch. He felt a moment's guilt for trying to hurt a pregnant woman, but this was no ordinary pregnant woman. When he saw the anger in her eyes, he stood and ran back toward the bedroom again. There was no way he would be able to beat her and to keep her from leaving at this point was impossible. He hoped she would just leave, but she didn't. She followed her attacker through the mansion, to the bedroom.

She caught up quickly, moving incredibly fast despite her extra burden and tossed him against the wall again. The deadly look in her blue eyes told him that she meant to kill him before she went on the hunt. Crawling, he made his way to the crossbow, grabbing it just before she kicked him, sending him across the hall and into the opposite wall. He held onto his weapon as he struck the wall and thought he heard one of his bones crack. Rolling over with a groan, he sat up slightly and aimed his weapon at the furious, charging vampiress. Closing his eyes, he shot.


get right to the heart of matters
it's the heart that matters more
i think you'd better turn your ticket in
and leave your money right at the door

When they returned to the mansion, Angel stopped in the Great Room for a second before running toward the bedroom. The furniture was tossed about, the couch was overturned, the coffee table was splintered, Cordelia's vase of flowers in the corner had been smashed to bits and the flowers were lying on the floor in their water, surrounded by the glass.

"Darla! Doyle!" Angel shouted, running through the house. Angel ran through the bedroom door and looked around frantically, as Buffy ran in behind him. Together they saw a bloody and dazed Doyle, sitting in the corner of the room, holding the body of a newborn child.

"Connor," Angel whispered, before crossing the room and dropping to his knees beside his half-demon friend and scooping up the body of his son. He looked over the infant closely, inspecting him for injuries and found that he was just as perfect as he had been before. He was Connor. Every inch of him was identical to his other dimensional son. Angel felt Buffy at his side as she knelt beside him and looked at the child in his arms.

"Are you okay, Doyle?" Angel asked, looking up from the child.

"Yeah," he said, "But I think I need a serious drink...or four. I'm sorry Angel but she woke up and when she found that she was locked in that room she went crazy. She kicked in the door and attacked me. I tried not to dust her but she was going to kill me."

"That's okay," Angel said, slapping Doyle on the shoulder before rising to his feet and extending a hand to help him up while cradling Connor with one arm, "She knew she couldn't give birth to him."

"What? Why?" Buffy asked curiously as she perched on the edge of the bed and watched as Angel made his way over to sit down next to her. He smiled down at his son for a moment more before turning to Buffy and beginning the story of what happened before and how his son came to be conceived, born and lost. Doyle sat in a chair nearby and listened intently as the vampire wove his tale.


every time she sneezes i believe it's love

Buffy slept in her own bed that night even though she really wanted to stay with Angel. She thought it would be best if she gave him some time with his son, who he looked at like he was a miracle. She got up in the morning and headed directly for Giles' flat with Willow in tow, to have an early morning Scooby meeting to discuss the miracle unbirth the night before.

Half the morning was spent in excited conversation with her Watcher and friends as she recounted the happenings of the night before. The Initiative was the topic of heated discussion as well. It was very interesting that they were still very much in business. Giles was relieved, as were the rest of the group, to find that Spike and Drusilla were contained, at least for the time being. Hopefully the pair wouldn't be prowling the Sunnydale streets anytime soon. Now that Darla was also out of the picture, for good this time, there was a reason to relax as much as one could on the Hellmouth.

Buffy waited until late afternoon before going back to Angel's. The morning and early afternoon hours had crawled by. Even Giles' excitement over all the new information was enough to keep her from being distracted.

Buffy walked into the mansion, to find Cordelia flipping through a magazine with a cradle sitting near her desk. The Slayer peeked inside to find Angel's son sleeping contented next to the desk with the hum of the computer as his lullabye.

"Hey Cordy," Buffy whispered as she looked up from the little miracle.

"Hey," Cordelia answered, not bothering to whisper, "He sleeps like the dead, just like his father. You don't have to whisper."

"Oh," Buffy said, smiling down at him. She couldn't help but wonder what other qualities Connor would have that were like Angel.

"He's napping," Cordy added.

"I can see that," Buffy answered sarcastically. Sometimes she really didn't get her.

"No, Angel's napping," Cordy said, "He spent all morning putting together the nursery, having furniture delivered and all kinds of other stuff. Doyle's exhausted too."

Cordelia nodded at the couch to find the Irishman sleeping there on his side. Buffy smiled at Cordelia as she looked over at her husband. She never really thought of Queen C as the fall in love type, but she sure seemed to love the strange half-demon.

Buffy headed for Angel's room. She smiled at the closed door, which he must have reinstalled today since it was broken down the night before. She opened it quietly and tiptoed inside, closing it quietly behind her. He was lying on top of the comforter, shirtless and barefoot, clad only his traditional pair of black pants.

She sat down slowly at his side, examining his strong cheekbones, prominent brow, full lips. She thought about kissing them for a second but decided against it. He looked exhausted even as he slept. She allowed herself an appreciative glance over his muscular chest and stomach. Her hand hovered over his skin but she stopped herself from touching him.

As she began to pull her hand back, she felt his hand grab hers and she smiled down at the deep eyes that blinked open.

"Hi," she said, "I was just checking on you."

"I'm glad," he said. His voice was raw and hoarse from sleep and she smiled. She loved that sexy edge his voice took on when he just woke up or right before he slept. There was a time not so long ago when she was fairly certain she would never hear it again.

"I, uh, I should let you sleep," she said, as his fingers traveled up her arm, his cool flesh making the heat in her skin more pronounced. He ignored her statement and pulled her down to his lips. She sighed into his kiss and felt her tears springing up as he pushed his tongue into her mouth, gently exploring familiar territory.

"I missed you," he whispered as he slipped a hand under her shirt to feel the smooth satin skin of her back.

"I missed you," she whispered back, nibbling at his lips. He pulled her on top of him and she felt his arousal pressing against her as he smoothed a hand over her back and cupping her bottom.

"I want you to move in," he said, "Stay here with me and Connor."

"Angel," Buffy paused, sitting up again and moving off of him as he sat up as well, "We've been over this before."

"Well, I don't remember that."

"Right," she said, nodding.

"Remind me?"

She stared at him. There were thousands of reasons not to move in with him and make herself a permanent fixture in his life. Vampire and Slayer, for one. When she was in LA, she had a home there and hadn't planned to leave it. Now she had Willow to think about and there was Giles. He always took on that fatherly disapproval that was more annoying than her own father's similar look. Speaking of Hank, he hated Angel. He always referred to him as "the demon" which was as endearing as he got when it came to her lover.

But right then, looking into his eyes, none of it seemed to matter. She wanted to be with him more than anything else. If she passed on the moment, she might lose her chance forever.

"I can't remember either," she whispered finally.

"So you'll stay?"

She nodded and prepared for another of his intoxicating kisses when a cry erupted from the other room, making its way through the mansion and muffling through the newly installed wooden door. He smiled as he scooted to the edge of the bed and padded out of the room toward his son.


she just feels a lot better
and that's all that really matters to me

"You chanted, Anyanka?" D'Hoffryn said, appearing in the crypt in Restfield Cemetery where she had drawn the circle and summoned him.

"Yes," Anya said, nervously fingering her necklace.

"You're quitting," he said, looking over her face with irritation. He sat down on concrete bench near her and waited for her explanation.

"I'm not who I used to be," Anya said, "I used to be able to do this and now-"

"Now you just want to marry that human," he sighed.

"Well, yes, actually," she said, "He makes me happy. He pleases me and buys me pretty things. I don't have to destroy anyone for him."

"I gave you a second chance, Anyanka, there won't be a third," D'Hoffryn said, "If you walk away now, your power centre will never be returned to you. If he leaves you at the altar again, I will not help you."

"What about this world?" Anya asked, "Will it remain if I leave?"

"Is that what you want?"

"Yes," she answered clearly. The days that had passed had all been focused on how she would answer that question. In this world, she wasn't angry with Xander. In this dimension, they could start all over.

"Then it remains," he said, holding his hand out for the necklace, "But are you certain?"

"I'm perfectly certain," she said, releasing the delicate clasp of the chain and handing it to her former demonic boss.

"Do not call upon me again, child," he said.

"I won't," she said, patting his knee with a smile.

"I'll miss you," he said before disappearing and leaving the bench and the crypt pleasantly empty. She smiled at the bench. She was free.