indie and tango
Angel jumped out of the truck as soon as his father pulled into the hospital parking lot. He was at a dead run by the time he hit the emergency room doors. He skittered around the corner, nearly running into Giles. “Where is she?” he demanded, frantic.
Giles grabbed Angel’s upper arms. “Calm down,” he said wearily. “She’s still in surgery, there’s nothing you can do right now.”
“Still?” Angel asked, his soul shredding. “Giles, it’s been ... “
“Nine hours,” Giles replied in a quiet, defeated voice. He sighed, releasing Angel and rubbing his hand over his stubble roughened face. “She was on her way home from the video store. Some stupid kid blew through a red light, ran into her. She had ... *extensive* internal injuries. There were lacerations on her liver and spleen. They had to deliver the baby via caesarian before they could start working on Buffy.”
Angel’s lips wouldn’t work right. “The baby?” he managed to whisper.
Giles smiled, tears glittering in his eyes. “A little girl,” he said, pride warring with pain. “She’s only a few weeks early, but both she and Buffy were in distress for quite a while. And she’s tiny, Angel. So tiny.”
Angel was shaking uncontrollably. “She’s going to be ... “
Giles nodded frantically. “The doctors think she’ll be fine, but they’re monitoring her very closely for a while. She barely weighed five pounds.”
“Can I see her?”
Angel followed Giles down the hall, his mind overflowing with the information he just gotten. His legs were stiff from his five hour car ride and the tension that flowed through him. He couldn’t seem to get his brain to wrap around the idea that Buffy had been in surgery for nine hours. Nine.
Giles led him to the elevators and they had to go to the fifth floor which was reserved for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. There was a security station. Angel looked down at the paperwork, unable to comprehend a single line of the information they wanted from him. Taking pity on him, Giles took the clipboard from his grasp and filled out the information verifying that yes, Angel Roarke was the father of baby Roarke. The nurse took the paperwork and waved them to a side door that buzzed loudly before clicking open.
The room was large and had an otherworldly feel. There were no windows, fluorescent lights hummed overhead. The air smelled strange and antiseptic. Angel followed Giles like a sleepwalker. He stood in front of an industrial sized steel sink and used the special anti-bacterial soap to scrub his hands. Once that was finished, the nurse handed them paper gowns to cover their clothes and then led them down a corridor. Every couple of meters, there was a sort of station with a tiny little bed and a rocking chair or two. Angel absently noticed several other sets of parents holding their tiny babies wrapped in blue and pink blankets.
Giles tapped him on the shoulder to break his reverie and he looked down into a tiny special bed. His child was trapped in plastic and he choked out a sob. She was so pink and tiny and covered with tubes. Giles’ voice rumbled in his ear.
“She is being fed intravenous fluids temporarily through her umbilical central line,” Giles mumbled. “Her bed has a warmer. Radiant, I believe they said to help her maintain body temperature and the cellophane wrapping is an additional device. They’re, er, monitoring her heart and pulse.”
Angel crouched down in front of the incubator, staring through the clear plastic at his tiny baby girl. There were holes on the side of the incubator and he reached through, running his finger over the back of her little hand. She reacted immediately, flexing her tiny little bird-like fingers and grabbing onto his finger with startling force. A tear streaked down Angel's face as he held his daughter's hand. Her entire palm was almost the same size as the last knuckle on his finger.
“She’s so little. They’re sure she’ll be okay?” he asked, his voice practically begging although he didn’t turn away from his too small child.
“Yes, they believe she will be fine,” Giles said, patting him on the shoulder. “You’ve a sturdy little girl there.”
“Giles, did they say anything about Buffy?” Angel said, after long minutes staring at his daughter. “Did they give you any…expectations?”
“They aren’t sure,” Giles said honestly. He swiped off his glasses to polish them and tears welled in his eyes. He cleared his throat before continuing. “Apparently Buffy turned her body in attempt to protect the child and the slight movement was enough to save the baby’s life. From how they found her…contorted in the wreckage, they believe….” Giles took a deep, shaky breath. “I don’t know Angel. Good Lord, I don’t know if my daughter’s going to make it through.”
“I should have been here,” Angel choked out. “I should have never left her alone and pregnant like that.”
“There’s nothing you could have done, Angel,” Giles answered. “You would have just been waiting in the hospital rather than traveling here in a car.”
“I would have been driving,” he answered, shaking his head and allowing tears to steak down his face. “I would have gotten the movies and my wife wouldn’t be in there right now.”
Angel and Giles had been taking turns running from the NICU to check on Buffy and back. They were both beside themselves with worry and grief, each being characteristically silent as they kept a silent vigil for Buffy’s life. When she finally came out of surgery, the doctor appeared before them in scrubs.
“Is she going to be okay?” Angel blurted, before the doctor had even spoken.
“Mr. Roarke?” the doctor asked patiently.
“Yes,” Angel nodded hysterically. “Is Buffy okay?”
“Mrs. Roarke is a very lucky woman. She had severe lacerations in her liver and spleen, which generally cause death within the hour. The pressure of your child against her body most likely saved her life. We birthed your child by cesarean, removed your wife’s spleen and did the best we could to repair the damage to her liver. The next few days will tell us much about the extent of her bodily damage.”
“You’re not sure about the rest of her injuries?” Angel mumbled in shock. “What do you mean? How could you not know?”
“Your wife’s abdomen is currently held together by a sheet of plastic, Mr. Roarke. She has packs around her liver. I cannot put her through additional tests until she’s stable,” the doctor announced firmly. “We are hoping there isn’t additional internal bleeding and that there’s no brain damage. Tomorrow, barring further complications, we’ll perform x-rays and CT scans to see the extent of her injuries. If she’s taken the treatment well, I hope to close her abdomen with a few days.”
“Can I see her?” Angel asked quietly.
The atmosphere in the adult intensive care unit was even more alien and disconcerting than in the NICU. At least in the NICU, there had been pictures of happy babies, bright, cheerful colors. Here everything was cold and sterile.
The nurse led Angel to the bed at the very end of the room. It was shielded by a cotton curtain that she pulled back for him. Angel felt like he'd just been punched in the face. He stared at Buffy, unable to move.
He wasn't aware of the nurse's departure, he wasn't aware of anything. Buffy looked so small and helpless, wrapped up with gauze. Tubes and wires went everywhere. She was connected to a battery of machines. Every inch of flesh he could see was scratched or discolored in some way.
He fell into the chair at the side of her bed, staring at her helplessly. He reached out, wanting to hold her hand, but didn't know how to touch her without hurting her more. Burying his head in his hands, he sobbed so violently his entire body shuddered with the force.
It was a long time before he could pull himself together. His cheeks were still wet with his tears as he settled for gently running his fingertips over the back of her hand. "Don't leave me, Buffy," he whispered hoarsely.
Angel sat by her side, only moving to check on his little girl and come back. He didn’t sleep, he didn’t eat and he didn’t leave when they told him he should go home. The nurses, the doctors, even Giles tried to pry him from her side with no avail. He wasn’t leaving Buffy. Never again.
What he did do was talk to her. He had Giles bring the newest magazines and he read her articles. He told her every single thing that popped in his head. He told her about their daughter, how tiny and beautiful she was, how fragile. He told her how much he loved her and how he regretted leaving. He talked and talked until his throat was raw and then he talked some more.
Whenever someone came in to check on her or touch her in any way, he eyed them severely, watching every move they made. It got to the point that all the nurses on the staff knew who he was and avoided him whenever possible. They had seen it before, but he was relentless. He didn’t tire out and fall asleep in his chair. His eyes were propped open by will alone and he wasn’t going to be bullied from his wife’s side by anyone.
In the late morning, he got on his knees next to the bed and kissed her cheek before he went to check on their daughter. When he caressed the back of her hand, it twitched and he almost had a heart attack. He pressed the nurse’s button so many times, she scolded him on the proper use of hospital resources.
They decided to wait one more day to take CT scans but they did the x-rays in the afternoon. When Dr. Morrison informed him that she had no broken bones as they suspected, Angel thanked the man so rigorously, the doctor cut his visit short to get away. When the doctor left, Angel knelt by her bedside again and told her what had happened.
“See baby?” he whispered. “You’re going to come back to me. You’re going to be okay.”
“Angel.” Giles stood in the doorway with a sack of fast food and a soda. Briskly, he walked across the room and handed them to his son-in-law. “You will eat this food,” Giles commanded.
“I don’t want to eat,” Angel said, setting it aside on Buffy’s bedside table. “She can’t eat. I’m not eating.”
“She’s being fed intravenously,” Giles argued. “And she will never forgive me if you die because you weren’t taking care of yourself. Now eat or I will have you forcibly removed from this room and locked in the basement like an animal.”
“Giles,” Angel balked. He was taken aback at the threat in Giles’ voice and knew without a doubt that he was not kidding. “I don’t think I can eat. I just want to sit here with Buffy.”
“Very well,” Giles clipped. “I’ll gather the orderlies now.” Turning, he eyed Angel up and down, “I’m sure four will be able to drag you away.”
“Fine!” Angel growled, snatching the sack and stuffing a fry into his mouth. “Buffy, your dad is a bullheaded asshole.”
“She’s aware,” Giles answered. He leaned over and kissed her gently on the forehead. “I’ll just go check on my granddaughter.”
"Ah, here you are Mr. Roarke," the doctor said, smiling at Angel.
Angel nodded curtly to the doctor and then smiled at Willow who had been with the baby while he was with Buffy. Between Giles, Jenny, Willow and Angel, both Buffy and the baby had constant companions. At the moment, Giles was sitting at Buffy's bedside reading the newest issue of "Glamour" even though he argued it was sheer absurdity. Angel was fairly certain he had been referring to the content of the magazine, not the merits of reading to unconscious people.
"Your daughter is doing wonderfully," the doctor informed him, "and we were about to remove her from the incubator. We'll keep her for observation tonight but barring some unforeseen complication, she should be released tomorrow."
Angel watched, spellbound as they removed the baby from the incubator and swaddled her in a soft pink blanket. She was still so skinny, her limbs long and thin. There was a peach fuzz of blonde hair covering her little head and she blinked grouchily up at the cruel adults as they took her out of her warm cocoon.
Angel's hands shook as he took her, cradling her carefully against his chest. He waited for her to start screaming bloody murder, but she just blinked up at him with luminous blue eyes. Her little hand clasped around his finger and she brought it to her mouth, suckling on it hungrily.
"We removed her feeding tube," the doctor said. "If you would like, you can give her a bottle."
Unable to speak, Angel nodded, carefully taking a seat in the waiting rocking chair. With a little guidance from the nurse, he was soon giving his daughter a bottle. He couldn't help but smile with pride at her lusty little grunts as her fingers tightened and released reflexively on his captive pinkie.
Twenty minutes later, Giles came to spell Willow, leaving Jenny to finish reading Buffy the article on electrolysis vs. laser removal of unwanted hair in the pubic region. He did have his limits. He saw the nurse standing in the middle of the corridor looking into his granddaughter's little alcove. As he approached, he realized she was looking at Angel.
"He is human," Giles whispered wryly, looking at his son-in-law, passed out in the rocking chair, his sleeping daughter tucked protectively in the crook of his arm.
The nurse looked at him, her brow furrowed. "I was just going to wake him," she said.
"Please don't," Giles pled, "he needs the sleep. They both do. I promise I'll watch them and make sure he doesn't drop her."
The nurse smiled kindly and left.
Angel woke up groggily and looked immediately to his arms to find that his daughter was still cradled protectively there. He stared down at her in awe, taking in the little details of her. She looked just like Buffy, destined to be another little princess. He smiled and cooed at her, kissing her plump little cheek.
Finally, he pried his eyes away from his child to see that Giles was sitting in a chair a few meters away, casually flipping through one of Buffy’s magazines. “She’s beautiful,” Angel said to Giles, looking from his father-in-law to the baby and back again. Giles nodded with grandfatherly pride and strode over to look down on her.
“Do you want to hold her, Grandpa?” Angel asked quietly with a bit of a smile.
“Grandpa,” Giles repeated in surprise. “I’d…I’d be honored, yes.”
Angel stood and let Giles sit in his chair before tucking his little miracle into her grandfather’s arms. “How extraordinary,” Giles murmured. “Did you and Buffy talk about names?”
Angel nodded. “Samantha Joyce Roarke. After our mothers.”
“Well, hello little Samantha,” Giles crooned, rocking slowly in the chair. “Welcome to our family.”
Angel left his daughter with Giles and wandered back to Buffy’s room to find that Jenny was reading to her from a different magazine. She looked up when Angel walked in and blushed. Immediately, she flipped the magazine closed so he wouldn’t see she was reading 101 new sexual positions.
Angel struggled with a smile when he picked up the magazine. “Did you get to a 101?”
“57,” Jenny said, laughing. “We were just getting to the good stuff.”
“Anything new?” Angel asked. He stood by Buffy’s bed and absently trailed his fingers along her arm as he waited for news.
“They’re going to go ahead with the CT scans tomorrow,” Jenny answered. “And they’re hoping to close her abdomen. After that, they should be able to lessen the drugs and she’ll be more aware.”
Jenny stood up, gently squeezing Angel's arm as she walked past him. "She's going to make it, Angel," she said seriously. "She has a strong heart."
Angel blinked back tears. "I know."
Taking his seat at her side, Angel gently threaded his fingers through Buffy's and spent the next hour waxing ecstatic about their beautiful little girl. He kept speaking, pride and pain warring in his voice. He couldn't help but fear that Buffy would never know first hand what a miracle their perfect little girl was. But he knew he had to stay positive, if only for Samantha.
Angel came awake with a start, blinking up at his father. He frowned, looking around.
He watched his father glance at Buffy, his gaze quickly flitting away from her. He was slightly ashen as he looked at his son. "You need to go home, Angel," he said. "Get a shower, some food and a few hours of sleep. She's stable. Nothing's going to happen and you're not going to be any good to that little girl if you don't take care of yourself."
Despite the fogginess clouding his brain, Angel had no trouble reading the guilt and regret in his father's voice. He'd gone through all of this before and he didn't want Angel to make the same mistakes.
No doubt Giles had put his father up to this, hoping that Angel would instinctually listen to his parent where he ignored everyone else. The worst part of it was that he was right. After day upon day of constant stress and wakefulness, he was the walking dead.
In the hallway, he nodded to Giles, knowing Buffy's father would stay with her while he was gone. His dad drove him back to the house in silence. Angel showered and shaved mechanically. He forced himself to eat one of the sandwiches Willow had left before collapsing into the bed he shared with Buffy, hugging her pillow close to his face as tears wet his cheeks. "I'm going to bring you home, baby," he vowed. "I promise."
Angel slept on and off for five hours before he finally got up, showered and dressed. He took as little time as possible looking in the mirror while he got ready because his reflection was pretty rough. He didn’t like the idea of looking that horrible when Buffy opened her eyes but there was nothing he could do about it now.
He headed downstairs and found his father in the living room flipping through the channels. He looked up when Angel came in the room and jerked his head toward the kitchen. “The little redhead made some food for you. It’s in the ice box.”
“Thanks,” Angel mumbled. The whole thing was just strange. His father looked like he had been up all night in that chair waiting and he had no doubt that he did. Despite the mess in his head, he couldn’t help but wonder if he would be able to understand his father more now and where their relationship would go.
He ate quickly, only because he knew he wouldn’t get a ride back to the hospital if he didn’t. His father stood up when he entered the room again. He looked over him gruffly. “You eat?”
Angel nodded. His father grunted in approval and headed toward the door without another word. The ride to the hospital was short and silent. Angel wasn’t surprised when his father walked up to the room with him. Outside of her door, Giles was having a conversation with the doctor.
“Mr. Roarke,” Dr. Morrison said, greeting him. “We removed the packs around her liver and closed Mrs. Roarke’s abdomen this morning. Her liver lacerations clotted nicely. She’s going to have a nasty scar, but it looked like it will heal well. I’m waiting for the results from the CT scans, but at this juncture, I think it’s looking like a positive outcome.”
“Thank you,” Angel said, shaking the doctor’s hand firmly.
Angel paced around the waiting room clutching Samantha to his chest. The baby slept, blissfully unaware of her father’s agitation.
“Angel, please sit down,” Giles said, looking at the other families scattered throughout the room who were obviously unnerved by his actions.
Ignoring them, Angel continued to pace. They were transferring Buffy out of the ICU and into a private room. There was no way he was relaxing until he got to see her again. The doctors still felt her progress was excellent and they expected her to regain lucidity soon now that they were decreasing her medication.
Angel turned and immediately walked over to the nurse. “You can see your wife now,” she said.
Angel wanted to weep when he saw Buffy. The private room had a large window and someone had opened the blinds. If Buffy had looked less than healthy under the ICU’s buzzing fluorescent lights, she looked positively wretched under natural light. The bruises on her body were a vibrant array of sickly colors and she was pale, so pale.
Careful not to wake Samantha, Angel slid into the chair next to Buffy’s bed. Restless, he was glad when he needed to change Samantha’s diaper and feed her. He talked Buffy through each step as he went, making sure she knew that he was taking care of everything, that he wouldn’t let her down. He bundled his daughter up again and as usual, he stalked around with her in his arms. It never occurred to him even once to put her down and let her sleep in peace. Thankfully, Samantha had no qualms with being handled and carried around. She slept peacefully in her Daddy’s arms and was lulled by the deep rumbling of his voice.
“Buffy, I can’t wait for you to see all this,” he said, strolling around the room nervously. “She opens her little eyes and moves around and I know she sees me. She does. She knows the difference between me or Giles or Willow. She’s brilliant.”
“You’ll see, baby,” Angel said, lowering himself into his chair again, “Our daughter is so smart, so beautiful.” It never occurred to Angel that he couldn’t possibly gauge his daughter’s intelligence given the fact that she had only slept and eaten in the last few days.
Angel was positive that when Buffy was taken to her room, she would wake up immediately, but he had hours to wait. He read to her from the magazines, talked to her about school in the Fall and finally when he was about to get up and pace around the room again, she blinked open her eyes.
“Angel?” Buffy groaned, trying to focus on his face.
“I’m here, baby,” he said, dropping to one knee by her bed. “Don’t try to move. Stay still.”
It took long moments, but she looked around and realized she was in the hospital. Memories of the crash sprang back, crushing into her mind so hard she winced. Panicked, her hands slid to her belly and she choked back a sob.
“I’m so sorry, Angel,” she said in a choked voice. She couldn’t see the infant clutched in his arms from where he knelt. “I lost the baby. Oh my god. Oh my god, Angel.”
“Shhh,” Angel whispered, caressing her face gently. “You didn’t lose her, my love. She’s right here.”
“She?” Buffy repeated. She turned her head straining to see her child. He held Samantha close to Buffy and let her look at her sleeping daughter. Buffy’s tears started again as she looked over her. “She’s so beautiful.”
“Just like her mother,” Angel whispered. He kissed her forehead and gently wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Samantha and I have just been hanging out and getting to know each other while we waited for you to wake up.”
Buffy looked at her daughter, trying to maneuver her hand so she could touch the baby. Angel helped her, making sure she didn’t disturb the I.V. Carefully, Buffy ran her finger over the baby’s cheek. Samantha gurgled in her sleep.
The doctor glared at Angel. “Honestly, Mr. Roarke, I thought you were the most stubborn human being ever created. Obviously I hadn’t been properly introduced to your wife.”
Angel smiled unrepentantly. In the last week and a half since Buffy had regained consciousness, she had been strictly disregarding the doctor’s orders. She cut her pain medication back so she could have longer periods of lucidity. She complained about her I.V. and twice they caught her out of bed, rocking Samantha. “You sending her home?” he asked.
The doctor sighed, rubbing his jaw wearily. “I don’t see that I have any other choice,” he said. “Despite her blatant disregard for my instructions, she seems to be healing with remarkable speed. Her energy is outstanding and she clearly does not wish to stay here. So yes, I am sending her home. She will need to come back every day for a check-in, but if you can keep her more sedate at home, that would be an improvement.”
Angel was still smiling as he strode back into Buffy’s room where she was cooing at the baby tucked against her side. “Warden’s letting you go,” he informed her with a grin. “They have to process some paperwork, but I should be wheeling you out of here before sundown.”
In perfect Buffy fashion, she merely scowled. “It’s about time!”
Angel’s grin went ear to ear. That was his princess.
“Sweetheart,” Buffy said, meeting Angel’s eyes in the rear-view mirror from her position in the backseat, “you’re driving like old people fuck.”
Angel frowned at his wife, but kept the speed steady at five miles an hour below the speed limit. Buffy’s eyes had gone wide as he wheeled her out to their new car. Okay, it wasn’t a car, it was an SUV and a really big one at that. In theory, he hated SUVs, but he wasn’t taking any chances with his wife and daughter strapped in the backseat.
Another driver honked irritably and sped around them. Angel cursed under this breath. “Lunatics,” he mumbled, making sure to keep his slow, steady pace.
“Honey, at this rate, Samantha will have her driver’s license by the time we get home,” Buffy said, hiding her smile by cooing down at her daughter.
“Well, she’ll be safe when she gets it,” Angel mumbled.
“That’s my bad boy,” Buffy chuckled as he turned into the driveway so slowly they didn’t even feel the movement of the turn. “Your Daddy’s such a hellion, Samantha. Wild and crazy.”
Buffy beamed a smile at Angel. He snarled back.
In the weeks that followed, Angel watched Buffy like a hawk. He took her back to the hospital for her appointments every day and didn’t go back to work for several weeks until her follow up appointments slowed down. They were halfway through August before Angel returned to work for half days.
In the meantime, Buffy was trying to settle into some sort of a routine. Their lives had been in so much upheaval with graduation, the wedding, Giles moving out; and that was all before the wreck. Buffy was still trying to acclimate to being a wife and homeowner as well as mother and dealing with all her health issues. It was enough to drive anyone insane.
Angel had taken over almost everything in their home life, serving as cook, chauffer, dealing with the bills, doctor’s appointments and taking care of both Buffy and Samantha all hours of the day. Buffy wouldn’t admit it, but she was actually quite jealous of all the time he spent with their daughter. She did everything she could to encourage him to go to work.
She was sitting at the kitchen table one afternoon, holding her sleeping daughter as she flipped through bills. She frowned, pulling out their bank account statement for closer inspection. Angel knew he was in trouble the second he stepped through the door.
He looked from his wife and lover, who was holding their daughter protectively, to the open bank statement on the counter. “Buffy – “ he started, cringing.
“Are you selling drugs?” she demanded.
He stopped short. “Am I?” he repeated, brow furrowed. “What?”
“Did I miss a memo or something?” she asked. “Because last time I checked I didn’t have a job, you hadn’t been to yours in months and we have a new baby. Unless the government has started some new supplementation program, we should be worse than flat broke.”
“Oh,” he said quietly. “Yeah.”
“You want to explain why there are so many zeros on the bank statement?” she demanded.
“Well, I was going to tell you,” Angel said, lowering himself into a chair, “but things have been so crazy, I haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
“Now would be a great time, Angel,” she snapped. “I’ve been seriously concerned about the medical bills and the new SUV and the things I need for Sammy and you’re hoarding a fortune here. What’s the deal?”
“After the wedding, my grandparents told me that they had a trust fund for me since I was a baby. They never told me about it because they were afraid my dad would try to get his hands on it and piss it away. They planned to keep it until I was twenty-five until they came to the wedding.” Angel gestured toward the bankbook. “I thought they were going to give me a couple of hundred dollars and I didn’t think much about it.”
“This isn’t a couple of hundred dollars,” she said, taking a deep breath. “You’re…you’re rich, Angel.”
“No, we are rich, baby. They said and I quote, ‘We weren’t expecting those new fangled computers to be such a big deal when we invested in them.’ Then my grandmother mumbled something about how she thought Macintoshes were apples.” Angel grinned. “I’ve been talking to Bud about buying the shop. He wants to retire. How does Roarke Autobody sound?”
“Angel, I can’t believe this!” Buffy shouted. Samantha opened her eyes and closed them again, unconcerned with her parent’s racket. Buffy laid Samantha in the Pumpkin seat on the table before sitting down in Angel’s lap and wrapping her arms around his neck.
He kissed her gently, unable to wipe the smile from his face. He was so worried about everything else that he had forgotten about the money entirely. He knew somehow he would have made sure his wife and daughter had the best of everything. Now he didn’t have to worry. It was a huge load off of his mind. If he knew it was going to make her so happy, he would have mentioned it before.
“And here I was thinking about not going to school in fall,” she said quietly.
“You go to school in the fall,” Angel said kissing her neck and shoulder. Now that he had a taste of her again, he couldn’t stop himself from wanting to taste all of her. “Buy a whole new wardrobe for college Buffy. I want you to be spoiled, baby. Spoiled and happy just like our little girl.”
“I love you, Angel,” she whispered, threading her fingers through his hair and bringing his mouth back to hers again.
He moaned as their lips met, his hand cupping her face. He nipped at her lips, soft, gentle kisses, savoring her taste like a fine wine. Gods how he had missed her. He licked at the seam of her lips, urging her to part them. She did so immediately, deepening the kiss, searching out his tongue with her own.
His fingers tightened against her flesh. He wanted her. He needed her. He broke off the kiss with a growl, burying his face against her shoulder, panting harshly.
She raked her fingernails through his hair. Her breath was hot and moist against his ear when she spoke, “Make love to me, Angel.”
His body ached to do just that. But he couldn’t. With more strength than he believed he possessed he pulled back. “We should uh ... we should ... check on Sammy.”
Buffy looked over her shoulder and then back at her husband. “She’s asleep, Angel,” she said pointedly. “I want you. Now.”
He ground his teeth together. “Buffy, you’re still – “
“Perfectly fine,” she finished, glaring at him. “The doctor said it’s all right for us to ... “ she looked away, blushing as she remembered the awkward conversation with her doctor, “you know.”
He looked at her helplessly, torn. “I just don’t want to ... “
“What?” she whispered against his lips.
He swallowed thickly. “Hurt you,” he admitted.
“Angel, you could never hurt me,” she told him honestly.
He shook his head, looking at her. “You don’t know, Buffy,” he said. “You didn’t have to watch you lay in that hospital bed all full of tubes and wires. I thought I was going to lose you.”
She placed her hands on his cheeks, holding his face. “I’m right here, Angel,” she told him.
“I can’t lose you,” he whispered desolately.
She kissed him, gently at first, but the ever present passion quickly flared between them. She raked her nails across his wifebeater, smiling wickedly at him. “I’ve missed these,” she said deviously.
He couldn’t help it. As much as he wanted to protect her from everything, including himself, he was too weak. He grinned back. “Oh really?”
Buffy yelped and then giggled as he stood up, holding her in his arms. He carried her into the living room, carefully depositing her on the couch. He kissed her deeply and then pulled away. “Just a sec,” he said, and then took off running.
Seconds later, he was back holding the still sleeping Samantha in her seat. Frantically he searched for a safe place to put her. He finally settled for putting the seat on the floor, turned conspicuously away from the couch. Buffy bit down on her lip trying to keep from laughing out loud at his actions. “Angel, at this age, their eyes can’t focus that far,” Buffy told him. “She couldn’t see us anyway.”
Angel merely frowned at her, giving her an ‘as if’ look. Satisfied that Samantha was sleeping comfortably and that if she woke she wouldn’t get a look at her parents doing something unspeakable, he returned to the couch with Buffy.
All of his earlier hesitance was gone and he stripped both her and himself in record time. Buffy hissed, arching against him as their nude bodies finally twined together. She forgot how much she loved the sensation of his bare skin against her own.
He settled himself against her, careful to keep most of his weight off of her body and kissed her for a long time. He groaned against her lips when she wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him down, arching for more. His breath went from ragged to nonexistent when her hand wrapped around his cock. She stroked him gently, her thumb playing over the head, before guiding him into her hot, wet entrance. He shuddered as he buried himself to the root inside her, pressing his face into her neck, panting for control.
“I love you, Angel,” she whispered. He kissed her deeply as he began to move inside her, carefully, slowly with mind dazzling tenderness. His whole body trembled as he made love to her and it took several moments before she realized there were tears coursing down his cheeks. “Angel?” she questioned, cupping his face with both hands.
“I wouldn’t have made it without you,” he said honestly, his voice thick with emotion. “I would have broken like my father. I would have been worthless to Sammy.”
“You’re stronger than that, Angel,” she said, kissing his tears from his cheeks even though her own welled in her eyes.
“No,” he said, shaking his head bitterly. “I’m weak. That’s all I’ve ever been. I’m nothing without you.”
“You’re everything,” she whispered, pulling him more tightly in her arms. “You’re everything, Angel.”
She groaned, arching against him, her legs tightening around his waist. Angel wanted to prolong it, to make their reunion last forever but between the fact that they hadn’t made love in months and the fact that their infant daughter was sleeping only feet away, it wasn’t in the cards. He stroked into her more firmly and her fingernails bit into his back. Her lips claimed his in a sensual assault and her sheath began to flutter around him.
“Buffy,” he hissed, his hips meeting hers more frantically.
She cried out, biting down on his shoulder as she climaxed, losing herself in bliss. It was more than Angel could take and he let himself go, spilling inside her.
Angel couldn’t feel his hands or his feet or his arms or his legs or his head for that matter. All he could feel was a foggy, blissful haze enveloping him. He was boneless and limp, lost in the scent and taste of Buffy. He nuzzled against her and she nearly purred, snuggling closer.
They had approximately ninety-seven seconds of bliss before a high pitched wail split the air. Angel stood, slipped on his boxers and scooped her up. Buffy pulled on her clothes and watched Angel with Samantha. He kissed his daughter’s forehead, before plopping down on the couch and handing her off to her mother. Surprised, she looked over at him questioningly.
“You were all jealous when I was playing mom,” Angel said, grinning knowingly, “So I’ll be playing the deadbeat father and pass her off for today.”
“I was not jealous,” she huffed, carrying her daughter to the kitchen to make a bottle. Angel followed and caught her around the waist, kissing her neck. “You were jealous,” he growled.
“Well, you were monopolizing,” she said petulantly, gathering the bottle and heading upstairs to the bedroom. She propped up on the bed and fed her daughter, looking down at her anxious suckling.
Angel followed her upstairs and laid on the bed, propping himself on his elbow next to his wife and daughter. He caressed Samantha’s cheek with the back of his finger and grinned at both of them. Buffy snuggled up against his chest and practically glowed with happiness.
“You know, you’re awfully attentive for a dead beat father,” she said with a big smile. He kissed her shoulder and wrapped his arms around them.
“Well, I’m new at it,” he whispered, moving his lips from her shoulder to the side of her throat.
The End! On to the last part of the trilogy (the second part has not yet been finished, but it can be previewed here.)
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