Smooth Criminal

Part 8

indie and tango

Buffy and Angel spent the days between Christmas and New Year’s together as much as possible given that Angel refused to take any time off from the shop. Thankfully, his father hadn’t called again. Angel was amazed how much he felt he was part of a family despite the fact that he now had no contact whatsoever with his family members.

On New Year’s Eve, practically everyone they knew showed up at the mansion for another big bash after the band played at The Bronze. The Dingoes were playing the song at midnight, but Buffy refused to allow Angel or herself to miss the sacred New Year’s kiss. As Devon was screaming out the countdown, she made her way to the stage and snuck up to the side of his drum kit. One the count of one, she pounced, turned Angel’s face toward her and gave him the hottest kiss she could muster. No one seemed to care that Angel missed his part of the celebratory noise but several chuckled when he dropped his drumsticks.

Buffy and Willow waited around with the guys as they packed up their equipment and headed over to the mansion where the party was already in full swing. Everyone was drinking, couples were making out in corners and taking over the mansion’s many bedrooms. Given that Buffy and Willow hadn’t gone over to stake out rooms before the crowd hit, they were out of luck as far as having a private place to celebrate. Buffy pouted for a little while, but mostly it was a show for Willow. She would simply sneak down into the basement when she and Angel got home. Getting one of the rooms at the mansion was no longer the big deal it had once been.

But not having a room also meant that they got to spend the entire evening with the drunken revelers. Buffy kept pulling Angel into a quiet corner of the mansion’s sunken garden, but by virtue of being a very large, very well built man, people kept borrowing him to break up fights or pull Devon down off a ledge before he killed himself. Someone even asked him to help jump their stalled car in the driveway.

By the fourth interruption, Buffy’s patience was completely used up. As Angel shrugged sheepishly and allowed himself to be dragged off to see what was wrong with Larry’s car, she was glowering full force. She wasn’t about to play dutiful little woman, waiting patiently for her conquering hero. With a huff of indignation, she stomped back inside the mansion, snaking her way through the drunken throngs. She was in the kitchen, sorting through the various coolers looking for a soda when Riley entered.

When he offered her a beer, Buffy smiled but said, “Thanks, but no.”

“Buffy,” he whined. “Come on. You always used to party with us. Won’t you just have one for old time’s sake?”

Drying her hands off on her skirt she frowned. “Sorry, I can’t.”

He sighed dramatically. “Well, at least come hang out with us.”

Buffy rolled her eyes, glancing toward the French doors that led out to the garden. There was still no sign of Angel. But while she was irritated with him, she really wasn’t in the mood to goad him. And going anywhere with Riley Finn would most certainly goad Angel. “Maybe some other time,” she offered.

“Buffy,” he said, grabbing her wrist. “Please, just for a little while.”

Buffy smiled, but tried to extricate her wrist from his grip. She couldn’t. When he felt her struggling, he held her tighter. Normally, Buffy wouldn’t dream of being afraid of Riley. He was like a giant puppy, boisterous but harmless. But tonight he’d obviously been drinking freely. He was already swaying unsteadily on his feet.

“Riley, I need to go,” she said firmly.

“Just for a little while,” he pled. “Angel will never know about it.” He started pulling her towards the dining room where Graham and Percy and a handful of the other preppy jocks and their dates were hanging out.

Buffy tried again to twist out of his grip, but Riley was far too strong. Not that he was intentionally hurting her. It was just that in his current inebriated state, he didn’t know his own strength. She pulled harder but he was unaware of the struggle and continued to drag her in the direction of his friends.

“Riley!” Buffy finally shouted, “Let me go!”

“Buffy,” Riley said, stopping to drunkenly sway in her direction. He didn’t release his grip on her wrist, but tightened it. “Why’re you being like this? Come on-“

Riley stopped in mid-sentence and Buffy looked up just in time to see Angel’s right fist fly toward Riley’s shocked and drunken face. With his left hand he pulled Buffy safely from harm’s way, making sure Finn didn’t pull her down with him.

“How dare you fucking touch her!” Angel roared. He dropped down to where Riley landed and rained a succession of blows so severe that even the most drunken of the party began to get worried.

When Angel didn’t stop, Oz finally jumped in, trying to pull him off Riley. It was a futile attempt, but at least it got a few other people moving. Unfortunately, by the time Xander, Spike and Larry managed to completely pull Angel away, the cops had arrived. They saw what was going on and immediately had Angel pinned to the ground. Buffy started to run towards them, to explain it was just a misunderstanding, but Spike clamped his hand around her upper arm, steering her quickly towards the basement and a back entrance to the mansion. “Don’t even think about it, pet,” he told her. “You get arrested and we’ll never hear the end of it. He’s a big boy. He’ll be fine.”


The sun had just crested the horizon and Buffy was sitting at the kitchen table, her hand wrapped around a quickly cooling mug of coffee. She looked up as the back door opened and watched her father enter, followed by a very sheepish looking Angel. Giles looked at both of them before saying wearily, “I’m going to bed.”

When Giles was gone, Buffy pushed herself out of the chair and went to Angel. She wrapped her arms around his waist, burrowing into his embrace. He sighed, hugging her gently before carefully nudging her back a step. She was quiet as he gently urged her out of her robe. He sucked his breath sharply between his teeth as he looked at her clad only in her spaghetti strap nightgown. Her right arm where Riley had been grabbing her was deeply bruised from wrist to elbow. Angel touched her cautiously, testing her range of motion. She winced as he rotated her shoulder. “Baby, you have to go to the doctor,” he said.

She grimaced. There was no way she was going to the doctor. Once again burrowing into his embrace, she said, “I’m fine now that you’re home.”

Angel grunted. “Yeah,” he said derisively. “It only cost your dad a thousand dollars to bail me out.”

“A thousand dollars,” Buffy gasped. “Why?”

“Felony assault doesn’t come cheap,” he said wryly.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said. “It was a misunderstanding. Riley was drunk and even if he didn’t mean to, he was hurting me. You were just protecting me.” Though she did tack on, “As ill advised as that may have been.”

Angel shrugged. “I have an arrest record, Buffy,” he said. “The cops aren’t too inclined to believe my version of events.”

“But Angel, you didn’t-“

“It’s okay,” he said kissing the top of her head. “It’s my fault. I can’t even blame this on Finn’s stupid ass.”

“But you explained to my Dad,” Buffy said eagerly. “You told him what happened, right?”

“I’m going to bed, baby,” he said gently. He wrapped pulled her robe back over her shoulders and nudged her toward the door. “You go upstairs and go to bed too.”

“No,” Buffy huffed. “You can’t just pat me on the head and send me up to my room! I want to talk about this, Angel. We need to fix it.”

“We don’t need to do anything, my love, “ Angel said, kissing her gently. “I’m really tired. I just want to go to bed and think about this later, okay?”

Buffy’s lower lip protruded. “You don’t want me to come down there with you?”

“I want to not entice your father to kill me tonight,” Angel said quietly. He kissed her softly and told her he loved her before she went upstairs and he went down. As she curled up in her bed, cuddling under the covers, she realized that he did exactly what she had not wanted – patted her on the head, told her nothing of importance and sent her up to her room. With that thought in her mind, she punched her pillow with her good hand before she closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep.


It was late when Angel got home from the shop on a Thursday night, the first week of February. He was cold, hungry and tired. He glanced at Buffy doing her homework on the couch, but didn’t speak to her before heading up and taking a shower. He was in the kitchen, helping himself to leftovers when she walked in. He looked at her, but didn’t speak.

“I was thinking that maybe we could catch a movie tomorrow night,” she said quietly.

He grunted. “There’s something wrong with the transmission on your dad’s car,” Angel said. “As soon as I’m done at the shop, I’m working on that.”

“Dad can borrow my car,” Buffy offered. “We haven’t had a date in weeks.”

Her emphasis wasn’t lost on him. By date she meant they hadn’t had sex in weeks. Ever since Giles sprung Angel from jail, Angel had felt inordinately driven to abide by his future father-in-law’s house rules. He stayed in the basement, Buffy stayed upstairs. They hadn’t even had a meaningful supply closet groping in weeks.

“Your dad paid my bail money, Buffy,” Angel pointed out sharply. “The least I can do is fix the man’s car.”

“Okay,” she snapped. “What is going on? You’ve been working like a mad man for weeks and I haven’t complained because I know you have this freaky hang-up about being able to take care of me and the baby. But dammit, you’ve been spending more time with my father than you have with me. And now you’re all grouchy about something else and you’re not even telling me what.”

Angel pursed his lips together, glaring at her. “My lawyer called this morning,” he said. “Apparently Finn dropped all the charges. Now, why would he do that, Buffy?’

She frowned, dropping her gaze to the floor. “So I talked to him,” she admitted.

He smacked the counter. “I asked you to stay away from him.”

“Angel, once I showed him the bruises and explained that he had been hurting me, he felt really terrible. Riley isn’t a bad guy. I think he really felt like he deserved to have the crap kicked out of him for what he’d done.”

“And the fact that I explicitly asked you not to speak to him doesn’t mean anything does it?” he demanded.

She growled in frustration. Crossing her arms over her chest, she stared at him. “You want to protect me,” she snapped. “Why can’t you understand that I want to protect you too?”

“It’s different,” he said flatly.

“Why, Angel?” she demanded. “Why is it different?”

“Because you’re a girl,” he yelled.

“Oh, so I’m strong enough to go through the excruciating pain of giving birth to your child but I can’t have a conversation with someone to help you and our future?” she screamed back. “Is that what you’re saying? You’re the big man, you do all the work and all the protecting and I’m seen and not heard, is that it?”

“Don’t be fucking ridiculous, Buffy. Has it even occurred to you that I have nothing to offer to you but my protection and the money I earn for us?” he said, glowering down on her. “I’m sorry I don’t have time to see chick flicks, but I’m trying to take care of our family!”

“I need more than a working car from you, Angel!” she shouted. “Can’t you spend an hour with me, hell, maybe even two? You can’t make love to me ‘cause you’re afraid of my father?”

“Is that what you think, Buffy?” Angel roared. “If I don’t break your father’s rules and fuck you on a regular basis then I’m not taking care of you? So, if I give it to you right now on the kitchen floor, maybe I can fix your dad’s car and we can skip the movie?”

Buffy’s jaw dropped open and despite her struggle, tears sprung from her eyes and trailed down her cheeks. She stared at him through wounded eyes and didn’t bother to wipe her face. “I can’t believe you said that to me.”

“Buffy,” he said gently, stepping toward her.

“Don’t fucking touch me,” she said, in a low, cold voice. The cut of her voice and the hurt in her eyes was like a knife to the gut. He had never seen the warmth go out of her like that before. Turning on her heel, she walked out of the room and flinched when she heard the back door slam behind him.


“Ah yes, then,” Giles said uneasily as he opened the door to Willow on Saturday morning. “Thank you so much for coming over. Ah, Buffy’s upstairs and I’ll just be completely unavailable for several hours. Thanks so much.”

Willow watched wide-eyed as the normally reserved librarian brushed past her and out the door. She shrugged and stepped inside the house, closing the door behind her. Buffy had been out sick on Friday but Willow hadn’t really thought much about it. Apparently it was much more serious than she’d thought if Buffy’s dad would go so far as to call her over to talk to his daughter.

Receiving no answer when she knocked on Buffy’s bedroom door, Willow tentatively pushed the door open. “Oh, Buffy,” she gasped. She ran to the bed where Buffy was lying, her eyes and nose red and puffy from near ceaseless crying. “Buffy, what’s wrong?”

“A-a-angel,” Buffy sobbed.

“Did something happen to him?” Willow asked, frantic.

“He left me,” she wailed. Willow helped Buffy sit up in bed and then listened as she recounted the story of their recent troubles, their fight and Angel’s departure. “He hasn’t called,” Buffy said morosely. “Nothing. Not even a note.”

“Maybe he’s just trying to give you some space,” Willow offered helpfully.

“I don’t need space,” Buffy pointed out. “I just need ... I just need him.”

Willow hugged Buffy. “I’m sure everything will work out,” she said, trying to be optimistic.

Buffy sighed. “The fact that I’m feeling huge and unattractive and my hormones are all wonky isn’t helping either,” she admitted. “I just can’t believe he just walked out without a word. I mean, we’ve argued before, but he’s never just left.”

“It’s a guy thing, I think” Willow offered. “Sometimes they just have to bail in the middle of an upsetting conversation. Oz has tried to explain it to me before.”

Buffy’s lower lip trembled as tears threatened to spill once more. “What if he doesn’t come back?”

“Buffy, he’ll come back,” Willow said with her resolve face set firmly in place. “I know what you’re thinking, but Angel, he loves you. He’ll be back.”

“Will, he’s been gone for days and I’m so afraid,” she whimpered. “What if really left me?”

“Buffy…I’m sorry.” Will said, grabbing her hand. “It must be horrible.”

“I think horrible is still coming,” Buffy choked. “Right now, it’s worse. Right now, I’m just trying to keep from dying.” Sobs wracked her body as she leaned over and laid her head in Willow’s lap.


By Monday morning, Buffy still hadn’t heard from Angel at all but much to Giles’ surprise, she got up and went to school. She knew if she stayed home again, sitting around eating chocolate and feeling sorry for herself, she wasn’t going to get any better. She had to try to keep living even if she felt like she was dying. She had a baby to think about.

She made it until lunchtime before she saw Angel. He looked like he had been rode hard and put away wet. He had several days growth of beard on his face, he was wearing the same jeans he left in on Thursday night and the snug t-shirt he wore looked like it belonged to Oz. His eyes were bloodshot and the way he was moving told her he might still be drunk. Instead of eating lunch, he was sitting on the end of the table with his head in his hands.

“Buffy,” Percy called out. He jogged past Angel’s table and snorted as he got closer to her. “I heard you and The Loser broke up. That’s too bad.”

Buffy’s eyes widened from his insensitive words and she stepped back in shock. Percy didn’t notice as he turned around to face the table. He cocked his head to the side as he looked over Angel.

“Damn, Buff,” Percy added, “I didn’t realize just how much you cleaned him up until just now.” Percy chuckled and turned to face her again, grabbing her hand. “So if you’re done with him, maybe you wanna give me another shot.”

“Percy,” Buffy managed to choke out. She was about to clue him in on the fact that she was pregnant with some other guy’s kid so she probably wasn’t going to be dating anyone in the near future, but she didn’t get that much out before Angel had made his way to where they were talking. He picked Percy up off the ground by his shirtfront and slammed him against the wall.

“Do you want to die?” Angel snarled.

Buffy immediately burst into tears and was sobbing so uncontrollably that Angel dropped Percy and scooped her into his arms. “Buffy?” he asked, slightly frantic. “Baby?”

She stopped sobbing long enough to pull herself out of his embrace and she smacked him as hard as she could in the middle of the chest. “How could you do that?” she demanded.

Angel blinked down at her and then looked at Percy, who was trying to slink away. Angel seemed to deflate. “Fine,” he said, “I’ll leave you two alone.”

Buffy grabbed his arm before he could turn away. “What are you talking about?” she asked in pure exasperation.

“You seemed pretty upset that I touched your new boy toy,” he snapped.

Buffy looked from Angel to the cowardly jock. “Percy?” she asked incredulously. “Percy can take a flying leap. I was talking about you leaving me.”

“Oh,” Angel said. Then the light bulb seemed to go on over his head. “Oh,” he repeated, much more upbeat.

“Where have you been?” Buffy demanded. She lightly fingered the worn edge of his t-shirt. “You look terrible.”

“I didn’t think you’d want to see me after the things I said,” he admitted quietly.

She looked up at him, tears swimming in her eyes. “I love you,” she said softly.

Without a word, Angel grabbed her hand, pulling her out of the lunchroom. “Where are we going?” Buffy asked, trotting to keep up with him.

“Supply closet,” he said tersely.


Giles merely nodded at Angel later that night as he walked in the door and shrugged out of his jacket. Though nothing had been said, he surmised from Buffy’s much improved mood that whatever conflict transpired between her and Angel had been resolved. The look on Angel’s face confirmed as much.

“Where is she?” Angel asked, walking over to the sink to wash the grease off his hands.

“Taking a bubble bath, I believe,” Giles replied.

Angel nodded and an odd, strained silence descended between the two.

“So, uh, Friday is Valentine’s day,” Angel said.

“Ah, yes, I believe it is,” Giles concurred.

“Any plans?” Angel asked.

Giles pushed his glasses up on his nose. “Why do you ask?”

“I just thought maybe you and Ms. Calendar might be spending some quality time…somewhere.”

“Jenny and I don’t have any plans, so far as I’m aware,” Giles replied.

Angel nodded. Silence descended again. “Okay, the thing is,” Angel finally said. “Rupert, I respect you more than I’ve ever respected anyone in my life. The chances that you’ve given me, the things you’ve done for me, I can’t begin to repay you for that.”

Giles looked at him expectantly.

“But man,” Angel said sighing, “I need some quality alone time with Buffy on Friday and I’d rather not have to sneak around behind your back or rent a motel room or something.”

“Well, then,” Rupert said, looking around the room, anywhere but at Angel. “Perhaps I could, uh,” he said, rising out of his chair, “make other arrangements,” he mumbled, walking out of the room.


On Valentine’s Day, Buffy woke up at her usual time and swung her legs over the side of the bed. As she was preparing to stand, she noticed a yellow blur on the floor. Curious, she blinked her sleepy eyes open and saw that a single rose lay at her feet with a note beneath it. Smiling, she picked them both up.

The card simply had flowers on the front. Inside it read: “Happy Valentine’s Day, Buffy. I love you. Follow the yellow roses. Angel.” She slipped on her robe and carried her rose to the door where she found another. She scooped it up and kept going, picking up a yellow rose every couple of feet. Her brow wrinkled in confusion as she opened the door to the spare bedroom ala junk room.

She sucked in a breath as when she walked inside. Turning around, she took in the changes of the room. He had painted the walls a cheerful pale yellow and they were covered with hand painted characters from Winnie the Pooh. There was beautiful furniture, all hand made with intricately carved designs in the wood. She ran her fingers over each one in turn – a cradle, a little bitty dresser with tiny silver knobs on the drawers, a changing table and in the far corner was a big rocking chair. In the chair sat a big brown teddy bear with a red bow around his neck and half a dozen yellow roses in his lap.

She made it full circle and found Angel leaning against the doorway looking nervous and freshly showered in just a pair of blue jeans. He looked over her face and scanned the room before looking at her again. He searched his mind for something to say and came up surprisingly blank.

She sniffled, a tear trailing down her cheek. "You did all this for me?"

He shrugged. "Actually, I did it for the baby. You're little, but I think you're probably too big for most of this furniture."

She frowned at him, walking over to where he stood to wrap her arms around his chest. "Stop being funny," she sniffled.

He smiled, wrapping his arms around her. "All right, baby," he said. "No more jokes. Yes, I did this for you and our child."

"Th-th-that's so sweet," she cried.


Oz joined Angel at the lunch table, slowly taking in his appearance. Over the last five months, Angel's style had changed quite a bit. But the change happened so slowly, that you didn't notice until you saw him the way he was looking earlier in the week. Little by little the stained jeans had all been exchanged for sturdy but slightly more fashionable replacements. The wifebeaters now only came out at band practice or if you stopped by the shop. His leather jacket and boots were still vintage Angel, yet much nicer than anything he'd previously owned. He was still all lean muscle, but he no longer had the slightly haggard, underfed look. All in all he appeared downright respectable.

"You're looking better," Oz noted..

Angel nodded. "I'll get your shirt back to you next week."

"No problem."

Oz looked around the cafeteria and back to Angel. "Can't help noticing that while you look better, Buffy looks worse."

Angel looked over at Buffy who was standing in line with Willow, experimentally prodding something that claimed to be a cheese derivative. Her eyes were still red rimmed, but she was smiling happily. "It's good crying," Angel explained.

Oz frowned. "Guess I’m not familiar with that one," he said.

Shrugging, Angel said, "I don't get it either. I turned the spare bedroom next to hers into a nursery for the baby. Showed it to her this morning. She burst into tears. All I know is that good tears are much better than bad tears."

Smirking Oz asked, "So I guess you probably have Valentine's Day plans?"

"I have lots of Valentine's Day plans," Angel said deviously.


"I still can't believe you asked my dad to go out for the night," Buffy said, scandalized.

Angel snorted. "He needed an excuse to see Ms. Calendar anyway."

"I don't know about her," Buffy hedged. "She tried to take him to that monster truck rally a few weeks ago."

"Buffy," Angel said in exasperation, "I am not going to spend all night talking about your father's social calendar, now quit hiding in the closet and come out here."

She poked her head around the corner frowning. "I can't," she said, her bottom lip protruding.

"Why not?" he asked, pushing himself off the bed and stalking over to her.

"I look so fat in this, Angel," she whined.

He smirked at her in pure carnal appreciation. Buffy was without a doubt the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, even more so now that she was finally showing. She wasn't due until the middle of July, but she already had what he lovingly called 'the bump'. She was so deft with fashion that when she was dressed, you really couldn't tell, but wearing nothing more substantial than the black silk nightgown that draped her every curve, it was very evident. "So take it off."

"Very funny," she chided.

He sighed. He truly did think that her changing body was breathtakingly beautiful, but the cold hard truth of the matter was that he hadn't had sex in a month and a half. The make-out session in the supply closet the previous day was good, but it didn’t come close to actually making love with Buffy. She could have been covered in slime and wearing a potato sack and it wouldn't have slowed him down. Not that she would appreciate that tidbit of information. "You're not fat, you're pregnant."

"Yeah," she snorted, "like I'm really appreciating the difference when I can't see my feet anymore."

"If you lay down on the bed, I'll throw your feet over my shoulders and you can see them then," Angel offered helpfully.

“You’re cracking me up,” she said dryly. “Really.”

“Come out,” he demanded playfully. He walked around to the closet and opened the door wider to see that she was frowning at herself. “Baby, you’re beautiful.”

“I’m fat,” she complained, moving away from him and more into the closet. “Now stop looking. I’m taking this off.”

“Yes,” he agreed. “You are.” He swept her off her feet and into his arms. The amount of steps it took from the closet to bed seemed unreasonable but he managed it without exploding. He set her gently against the pillows and moved between her hips. He kissed her ravenously before sliding down her neck with hot, wet openmouthed kisses. He nibbled along her collarbone, trying desperately to slow himself down.

“Gods, I crave you,” he murmured against her shoulder, tasting her flesh there. “You’re the most beautiful thing in the world.”

Despite her very real belief that no man could possibly find her attractive in her current physical state, Buffy was forced to re-evaluate that stand in light of Angel’s very pronounced erection rubbing against her thigh. “You’re insane,” she muttered between kisses, “but that’s probably why I love you so much.”

His hands swept over her body, trailing up her thigh, pulling the nightgown with it. With her help, they pulled the material over her head, tossing it to the floor. Her fingers immediately went to work, peeling his t-shirt off while he fumbled with his belt. Angel jumped off the bed only as long as it took to kick off his shoes and lose the rest of his clothing. Buffy took the opportunity to reach over and click off the bedroom lamp.

Angel frowned in the darkness, but decided it would be infinitely easier to humor her. When he joined her on the bed again, they were both blissfully nude. Angel nearly purred in satisfaction at the raw sensory pleasure of having her bare skin against his own.


Saturday morning, Buffy woke up in Angel’s arms. She stretched languidly, rubbing her body against his before rushing off to the bathroom and vomiting out her morning sickness. As annoying as it was, she was getting used to it now and so she was already humming when she stepped in the shower minutes later.

She was rising shampoo out of her hair when Angel stepped into the shower with her. He looked sleepy and grouchy and carnally delicious. She immediately turned toward the spray to hide the front of her body from him and thought it was a shame she couldn’t look directly at him. While she was bloated and fat with a queasy stomach, he was lean and muscular and delicious.

“No, no,” he grouched, spinning her back around easily on the slippery floor. “Don’t hide from me, baby.”

“Angel-“ she started, but he covered her mouth with his own, pressing his body against hers. Much to her dismay, he began kissing down the front of her body, loving every part of her that she was trying to hide. Before she could protest, he moved between her thighs, pressing his face into her moist folds. Carefully, he tossed both of her legs over his shoulders and leisurely traced his tongue over her nether lips before teasing her open. He found her little nub and lapped at it until she had forgotten all about him seeing her and was writhing against his mouth.

An hour later, when they were both glowing from the aftermath of steamy shower sex, Angel led her back to bed. She yawned and closed her eyes, deciding that another few minutes of sleep might be nice for a lazy Saturday. When Angel crawled in bed with her and curled his body against hers, however, she was confused.

“You’re not going to work?” she asked, stunned. She rolled over to face him.

“I took the day off.”

“So…you’re not going in at all?” she repeated. She couldn’t even remember them spending a single Saturday together unless he was hurt. There was no way he just took the day off.

“I heard what you said when we were fighting,” he admitted. “You were right, I need to make time for us. So, I took the day off. If we ever get out of bed – which I really hope we don’t – I’ll take you out to lunch and to your little chick flick.”


“Oooh,” Buffy chirped, “what’d ya get?”

Angel dropped the plastic bag on the counter and leaned over to kiss Buffy gently on the lips. She kissed him eagerly, but quickly turned her attention to the DVDs he had rented. “You got the Princess Bride,” she said, tears twinkling in her eyes.

He looked at her like one would look at a wild animal. Her behavior these days was completely erratic going from soaring highs to bottomless lows in the blink of an eye. “You told me to get it,” he said carefully.

“Well, yeah,” she sniffled, “but you did.”

He held very still as she hugged him.

An hour later, they were curled up on the couch, eating popcorn as they kicked off Spring Break with a mini movie fest. Willow and Oz were curled up in the oversized armchair. Cordy and Xander were getting soda in the kitchen. Nobody was mentioning that they’d been ‘getting soda’ for the last half hour.

Angel was sitting up, leaning against the arm of the couch. Buffy was lying on her side, her head pillowed on his thigh. As Angel popped a kernel of popcorn in his mouth with one hand, the other absently rubbed Buffy’s stomach.

Buffy felt his body go rigid and she looked up at him in question. He was staring at her, wide-eyed. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

He looked at his hand, on her stomach. “The bump moved,” he whispered.

She smiled at him goofily. “It does that every now and then, Angel. It’s a baby.”

He looked at her helplessly, “Well, yeah, but it’s .. it’s ... “

She sat up and kissed him on the cheek. “Welcome to parenthood, daddy.”

Angel was stunned. He knew she was pregnant and logically he understood that would mean she was carrying a child in her womb, but until the baby moved it hadn’t really hit him that he was going to be a father. Inside his lover’s rounded belly was an actual living little person. He continued to keep one hand spanned over her stomach and the other in the popcorn while he stared ahead lost in thought.


On to part 9

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