Gift From The Past

Chapter Nine

Xanderís Basement Apartment

Anya: You better not leave like that again. It was so not fair. I was here all hot and horny and you were gone.

Xander: They needed my help.

Anya: Oh, they could have done whatever without you. You act like they are more important than me.

Xander: No Iím not. Iím sorry you were lonely, but Iím back now.

Anya: Yes you are.

She snuggles closer to him on the sofa and begins caressing his chest while she devours his lips. His fingers entangle in her hair.

Cordy: Hey there.

Xander and Anya jump back and stare at the intruder.

Xander: Cordy? How did you get in here?

Cordy: Your mom let me in.

She looks around the room.

Cordy: So this is your place. Whoís your decorator? Junkyards are Us?

Xander: Why are you here?

Cordy: Oh, I needed a place to stay and since you stayed at my place it is only fair.

She tosses her bag on his bed. Anya jumps up and glares at Xander.

Anya: You stayed with her? You didnít tell me you stayed with your ex-girlfriend. No wonder you were in no hurry to get back. She grabs her purse and heads toward the door.

Xander: Ahn, wait. Hold up honey.

She slams the door and he stands glaring at it.

Cordy: She always this hostile?

Xander: No, only when unwanted females show up in my apartment.

Cordy: Apartment? That is what you call this dump? I have seen projects that look better.

Xander: Then why are you here?

Cordy: I told you. I need a place to stay.

Xander: And you want to stay here. What about Aura and all your wonderful friends?

Cordy: Aura is in Europe and everyone is off at college.

Xander: Well except Harmony. Why donít you go get a motel room or something?

Cordy: I am not spending my hard earned money on some lame motel. Besides, you owe me. Remember.

Xander: Fine, but donít complain to me if the couch gives you a sore neck.

Cordy: Couch? No way. If I have to stay in this rat hole, I get the bed.

Xander: You donít have to stay here at all. Remember?

Cordy: You owe me.

Xander: And you recall I got the sofa too.

Cordy: Fine. Iíll take the couch but it better not smell.

Xander: You can sprinkle it with perfume if it will make you feel better.

Cordy: I might just do that.

 

Summerís House

Buffy looks at her mom and takes another breath.

Angel: Relax.

Buffy: I am trying. Okay. Mom, do you remember Ethan Rayne?

Joyce: You mean that awful man who made the candy so they could kill the babies?

Buffy: Yeah. Thatís him.

Joyce: Is he back here?

Buffy: Not anymore. But he was. Back in January.

Joyce: And he did something?

Buffy: Oh yeah. Some demons hired him to get me out of the way before they did some mating ritual to reproduce.

Joyce: More candy?

Buffy: No actually he sent me back in time.

Joyce: Oh heavens.

Buffy: He sent me back to 1750 Galway, Ireland.

Joyce: Oh lord Buffy. Were you hurt?

Buffy: No I was fine.

Joyce: But you had to be so scared.

Buffy: I was at first until I met Liam OíHara. He helped me. Got me a place to stay and food to eat. He was wonderful.

Joyce: ThatÖ..

Buffy: Mom, please let me just explain.

Joyce: Okay, Iíll listen.

Buffy: Thank you. As I said Liam was wonderful the whole time I was there until I was brought back.

She glances at Angel.

Buffy: He was sweet and attentive and caring.

Buffy looks at her mom and takes another cleansing breath.

Buffy: I was there for three days before Giles and the others figured out what happened and brought me back. I didnít tell you about it because I just wanted to try and forget all about it. But I canít. It has had too much of a lasting affect on my life.

She looks into her momís face.

Buffy: Mom, IímÖ..

Joyce: Oh dear hold on.

She turns around and grabs the chicken off the stove. She moves it to a cool burner and quickly checks it.

Joyce: Okay not too burnt.

Buffy: Mom please.

Joyce turns around and looks at her daughter. She quickly moves back to her seat and takes her hand.

Joyce: Honey, Iím sorry. I didnít meanÖÖ

Buffy: I know. I just need to say this while I have the nerve.

Joyce squeezes her hand and smiles encouragingly.

Buffy: Mom, IÖÖwell IÖÖ..

Angel gently caresses her back.

Buffy: Iím pregnant.

Joyce just stares for a moment.

Buffy: Mom?

Joyce: Pregnant?

Buffy: Uh huh.

Joyce: And the father?

Buffy: Liam.

Joyce: Good heavens.

They sit there quietly while Joyce processes the information.

Joyce: So what are you going to do?

Buffy: Iím still making decisions. I want to stay in school as long as I can. But I know eventually I will have to take some time off. And as for slaying, Giles says to let the initiative handle it and the others will help too.

Joyce: So you are going to have the baby? Raise it alone without a father?

Buffy: Yes I am going to have it and no I will not be alone. I have Angel.

Joyce: Oh heavens Buffy. I know you and Angel care about each other but how can you ask him to help you raise another manís child. Iím sorry Angel. I know you want to help but you can not assume to take on the responsibilities of a human child. It would not be fair to you or the child.

Buffy: Mom, a child deserves two parents, even if one or in this case both are not what society deems normal.

Joyce: Iím just thinking about you and the child.

Buffy: So am I. I want him or her to grow up knowing he was wanted and loved by both his parents.

Joyce: But Buffy, this Liam is long dead and it is not right for you to drag Angel into this.

Angel: Joyce.

Joyce: Yes?

Angel: I donít think you understand. I am Liam.

Joyce: What?

Angel: I am Liam OíHara or was. Angelus is just the name I took after I was turned.

Joyce: Oh my stars. You?

Buffy: Yes, I thought you knew. Or I figured you did.

Joyce: No. And frankly I never thought to ask.

Buffy: Oh.

Angel: Joyce, I know you are upset about all of this but let me assure you I only want what is best for Buffy and our child.

Joyce: I really donít know what to say.

Angel: Maybe you just need time. We should just leave and talk about this after you have had time to digest everything.

Both of them turn to see Buffy stuffing pieces of cucumber into her mouth.

Joyce: Maybe we should eat before you leave.

Angel: I think that may be a good idea.

Joyce turns around and pulls two plates and two bowls from the cabinet.

Joyce: Buffy, can you get out the salad dressing?

Buffy hops down and opens the refrigerator. She retrieves the bottle of dressing and turns to see Angel watching her. The look on his face causes heat to flow through her. She smiles at him and he returns it slowly.

Joyce: Here you go honey.

Joyce hands her a plate of chicken and rice. Buffy and Joyce fill their bowls with salad. Buffy pours on dressing and passes it to her mom. Buffy opens the cabinet and pulls out a glass. She turns and looks at Angel.

Buffy: Angel?

Angel: Please.

She pulls out a second glass and fills both with tea. She places them on the counter and sits back down. Angel picks up a glass and takes a sip and then begins staring into its brown depths. Joyce watches curiously.

Buffy: Mom this is wonderful. I really miss your cooking.

Joyce: And I miss the company. You know you can come home on occasion.

Buffy: Even now?

Joyce: Especially now. Buffy, Iím still in shock but you have to know Iím here for you always.

Buffy smiles slightly.

Joyce: For both of you. You have a tough road ahead and I do not envy either one of you. It is hard enough to raise a child under normal circumstances. And you two already have a number of things against you.

Buffy: Thanks for the pep talk, Mom.

Joyce: Iím just saying, Iím here and will help however I can.

Buffy: Thanks. I needed to hear that.

Angel: Joyce, I hope you know I love your daughter.

Joyce: I have never doubted your love, Angel.

Buffy: But you would prefer I had a normal guy.

Joyce: Yes. But I guess fate has other ideas. And besides now I get to be a grandma.

She smiles encouragingly.

Buffy: I see. So now that he can reproduce, heís an acceptable mate?

Joyce: No, Iím just starting to realize we canít always control our destinies.

Buffy takes in her last forkful and picks up her plate and bowl. She rinses it and sets it in the dishwasher. She turns and takes her momís dishes and adds them too.

Joyce: Why donít we go in the living room and you two can tell me what you have decided so far.

Buffy: Not much really.

Riley watches as they each pick up their glasses and move out of sight. His eyes follow the action as the shadows move across the front room windows. He edges around the house and sees two heads silhouetted against the front curtains.

Buffy sets her glass on the coffee table and glances at Angel beside her.

Joyce: So you said you want to stay in school. So does that mean you are moving back here, Angel?

Angel: We really have not made any decisions. For now I am staying in LA. I have my business to run and Buffy has school.

Buffy: He is going to come down on the weekends or I can go up there. Giles says not to worry about the slaying and with what the initiative did to Spike, I donít want Angel in Sunnydale too often.

Joyce: Did to Spike? What happen to him?

Buffy: Oh, sorry. I thought I told you. They captured him and put some type of chip in his head. He can no longer harm humans without extreme pain.

Joyce: That is a good thing I would think.

Buffy: But that is not all they do to the demons they capture. And we donít want to risk Angel becoming a test subject.

Joyce: So you are going to spend the weekends in LA?

Buffy: Unless we can find a safe place close by. Somewhere away from the campus and the initiative.

Joyce: I thought what you told me before about the initiative was they were doing good things. Helping you. Canít you just go to them and explain about Angel?

Buffy: No way. And give them a reason to look for him. Itís the government, Mom. They took Ethan Rayne and he was human. Granted a bad human but they have him now. And if they knew of Angel, they would take him too.

Angel: Buffy, calm down.

Joyce: He is right, sweetheart. No one is going to take Angel away.

Buffy: Iím sorry. I just am so nervous with Angel anywhere near them.

Joyce: So I guess you are going back to LA tonight.

Angel: No actually, I have to see Giles in the morning. I am just going to get a hotel room for the night.

Joyce: I see.

She looks at the two of them.

Joyce: You are welcome to stay here tonight. I mean unless you prefer a hotel.

Buffy: Really. That would be wonderful. I hate the idea of him being in a public place.

Joyce: Itís fine.

Angel: It is very kind of you. I just need to drive Buffy to the dorm.

Buffy: Thatís okay. You can drop me off in the morning. That is unless mom still is using my room for additional storage.

Joyce: Your room is cleaned out. Waiting for you.

From outside Riley continues to watch the small movements through the curtains. He begins to become impatient waiting when the front door opens. Riley stays still behind the tree as Angel walks toward his car. Riley looks toward the house and sees Buffy standing in the doorway watching. Angel lifts his bag from the trunk and walks back up onto the porch. Riley observes Angel wrap his arm around Buffyís waist before the front door closes. He steps out from his cover and stares angrily at the house.

Buffy and Angel walk up the stairs. As Buffy opens the guest room door her mom steps out of the bathroom.

Joyce: Buffy, there is no use locking the barn door after the horse is gone.

Buffy: Huh?

Joyce: Little late for the separate rooms, donít you think?

Buffy smiles.

Buffy: Itís okay with you?

Joyce: I guess it has to be.

She walks over and kisses her on the cheek.

Joyce: Good night.

She touches Angelís cheek and kisses him too.

Joyce: Take care of my baby and no losing your soul. You hear me?

Angel: Yes maíam.

Joyce walks off to her room. Buffy looks up at Angel.

Buffy: Your choice.

Angel reaches over and closes the guestroom door. Buffy strolls toward her room.

Outside Riley stares at the now dark house. He sighs and heads back toward the car. Halfway back he glances over his shoulder. He stops and stares at the lighted upstairs window. Buffy is clearly illuminated as she stares at the night sky. Riley lifts his binoculars to take in his enchantress. He smiles as he observes her. But the smile rapidly fades as a second body enters the picture. A lump forms in his throat as he sees Angel wrap his arms around her body and kiss her neck. Her arm lifts and gently caresses his face and neck. Riley drops his head and heads back to his car. He glances once more up to the two bodies intertwined in the window before driving off.

Angel: What are you looking at?

Buffy: The sky. Itís beautiful tonight. I know you miss seeing sunrises and sunsets but nights like this are just as impressive.

Angel: I guess they are.

He holds her a few more minutes enjoying the beauty.

Angel: You ready to sleep. We have an early morning.

Buffy: I guess.

She grabs the curtains and closes them tightly.

Angel: We are leaving before sunrise, so no need to block out the windows.

Buffy: Only the fact I like to sleep in the dark.

 

Early Morning.

The alarm clock buzzes awakening Joyce. She looks oddly at the early hour before conscious reality returns. She remembers that Buffy and Angel must leave early and Buffyís clock was at her dorm. She slithers out of bed and slides on her robe and slippers. Her feet pad softly down the hall to her daughterís room. From the faint light emanating from her own bedside lamp she peers into the occupied room. She quietly watches the two slumbering forms. Angel is curled around Buffyís smaller form. His arm slung over her waist and his broad hand spanning her abdomen. Joyce looks at Buffyís relaxed body and peaceful face. She suddenly realizes it is the first time in many years she has seen her daughter looking so serene. Her heart lurches, as she comprehends that her daughter feels completely protected and no longer has to be the guardian.

A small sigh of understanding escapes her lips. Angel opens his eyes and looks up at her.

Joyce (whispers): Sorry, but you need to be getting up.

Angel nods and slowly separates himself from his mate. He moves out into the hall and closes the door.

Joyce: I hate to wake her. She looks so peaceful. More peaceful than I have seen her in years.

Angel: I know what you mean.

Joyce: But it is you. With you here to protect her, she can forget who she is.

Angel: I donít know. I donít think she can ever truly forget.

Joyce: But she can let someone else be strong for awhile. Can you accept that burden?

Angel: I want that burden. I am just not sure I deserve her.

Joyce: Maybe that is no longer up to us to decide. What has happened helps me to see that. I hope itÖ..

They both look over as the door opens.

Buffy: What are you two up to?

Joyce: You told me to wake you.

Buffy: And?

Joyce: I was just telling Angel he is welcome to stay here any time he is in town. If you both think he will be safe.

Buffy: You mean it?

Joyce: Of course.

She throws her arms around her mother and hugs her. Her mom hugs her back.

Joyce: Well you two need to get dressed and out of here before it gets too late.

Angel: We got a little time.

Joyce: You sure?

Angel: I can feel when the sun is coming.

Joyce: Oh. I guess there is a lot about you I donít know.

Buffy: Well I guess you two will have time to get to know each other now.

Joyce: I guess we will.

 

Later

Angel maneuvers the car in front of the tall brick building. Buffy looks over at him.

Buffy: I get out of my last class at four today.

Angel: Call me at Giles when youíre done and weíll make plans for tonight.

Buffy: You heading back to LA tonight.

Angel: Probably. But not until late.

He leans over and softly brushes his lips against hers. Buffy runs her hand over his cheek as they gaze into each others eyes.

Buffy: You better go before it gets too late.

Angel: I know.

She steps out of the car and closes the door. She leans in the open window.

Buffy: Be careful.

Angel: I will.

She stands up and he watches her walk away before driving off. Neither of them notices the lone male standing nearby watching.

 

Giles apartment

Giles opens the door for Angel.

Angel: You have everything?

Giles: Yes. They are in the bedroom. Do you want to check them out?

Angel: I do.

Giles leads him in and he begins to examine the manacles and numerous chains. He test the various links.

Giles: Do they appear adequate?

Angel: They should be fine. Are we using the bed?

Giles: We think it would work best.

Angel: Good idea. When do we do this?

Giles: Willow should be here at two with Tara. She says she found the appropriate spell and has all the ingredients ready.

Angel: So is there anything I can do while we wait?

Giles: Not really. If you need to rest, feel free.

Angel: No I am fine. I slept rather well last night. Buffy and I stayed at her motherís house.

Giles: I take it you told her about the baby?

Angel: Yes, and she took the news quite well. In fact she has offered to help however she can. She also invited me to stay with her when I came in town.

Giles: Do you feel it would be safe there?

Angel: Yes. Buffy is concerned about the initiative but she says they donít patrol that far from the campus unless they know of a problem.

Giles: What about Riley?

Angel: What about him?

Giles: Willow said he confronted her on campus the other day. Seems he is not accepting the break up too well.

Angel: Does Buffy know?

Giles: No, we decided she had enough to deal with and besides he didnít really do anything.

Angel: I donít like it. Buffy has told him twice now it is over and he still goes to Willow.

Giles: He is not a bad guy, Angel. I think he might actually love her.

Angel: That doesnít make me feel better. People do a lot of crazy things in the name of love.

Giles: I donít think we have to worry about him.

Angel: Just be sure and let me know if he bothers anyone again.

Giles: Angel, we donít need you getting involved with Riley. We can handle it if he does anything. Which I really donít expect him to.

They both turn as the front door opens. Spike runs in covered by his smoking blanket.

Spike: Well lookey whoís here. What brings you back to this burg?

Angel steps forward and grabs Spike by the throat.