Mutual Sensations by Tango


DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.
DISTRIBUTION: Of course you can have it! Please let me know though.

SPOILERS: S6 - This is a weird one, so I hope you enjoy it!

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

FEEDBACK: Please, please, please!

LYRICS: All lyrics are by The Counting Crows


AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know I'm in the process of working on several different
projects right now (*In A Maudlin Sort of Way* and *Slayers and Vampires and
Witches, Oh My!* and *Drawings of You*) but I had a challenge with a
deadline. Although I had a week to write this, my muse was off gallivanting
somewhere without me so I'm forced to write it very quickly. (In fact, I
completely missed my deadline because of situations beyond my control. RL
life has sucked beyond the telling of it lately.) So, I've dropped
everything else until I finish this and I'm going at a break neck pace right
now. If it sucks, then you have my deepest apologies. This takes place
before "Seeing Red." S6

WARNING: At some point, this fic WILL contain character death!


For Mai Shine who challenged me to write a fic in one week that met her
specifications. I hope this meets the challenge. (See the bottom for a
full description of the challenge.)


//well, i will not be an enemy of anything
i'll only stand here
waiting for you//

*Mutual sensations*, that's what Angel called them. Lovers, slaughter,
labors, sadness, death - he and Buffy felt them together. He knew they did
because when he left, the part of his soul that always belonged to her
screamed. He felt as if his mind was scattered, dragging behind him,
leaving a trail from Sunnydale to LA, and everything he had ever been is
still somewhere under that paved road.

She hurt him in a way that he never thought anyone could, so he turned on
her and gave it back. He gave back every bit of torment she ever made him
feel. She had made him turn against himself, sent him to Hell and still he
loved her. She awakened his regard for himself and he was chained to her
heart, begging for more. He hadn't wanted to hurt her. That's not why he
left, but the longer he was gone, the more his pain increased, the more his
guilt amplified and the more he realized that he was punishing her...for
daring to love him.

He spent his nights rubbing his crimes in and swabbing them with the memory
of her face. It was peppermint protocol. Every morning, with the fatal
sun, his dreams faded away. As the portal closed containing his son, he
stood still, suffered and knew that his pain was complete and his life was
meaningless. He had lost everything he had ever loved and then some.

After he tried to kill Wesley, even as he was screaming, being dragged away
from the bedside, in his mind, he could see every step that lead back to
Buffy. That night he walked to the highway and stared at the sky, at the
sides of the road, at the passing cars. The blanket of blinking stars told
him how to repair his wounds but if healing meant being without his son and
his mate, if that's what going on with his life was, then he wasn't


//every night these silhouettes appear above my head
little angels of the silences that climb into my bed and whisper
every time i fall asleep, every time i dream//

Buffy felt something inside her that was like a sounding march of despair.
It was linked with the retreat of her mate so long ago and she sat up in
bed, gasping in pain. She tediously retraced her dream steps. The dream
was a blurry song, a repeated rhythm, a proclamation of what was formed,
lost and almost forgotten. She had blocked him out for so long, she didn't
want to remember how the feeling of him leapt inside her and traced that
small quantity of fear that went hand in hand with true love. That early,
early morning, she was engrossed with the memory of how he savored her, how
he valued her every word, how he knew who she was.

For a long time, she sat on her bed and looked out the window wrapped in the
squall of his emotions sketched inside her soul. Conflicted and grimacing,
she went to the bathroom and showered, trying to wash Angel away, trying to
wash the dirty feeling of her other lovers off of her skin. But she
couldn't. It wasn't possible. Her mate was dying inside as she had been
for a long time and she didn't know how to make it end.

As she dried off, the phone rang and she knew that another horrible incident
was coming. She dressed and woke up Dawn to tell her that Giles was in town
and that he brought with him the next apocalypse. Next she stumbled to
Willow and Tara's room, asking them to dress and go to the Magic Box where
the others would be waiting.

She went quickly with her two Wiccan friends, acting as her normal self - or
what was normal lately. She listened as Giles talked about a demon warrior
princess seeking revenge for her lost lover. Buffy didn't know that the
demon she killed last night was the mate of another, but it had been. Not
that it would have mattered in at the time, but now she realized that she
killed someone else's mate. As much as she wanted to tell herself that it
was okay, that she took something evil out of the world, she knew the sorrow
the Princess felt. She was certain she had not only destroyed life, but
love. She swallowed her sadness and looked dully at her returned Watcher.

The feeling came on broadly at first and then narrowed itself in Buffy's
mind. It was the same kind of fear, the same young, tricky idea that had
been ringing inside her from the moment that she returned from Heaven. In
private, she had evaluated it many times but it wasn't until today that she
truly understood it. She thought at first, upon her return, that she only
wanted to go back to Heaven and that was true, at first she did. Later, as
she laid beneath Spike and hoped he would hurt her a little more, she knew
what she wanted was for the longing to stop.

Why did the powers send Angel to her? Why give her the greatest love she
had ever known, only to take it away? Why was there Angelus and then Hell
and then his departure? Didn't she deserve more than the short time she had
with Angel? With every demon, vampire and other creature of the night she
had defeated, with every person she knew and every place she went, she
carried her mate with her, silently begging him to return. Soon, she
persuaded the cries to bury themselves so deeply inside that she no longer
felt anything but the vague longing and the numbness.

Today the memory of what she had lost was inserting itself in every turn and
she almost felt that the attacking warrior princess was not something to be
defeated but something to learn from. She was a messenger of the rewards of
life and the loss of what was important - the loss of the one thing that was


//if you tell me that you'll wait for me i'll say i won't be here//

Angel made no attempt to feed or hunt or speak after his spell to bring
Conor back had failed. It didn't surprise him that none of his *family*
understood what he was feeling. None of them tried. Cordelia came up with
her newfound wisdom and spoke to him, but he just waited for her to leave
again. Of course, she never did. He wanted to scream at her, wanted to
shake her until her perfect white teeth chattered and let her know that she
didn't understand him and that she never would. Being part demon all of the
sudden did not make one wise to the life of a vampire who had lived over two
and half centuries and found himself a slave to the memories of the only two
people he had ever loved, his son and his mate.

The thoughts of someday becoming human were quickly fading, as were the
thoughts of being with his mate again, of watching Conor grow into the man
he dreamed he would become. His dreams were dissolving and he cursed
himself for feeling them to begin with. What had happened to him? When
exactly did he forget who he was, what he was?

He wanted to turn on Cordelia, who was reading on the charred sofa in his
room and tell her that the only humane action would be to stake him. Break
the pattern of pain and loss. Kill whatever he had become and what he had
been. His plea for her to take his life would be the final monologue, the
unscrewing of the delicate line between illusion and reality. The idea of
his own demise was pulling him down from his sorrows. Pausing a minute, it
occurred to him that he shouldn't give that gift to Cordy. It belonged to
Buffy, as did everything. He looked over at Cordelia Chase and felt
something akin to disgust cover him. He didn't care about his shallow lusts
of the pretty girl anymore and the moments he had thought about making love
to her. She was an idle request for comfort, a moment of haze before his
clarity returned. With Conor gone, the only things that were left were
Death and Buffy.

The only thing he wished for as he laid in bed and stared at the scorched
crib that had once contained the happy, gurgling body of his son, was that
he had the strength to go to Buffy and offer her his life. It would be so
easy. But not, which was why he stayed there, wishing for the pain to go.


//all the things i keep inside myself, they vanish in the air//

"What do we need to do to stop her?" Buffy asked Giles, making sure he
caught the disappointment in her tone, the anger that only a daughter can
feel for the father who abandoned her. She felt like telling him to resume
his new life in the mother country and get the hell out of hers. They could
do the research without him. She had proven that she didn't *need* him
there. At the same time, she ached to give him another hug and force a
promise out of him to stay.

"She needs two lovers," Giles answered, "Two soul mates to sacrifice. Their
souls can be used to create a pathway of sorts to the underworld. She can
retrieve her lover from the other side and together they can get their
revenge for being separated."

"Great," Buffy snorted. *Soul mates.* What a hilarious and foolish archaic
term. Once, a long time ago, she thought that was possible, but then
reality sunk in, as it always does, "Is there a way to stop her before she
finds the juicy souls she's looking for or we just have to wait until she
nabs the victims?"

"There won't be a need to wait as long as we act quickly," Giles responded,
feeling the tension in the room but deciding to keep it off the record for
as long as he could. He was beginning to think he had made the wrong
decision by leaving his Slayer and by the look in her eyes she was no better
than she had been. If anything she was decidedly worse and regret settled
itself neatly inside him.

Without moving or speaking, Buffy felt a twinge. It wasn't much more than a
slither and she felt herself slipping below, as if she were shrinking inside
herself. The feeling was unhurried and gradual and she felt as if she were
going to pass out, but she didn't, she just stepped back mentally and
someone else took over.


//lost among the chosen one//

Somehow Cordelia had convinced him that what he needed was to continue the
sword fighting lessons that had dropped off long before, even though her new
power prevented her from even needing to learn it at all. He had argued with
her about it and now he wasn't even sure how his arms ended up around her.
His hands, resting just below hers on the sword, were as firm and
concentrated as the rest of his body as they stepped slowly through the
movements, making arched, graceful swipes that encored and retraced.
Normally, Angel concentrated on the martial dance of their movements,
completely in tune with his trainee. Most days he knew the second before
her blood pressure increased, the point where her heartbeat moved from a
patter to a thump.

Today, he was distracted by the heartbeat he usually monitored and was
disturbed by the warmth of her skin. Every part of today's training felt
like deja vu and each brush of warm female skin felt like Buffy. It seemed
as though his discovery of his life without his mate had forced him back on
the path he thought he had left forever - the one where he couldn't stop
thinking about her. He blinked away images of his ex-lover and tried to
focus on the session but he couldn't seem to shake her off.

When the session was over, he galloped up the stairs, taking two at time,
needing to get away from the human female who triggered Sunnydale sense
memories inside him. He made it to his room in seconds and leaned against
the door. The closed door was effective in keeping humanity out but Buffy's
memory strolled right in and made herself at home.

He shed his clothes and climbed into the shower but the warm spray only
reminded him of Buffy. The damn soap reminded him of Buffy. He had long
ago resigned himself to accepting that he was never going to just forget
her. She flowed back into his consciousness in regular intervals like the
tide and he could do nothing to chase her away. But this new torment with
her and Conor's memories battling inside his head was more than he could

He dressed, went out to his car and climbed in, not really knowing where he
was going to go but needing to do something, go somewhere. The cool leather
of the seat reminded him of Buffy, the sound of the engine turning over
brought back a memory of her and the feel of the road rhythmically
underneath the tires brought up images of her face. Before he realized what
he was doing, he was halfway to Sunnydale. He tried to convince himself to
turn around and go home, to keep away like they had discussed. He fought
himself bitterly and lost. He promised himself just one little peek of his
lost love and then he would go home. She wouldn't even know he was there.

Almost as if it were triggered by a mile marker, Angel felt a strange pang
inside him. Something was shifting inside him. He pressed on the gas to
speed up as something else besides the demon inside him took over.


//i guess i thought that someone would notice
i guess i thought somebody would say something if i was missing//

Willow chanted and without moving, she seemed like personified propaganda
for movement. Buffy almost never paid attention to the words or the
rituals, but tonight she felt as if the magick was moving inside her,
tapping her on the forehead and shouting for her to pay attention. Giles
stood by Willow's side, chanting opposite phrases that all of the sudden The
Slayer understood.

Back and forth, she began to sway and finally stepped forward, in a
deliberate attempt to regain her senses. She felt drowsy as if her friends'
feat were draining the life from her. They were cheerfully trying to kill
her and the new consciousness that had been placed inside her.

"You think I'm just going to let you do this," Buffy demanded as she brushed
against Willow and Giles. The voice was hers, but the words did not come
from her and she watched in amazement as her friends were tossed aside. She
was sure she barely touched them but they hit the ground with a horrible
thud. Clenching her fists in an attempt to control the feelings inside her,
she looked at her friends.

"What are you talking about?" Giles said, standing and limping over to her,
while brushing the grass from his trousers, "What is the matter with you,
Buffy? This is what we agreed upon."

"I didn't agree to *this*," Buffy's new alter ego exclaimed, "We have to
come to make things right."

"We?" Willow asked, "You mean, me, you and Giles, right?"

"Reckless children," Buffy intoned, "The brief rest you were given was
nothing but a conditioning. You want me? I'll have you with meat and wine
at my lover's side."

"Lover?" Giles echoed, still in shock from the news of Buffy's lover while
he away, "Spike?"

Buffy laughed maniacally at Giles' question, "Spike was starvation. He was
curtains, nothing but an accessory, an unnatural urge.

"Buffy," Willow said, edging closer. She met eyes with Giles quickly, seeing
that he had come to the same conclusion as she had. Buffy was possessed and
for real this time, "There's something controlling you. You have to fight

"Don't worry, Will," Buffy answered, "You're safe enough. You'll be hidden
quite nicely amongst the other wood shavings when the world is mine."

"You mean ‘ours,'" Angel said, appearing at her side. He stood by her, not
touching her or looking at her, but helping her stare down the Watcher and

"Of course," Buffy answered with a smile that was given to Giles and Willow,
"Mine. Ours. It's the same thing."


//she knows she's just a little misunderstood
she has trouble acting normal when she's nervous//

"It's daytime!" Cordelia shouted as she paced around the lobby, showing
anything but the peaceful calm she had taken on in recent weeks. She was
somewhere in the middle of a rant and frankly, the only person who might
have caught it all was Groo. Given the opportunity, however, he probably
would not have repeated the whole meaning of her tangent, since he always
gave his princess far more than the benefit of the doubt.

"Thank you, Cordelia," Gunn said sarcastically.

"What Charles means," Fred added, "Is that with all of the pacing and
shouting, we're not sure what's upsetting you."

"Except that the sun has risen, doll face, which isn't really a reason to
get into a bind," Lorne said, strolling in the room, still in his pajamas
and robe, but already carrying his morning drink.

"I think the princess is upset because Angel has not returned," Groo said
with sadness on his face, "Angel *is* her primary concern."

"Oh, you think that Angel..." Fred said.

"Yes!" Cordelia shouted, "Yes! He left in the middle of the night and it's
daytime now. He's not back."

"I'm calling Wes," Gunn said, heading for the phone, "Gotta make sure
English is still alive."

"I agree," Fred added, nodding and biting her lower lip nervously. No one
was really sure if Angel would go after Wesley again. She was sure that if
he tried again, he wouldn't fail.

"I don't think Angel would go after Wesley again," Lorne said calmly, "He
was past the revenge and more towards the-"

"Self destruction!" Cordelia shouted.


Part Two

"The Wish"


//could you tell me the things you remember about me
and have you seen me lately?
i remember me
and all the little things that make up a memory
like she said she loved to watch me sleep//

Buffy woke with the dawn and with the oddest sensation. It was almost as if
her dream last night had come true and that she was with Angel, in his arms.
From the hard surface underneath her, she thought she must have fallen out
of bed at some point until she opened her eyes. In front of her was a
cave-like stone wall and unless Willow and Tara had performed some major
magick overnight, she was fairly certain she was not in her bedroom. She
recognized the large arm around her waist and the room temperature body
pressed against hers. She shifted slowly in his arms, trying not to wake
him and found him already awake, staring at her with those deep soulful

A million fine phrases had crossed her mind, things that she would say to
him if he ever returned again. In her dreams, they had all been perfect
invasions with every syllable sounding strong and natural. But now, lying
in his arms again, every sentence had a black mark across it. It was
amazing that she had spent so much time unlearning him and in one moment,
the memorization returned. Buffy Summers found herself moving back in time
to that girl who could see nothing but him in her future. It was a
formidable feeling and the gaps of her were filled by this one small instant
with him. It nibbled and she was afraid if she spoke the peace would break.

The moment was silhouetted and seemed hazy to the pair, who both felt the
additional personas inside them, waiting to take over again. The silence
took up the tiny spaces between them and after awhile they weren't certain
if they were waiting to speak or if they had already finished. They were
connected as they had ever been and somehow felt less free.

"I never said I didn't love you," he said quietly, answering her unasked
question. Neither were sure if she had said it or not, but it didn't
matter. It was there.

"You still want me," she confirmed, searching the storm tossed feelings
raging between them for the truth.

"You know me well enough by now," he answered, knowing it was cryptic and at
the same time knew that she understood. It was sanity balancing on a porch
rail and the truth had been a long time coming.

"This isn't a gift," he told her, "We think it is, but it's not."

"I know," she answered, digging her fingers into his arms. The longer she
was awake, the more she found movement difficult. Her hands were now one of
the few parts of her body that were still capable of movement. She wasn't
hurt, she was being controlled and she knew the way he didn't hold her more
tightly that he was under the same possession, "Will we die so she can free

"Would you kill to save me?" he asked, catching her eyes and reading the
answer there, knowing she wouldn't reply, but waiting for it anyway.

"I'm not ready," she whispered, "I thought I wanted to go back but I don't."

"I know, love," he replied, grateful that his arms were already around her
when he woke. It would be so much worse to know that he couldn't hold her
when she needed it. If the Princess succeeded, they would both die. They
knew that with every fibre of their being. They also knew that once they
left this plane, they would be separated in different dimensions for all of
eternity. It had to be The Powers That Be's funniest mix up because to
place two soul mates in the world, one as human and one as demon, they could
only be reunited in each new life.


//round here we talk just like lions
but we sacrifice like lambs//

"Daddy," Dawn said, standing at the open door of her home.

"Hi Dawnie," he said, leaning in to peck her cheek and sweeping past her
only to see an older gentleman sitting on the couch in pajamas and a robe
nursing his morning cup of tea. The man looked vaguely familiar to Hank
Summers, but he couldn't place where he had seen him before. All he knew
was that this man had spent the night in the same house as his two young and
attractive daughters.

"What are you doing here?" she asked abruptly and then amended, "I mean, we
didn't expect you."

"Can't I just drop in on my daughters?" he asked and turned to Giles, "Have
we met?"

"Yes, actually," Giles said, reaching out his hand to shake the absentee
father's hand, even as he had the urge to do something considerably less
cordial, "Rupert Giles. I was formerly the librarian at the High School
before it was destroyed. I'm in town visiting from England."

"Really?" Hank said, narrowing his eyes at the man, "And you're staying with
my daughters?"

"Yes, well," Giles answered, "Joyce and I were close friends. I check in on
the girls from time to time."

"Where is Buffy, by the way?" Hank asked, turning to Dawn and ignoring the
implication in Giles' statement that as their father, he had not checked in
on them nearly as often. Or at all actually.

" early this morning for a study session," Dawn stammered.

"On Saturday?" Hank asked incredulously. He might have been out of the
picture for awhile but there was no way his eldest daughter got up that
early on a Saturday morning to study.

"She has a large exam on Monday," Giles added, not feeling the least bit
guilty about jabbing in every chance he got that he knew more about the
Summers' girls than their father. Part of his animosity was against Hank
Summers and part of it was against himself, as he began to compare fatherly
notes, "She has a bit of trouble with history."

"Where is she studying?" Hank asked, "I'd like to see her."

"We don't know," Dawn answered, "She just said it was a study group. Sorry
Daddy. But I can make you coffee if you want. Giles made tea too."

"I'll have coffee," he answered, a bit too eagerly. He actually did prefer
coffee but was thrilled to not drink the same beverage as the librarian who
seemed to be vying for his parental rights.

"‘Kay," she said, turning toward the kitchen, "Giles?"

"No, thank you, Dawn," he answered, settling back into his seat on the couch
with a smug half smile on his face. If Buffy and Angel weren't in dire
straits, he would be humming a little tune by now.

"Giles," Willow said sleepily, padding down the stairs in her pajamas, "Have
we found Buffy and Angel...Hi, Mr. Summers."

"Hello," he said.

"Willow," she said, pressing a hand to her chest, "I'm Willow Rosenberg."

She gulped as she continued down the stairs and turned to Giles, giving him
the *oh shoot* look. She blurted the first thing that popped in her mind,
which was, "Have we found Buffy and Angel an engagement present yet?"

Giles nearly spit his tea across the room, but managed to choke on it
gracefully for a moment before answering, "No. I was just thinking about
that this morning."

"Engagement?" Hank shouted, "Who is *Angel*?"

"Engagement!" Dawn shouted back, "Who's engaged?"

Willow wanted to pound her head against the wall. She turned so she faced
Dawn and with her back safely facing Mr. Summers, she spoke in Dawn's mind,
*We're pretending Buffy & Angel are engaged. It was all I could think of.
Play along. Please, please, please, pl...*

"Oh," Dawn said, nodding and precariously carrying a coffee cup to her
father. She had overfilled it and the dark liquid was dribbling over the
sides, "You mean, like how Angel asked her to marry him?"

"Yes," Giles answered, unable to hide his sigh. The sigh transformed into a
groan as Xander walked through the door with Anya in tow. They were
bickering loudly after being stuck in the Magic Box researching all night
together and Willow thought that they almost sounded like they were back
together again. Almost.

"It's a demon, Xander," Anya said, slamming the door behind her, "You can't
just sprinkle dust on it and wish it away."

"Personal demons are nasty things," Willow said, a little too loudly.

"Um...hi?" Xander said, looking at the man he instantly recognized as
Buffy's father. Things were going to get *really* interesting from here.


//waiting for the moon to come and light me up inside
and i am waiting for the telephone to tell me I'm alive//

The call from Giles was disturbing to Wesley Wyndom-Pryce. The other
Watcher had no way of knowing what had transpired recently. He thought that
when he came home from the hospital he would be alone. He thought he would
have plenty of time to reflect on what he had done and the choices he had
made. He was certain he would have days upon days to dwell on the angry
words that Fred had spoken to him.

But in rapid succession, he received a call from Gunn to see if he was
alive, a visit from Lilah and a call from Rupert Giles to report Angel's
arrival in Sunnydale. The demon warrior princess that had taken over the
bodies of the pair was a surprising bit of news but even more surprising was
Giles' asking for his help in the research. Almost as if he were still tied
to the Council, he found it very difficult to refuse his former almost
friend. In fact, it must have been impossible because he agreed to help.

Now he was standing in the center of his quiet apartment, caught between his
bookshelf, the computer and his phone. He needed to call the hotel and give
the group the news, but it was taking a lot longer than he planned to reach
for the phone. He cursed himself for agreeing as he sat staring at it,
wishing he could just go lie down.

He got all seven numbers in after the third try and listened to it ring.
His eyes were darkening with each second that passed and he tried to focus
on what was right. Perhaps this act would redeem him in the eyes of the
vampire he was only trying to help.

"Angel Investigations. We help the-"

"It's Wesley," he said, in his new gravelly voice, "Don't hang up, Cordelia.
I know where Angel is."

"Where?" she asked, gripping the phone anxiously in her hand.

"He's gone to Sunnydale."


"Demonic warrior princess possessed him," he answered simply.

"Thank you for telling us," she said, truly grateful.

"It's important to tell you that I am going there this evening at the
request of Giles."

"If he sees you, he'll kill you," Cordy said softly.

"I'm aware," he answered curtly, and before he hung up, he added gently,
"Goodbye, Cordelia."


//she sees shooting stars and comet tails
she's got heaven in her eyes she says i don't need to be an angel//

"Is she burning us?" Buffy asked, wiggling to get closer to his cool skin,
"I see the flames, Angel. They're orange and blue and green."

"No, baby," he answered, struggling to pull her to him, "It's inside us."

"," she groaned, pressing her forehead against the bit of
bare skin at the opening of his shirt, "Hurts."

"Can't," he answered, gritting his teeth from the pain. It felt like the
heat was burning his insides and going back in time, incinerating his whole
line of ancestors. The cruelness of the justice that was being paid to them
by the she-demon was beautiful in it's ingenuity. She wasn't going to tear
them apart, she was pushing them together, uniting them. She didn't want
them to abandon each other. She didn't even want Angel to lose his soul.
She wanted them to know true loss without the separation, only the
anticipation of it. Clinging to each other, all they had was the future and
how short lived it was going to be.

"Angel, I love you," she groaned, wishing she could crawl inside him, "I
never stopped."

"Buffy," he said back, gulping gasps of fragrant air and wishing oxygen
helped him, "I love you too. But we're not going to die."

They both knew he was lying, but neither had the strength to voice the
thought. Their bodies were shaking, forcing their previous attempts to move
to stop.


//we're so fucked up, you and me
so why'd you come home to this faithless town
where we make a lifetime commitment
to recovering the satellites//

"Alright, Mr. Giles," Hank Summers said, after navigating Giles, almost
forcefully to the kitchen, "Who *are* all these people? And don't give me
that shit about the engagement because they all look worried and scared, not
happy and excited."

"Well, well, well, here's a new face," Spike said, as he strolled in through
the kitchen door, "Who are you, mate?"

"Who are you?" Hank demanded.

"Spike, now is not really the time," Giles answered, taking off his glasses
to clean them, "This is Buffy and Dawn's father."

"Oh," Spike answered with a grin, "This should be interesting. Absentee
father coming in and poking around where he doesn't belong. Guess you're
trying to figure out what's going on, huh?"

"Spike!" Dawn said, hurrying into the room from where she had been
eavesdropping, "I need to talk to you *right now.*"

"It's okay, Nibblet," Spike said, strolling across the room to the younger
Summers' girl, "I know all about your sister and Peaches. I saw where
they're holed up and by the look of it, it's only a matter of time."

"You know where they are?" Dawn squealed. The same relief flooded over her
and Giles simultaneously. At least someone knew where they were.

"Peaches?" Hank echoed, "Someone had better explain to me what the hell is
going on here."

"Wellll," Spike started.

"Do shut up!" Giles demanded, turning on the vampire as he put his glasses
on rapidly. Spike smiled as he allowed his face to revert to the demon and
made sure Mr. Summers got a good look. He put an arm around Dawn and
strolled out of the room, "Whatever you say, mate."

"What was that?" Hank screamed, "He's touching my daughter!"

Giles shook his head and stared at the counter for a moment before sighing
and launching into a long delayed explanation.


//step out the front door like a ghost
into the fog where no one notices
the contrast of white on white.//

The Summers' household was a symphony of bickering and research as the
Scooby Core and the AI team gathered to find out how to save Buffy and
Angel. Hank Summers was wandering around the house eyeing all of the people
present, trying to figure out which of them were human and which
were...well, not human. When he finally settled into an overseeing position
at the doorway to the living room, Dawn joined him there.

"Hi Daddy," she said quietly, "Are"

"Yes, sweetheart," he answered uneasily, "I think so. I'm still reeling
from the idea that my two daughters are..."

"A vampire Slayer and an ex-ball of green energy?"


"Yes," she said, brightly, trying to add some confidence in her voice, "I
was green. Tara said I was beautiful, you know."

"I'm sure you were, honey," he answered, looking down at the young face that
he loved and truly thought of as his daughter, "Are they going to be able to
save Buffy?"

"They usually do," she said, unable to hide the tremor in her voice, "She's
already died twice, you know."

"There's a lot here that I missed," he said, looking from person to person,
"So, are most of these people, you know, normal?"

"Well, Spike's a vampire," Dawn said, pointing at the bleach blonde who was
flipping through the channels on the television, "Which I guess you already
know. Wesley's a Watcher, like Giles. Or he was, anyway."

"Are Watchers human?"

"Yeah," Dawn answered, "They're human. Willow and Tara are witches. Anya's
a vengeance demon. She was human before and then she was a demon and then
she was human again. Now she's gone back to being a demon after Xander left
her at the alter. Not everyone knows that though. But oh! Xander's human.
Gunn and Fred are human too. So's Cordelia. She just gets visions from
The Powers That Be."

"Actually," Fred said, overhearing their conversation, "Cordelia is half
demon now."

A chorus of questions followed and as the AI team began to explain, Cordy
began to float in mid air, which caused a hushed silence to sweep through
the room. The silence was quickly interrupted by Cordy's shrill scream of

"I thought they weren't painful any longer," Wesley said, looking over the
woman he used to consider a dear friend.

"They're not," Fred said, "Well, they weren't. Not before anyway."

"Spike!" Cordy screamed, looking down at that startled vampire, "You have to
go to the cave. They're dying! She's killing them!"

The ground began to shake, knocking pictures off the walls and causing the
teams to stumble around the room. Cordy floated back to the floor and
immediately fell to her knees, heaving breaths. Spike was looking down at
her in stunned silence and he pulled himself to his feet, looking around.

"I'll take you there," he said as he ran toward the door. Everyone in the
house followed. The house stood empty several minutes later, the door
hanging wide open as the ground that they ran on continued to shake and


//and in between the moon and you
the angels get a better view
of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.//

As the ground began to shake inside the cave, Buffy and Angel found that
their ability to move was returned and they helped each other to their feet.
The demon princess, whom they had never seen, spoke to them from an
unknown location and they found themselves looking up at the ceiling as if
they expected to find her there. Their friends ran into the cave but the
couple couldn't see or hear them. An invisible wall kept them from reaching
the couple, who were staring at the roof of the cave in a trance.

"The time has come," the princess said, "For your souls to pave the way to
my lover."

"NO!" They shouted back together.

"There has to be another way," Angel shouted, "You can't kill her! I won't
allow you to take her."

"You have no choice, vampire," the princess answered, "The soul you were
given was created for this purpose. You will open the gates of Hell and I
will be reunited with my mate."

"No," he said, shaking his head. He looked down at Buffy for a moment
before snatching the stake from the waistband of her pants, "You need us
both to cross and I won't let you take her."

Before Buffy could stop him, he thrust the stake into his chest, hitting the
heart with perfect accuracy. The last thing he heard was the anguished cry
of his mate as he dissipated into dust at her feet. Having put all of her
power into the spell, the Princess screamed in anguish with Buffy. As her
power weakened, the group heard the sound of her death filling the cavern
with The Slayer's. The barrier keeping them from the pair dropped as the
Princess' scream fell silent.

Buffy fell to her knees and dug her fingers into the dust that had once been
her mate, sobbing into it. They looked on in awe as she buried her face in
the dust and her body shook with the ultimate loss. Her father finally ran
across the room and attempted to scoop her into his arms but she pushed him
away, sending him staggering back several feet.

"Don't touch me!" she shouted, looking at him through the brilliant green
eyes of a woman in anguish. She remained on her knees, crying freely and
sifting his ashes through her fingers.

"Honey," he said, looking down at her with concern, "I'm sorry."

"For what?" she shouted, "Because my lover died or because you missed my
entire relationship with him?"


"Get the hell out of here," she said, "Go back to your secretary and your
life in LA. I don't want you here. I don't want you in my life."

Hank stepped forward, not willing to be pushed aside. He moved toward his
daughter again and she scrambled to her feet and pulled her arm back to
punch him. As she propelled forward to strike her father, a hand grabbed
her arm and pulled her away, spinning her around.

"Hit me instead," Spike said, "You'll regret it less, love."

She did. Immediately. She crushed her fist into his face and the gang
gasped as she kept punching him. He allowed it. He simply stood back up
each time she knocked him down until he no longer could. Finally, she sank
to her knees and beat her fists on his chest, falling back into her sobs.

He wrapped his arms around her as she cried, pressing her face against his
chest. He knew without asking or hearing her say it out loud that she
wished he had been the one to die instead.

Hank looked down at his daughter sobbing in the arms of a bloody vampire,
while crying over the death of another and found himself in deep regret. He
stared at her and then looked over at Dawn who was crying as well and had
buried her face in the comforting shoulder of Rupert Giles. It was at that
moment that he realized what he had missed out on during his absence. He
looked back and forth between his daughters and took a deep, painful breath.

"I wish I had never left my family," he said.

"Done," a voice said, and everyone turned slowly to look at the demonic
visage of Anyanka before the world disappeared and changed.

Mutual Sensations
Part Three - "The New World"


//roll a new leaf over//

Hank Summers looked around him and found that he was no longer in a cave but
in a house. It was very large and nice looking from what he could gather.
He recognized some of the things there as his belongings, his ex-wife's and
his daughters'. He wandered around, taking in his surroundings until he
wandered into the living room and found Dawn sitting in front of the

"Hi Dawn," he said, uneasily.

"Hi Daddy," she answered, "Are you ready to go?"

"Go where?" he asked, running his fingers through his graying hair. His
silent question of whether he was the only one to remember how things had
been seemed to be answered. Dawn didn't seem to be out of place here at
all. His biggest question still remained. He wasn't sure if Joyce was
alive or not.

"To Sarah's," she snapped, "We just talked about it this morning. Did you
forget already? You're not going out with that stupid secretary of yours
again, are you?"

"Dawn," he warned, unsure of why he was warning her, only that he had the
distinct feeling they had this conversation before, "I'll take you to
Sarah's. Where's Buffy?"

"Are you going senile or something?" Dawn said, gathering her overnight
bag, "You know Buffy moved to Sunnydale last weekend."

"Right," he said, taking a deep breath, "I keep forgetting she's gone."

"Oh please," Dawn said, moving towards the front door, "It's not like you're
going to miss each other. All you ever did was fight since Mom died."

"She's still my daughter," he said, following her to the door. He didn't
even know what his car looked like. And where on God's green earth was
Sarah's house?


//she looks up at the building
and says she's thinking of jumping
she says she's tired of life
she must be tired of something//

"I'm so glad Giles offered up the idea of moving to Sunnydale and helping to
protect the Hellmouth. If I had to spend one more *minute* with my father,
my Slaying might have turned to some quality patricide," Buffy said to
Willow as she began to unpack in their new place.

"Me too," Willow said brightly, "In the Fall we can start all new classes
with all new professors at UC Sunnydale."

"Oh, that," Buffy said, nodding, "Well, I guess it might be okay too. I'm
not so hip on UC Sunnydale after the whole Adam-Professor Walsh deal."

"They're gone," Willow said, "*And* Riley's here."

"Yeah," Buffy answered sadly, "And so is Angel."

"You know," Willow said, picking up a boxer cutter to slice open the next
box in the towering stack in front of her, "He asked you to stay a long time
ago and I think he's offered for you to move in with him every time you come
here to help with the newest big bad."

"Not l-last time," Buffy said shakily, feeling those old tears brimming in
the corner of her eyes. She struggled to blink them back but found them
dropping on the box in front of her instead. She knew this wasn't going to
be easy, but it just seemed more real now.

"Buff," Willow said, sitting down on the couch and moving a box for her
friend to sit. She waited until Buffy sat down beside her and then launched
into the lecture she had planned out in her head for the last few days, "If
you want to be with him, then why aren't you? You've done nothing but think
of him for the last couple of years."

"Four. Four years," she said, hiccuping, "And he's a vampire. He broke up
with me last time I left. I don't even know if he wants to be with me

"Does he know that Riley asked you out?" Willow questioned.

"No," she said, "I don't think so. This town is *way* too small for the
three of us."

"Go talk to him," Willow offered, "Does he even know you're moving here?"

"Well," Buffy said, chewing on her bottom lip, "I didn't tell him, if that's
what you mean, but I'm sure that by now, he knows."

"You'll figure it out," Willow added confidently.

"You know," Buffy said, leaning her head on her friend's shoulder, "If I
hadn't met you and Xander on my trips down here, I just don't know what I
would've done."

"I'm sure you'd be miserable," Willow joked.

"I would," Buffy answered.


//i got bones beneath my skin, and mister...
there's a skeleton in every man's house
beneath the dust and love and sweat that hangs on everybody
there's a dead man trying to get out//

Angel woke up screaming. When he opened his eyes, he looked around the room
in confusion. This wasn't dead. This was undead. Again. He jumped out of
bed, pulled on a pair of pants rapidly and ran out into the great room of
the mansion.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Cordelia asked, looking up from a desk in
the corner of the room. Her hair was long and dark like it had been before,
falling in silky waves over her shoulders and down her back. Flashes of
memories, feelings, things that once were went through his mind. That long
dark hair was only the first indication that something was really, really

"Okay," Angel said, trying to get his bearings, "Do you live here?"

"Uh, no," she said, standing up and walking over. He found himself staring
at her jeans as if they had an answer for why he was not a pile of ashes.
When his gaze made it up to her belly, he saw it was rounded and full,
"Angel, did something happen last night?"

"Happen? Oh my God, you're pregnant."

"Yes," Cordy answered, "I'm pregnant. Okay, first you found out Buffy's
moving here last night, then you got all weird and went on patrol. And now
you're all weird this morning."

"Buffy," he gasped, "She's okay? Did I save her?"

"From her own selfish pride?" Cordy snapped and perched on the back of the
sofa, "What are you talking about? Did you hit your head or something?"

"Yes," Angel said, nodding, "I hit it. Hard. So, I have one more

"Alright," she said, hesitantly.

"Is my, well, what I want to know it permanent?"

"It's permanent, Angel. Aren't most souls?" she answered and then looked
over him with concern, "Do you remember anything?"

He shook his head, "I'm missing a lot of details. Like, who's the father of
your baby?"

"You've got to be kidding me!"

"No," he said, shaking his head. Glancing down, he saw dark, purple bruises
covering his torso. He looked thin and ragged as if he hadn't fed in a long
time. He looked back up at Cordy with a grimace, "And what happened to me?
Was I starved and beaten or something?"

"Doyle," she said, "Doyle is the father of my child. And who knows what
happened to you? I certainly don't, but you've hardly fed since the last
time the little Slayer left town and I'm thinking that you are trying to
kill yourself."


"Do you remember D-"

"Doyle's alive?" he asked, rushing across the room to grip her shoulders.

"I'm alive. What's with the freaking out?" Doyle said, strolling into the
room with coffee and donuts. Angel released the dark haired, pregnant
ex-cheerleader and whipped around to look into the bright and very much
alive blue eyes of his Irish friend. The half-demon smiled and added, "My
little wife there broke the coffee pot this mornin'. I'm sure she didn't
bother to tell ya. I brought you a cup."

Angel stood there in shock and then a smile covered his face. Doyle looked
over at Cordy who looked just as confused as he felt. He walked over and
held out a paper cup of coffee to Angel, "Did I miss something?"


//you know i'm doing all right these days
the devil's in the dreamin'
you see yourself descending//

"Anyanka," D'Hoffryn said, appearing in her apartment in Sunnydale.

"You frightened me," she said, turning to face him with her human face
intact. She still wasn't sure if she had made the right decision to become
a vengeance demon again, but this new world had a thousand possibilities.
She had another chance with Xander. Maybe she could make it work this time.

"Yes. I thought I might," he said with a shrug of his cloaked shoulders, "I
came to tell you, in light of your return to the fold, that the souled
vampire remembers. We don't want a replay of the last time you lost your
power center."

"He remembers? How could he?" she answered, "Mr. Summers should remember
but not anyone else!"

"He was caught in the aether between life and death when the wish was made,"
D'Hoffryn answered, "This rarely happens. Anyway, I think you should be
on your guard."

"Thank you, D'Hoffryn," Anya answered, "I appreciate you telling me."

"So curt, Anyanka," he said, looking over the coldness in her eyes. He had
seen it often lately and was beginning to be concerned about his prodigal
child, "You aren't rethinking your decision to return to me, are you?"

"Of course not," she said, nearly shouting, "I'm just adjusting here. I was
left at the alter a couple of weeks ago, you know."

"Not in this world," he answered before disappearing. Anya sat back down on
her chair and slumped over the kitchen table. Xander was somewhere in this
world and it would take very little effort on her part to find him. The
only question was, if she returned to her lover, would he leave her again?


//all of the sudden she disappears
just yesterday she was here
somebody tell me if i am sleeping
someone should be with me here
cause i don't wanna be alone//

Forest walked through The Initiative with Riley and Graham. He was supposed
to focusing on the newest HST running loose through Sunnydale, but he
couldn't focus on Finn's words because the man was grinning like an idiot.
He half expected him to start skipping down the hallway.

"Okay, you're distracting the hell of me, man," Forest said, interrupting
his superior officer and friend.

"What do you mean?" Riley said with a twinkle in his eyes.

"The overly happy thing," Graham said.

"Ever since Buffy called and said she was moving to Sunnydale, you've been
drooling on everyone's combat boots," Forest added with a grin that was not
nearly as blinding as his friend's.

"Sorry. I'm trying to quit," Riley answered and attempted to straighten the
smile from his face, but it just kept returning, "It's just that she's here.
Right now. Unpacking her apartment and we have a date tonight."

"Not to crash the party," Graham said grimly, "But you know her ex-boyfriend
is living in this town too."

"So?" Riley replied, "She said he broke up with her and it's over. Why
should I worry about some random guy?"

"No reason," Graham said, "Just reminding you, Ri. She seemed pretty crazy
about whoever he was."

"Not anymore," Riley said, keeping his smile and straightening his shoulders
proudly , "She's going out with me now, not him."

"Right," Forest said, remembering, probably in unison with Graham, the look
on the girl's face when she mentioned the elusive "Angel" before. Whatever
that man did to her, he's still walking around with her heart on the sole of
his shoe. They both were fairly certain that their friend was going to
suffer much the same fate.


//i wanna be the light that burns out your eyes
`cause i know there's little things about me
that would sing in the silence of so much rejection
in every connection i make//

Angel couldn't believe how easy it was to find Buffy and Willow's new place.
What were the odds that in this new world, or whatever it was, that they
would be renting the house on Revello Drive that Buffy had always lived in
before? He climbed that old familiar tree and perched outside of her window
as he had done a thousand times before.

He watched her with only a shred of guilt as she stood in front of her
closet in a pair of panties and bra, looking for something to wear. He
wondered how many times she had done that for him in the past, in this world
and in the last. He wished to God he could remember why they weren't
together here, if they had broken up for the same reason. Did she love him
in this world? A part of him didn't want to know the answer to that
question. Another part of him want to sit and brood as he drew out the
reasons she could have left him to go back to LA.

He leaned away from the window as Willow came bounding into the room in her
normal bright, cheery way. Buffy wasn't reflecting nearly as much light as
her redheaded counterpart. In fact, she looked sad and depressed.

"Buffy," Willow said excitedly, "Riley's going to be here in 20 minutes to
pick you up and you aren't even dressed yet!"

"Thanks, Will," Buffy said, sitting on the edge of her bed and staring at
the open closet, "I noticed."

"Hey," Willow said, sitting next to her best friend and new roommate, "I
thought you were going to *try*."

"I am," Buffy said, still drenched in her depression, "This is me trying."

"Have you even spoken to Angel yet?" Willow asked and outside the window,
Angel leaned back in, as if he needed the extra three inches of closeness to
eavesdrop effectively.

"No," Buffy answered and began tearing up again, "I don't know what to say.
What if he doesn't love me anymore? What if he never did?"

"He does," Angel said, making his presence known as he swooped gracefully
through the window and landed lightly just inside the room.

"Hi Angel," Willow said, standing and backing out of the room, "And, uh,

"Hi Willow," Angel answered as Buffy stood and faced off with her ex-lover
with her hands on her hips. He half expected her to dive to the closet for
clothes, but she didn't. She just burned a glare into him that made the
elements around him appear to blur.

"Buffy," he said quietly, "I need to talk to you."

"How is it that you've lived for how many hundreds of years and you never
learned the fine art of knocking?"

"Look," he said, running a hand through his hair, "I woke up this morning
and I...I can't remember anything. I don't know what happened between us.
The only thing I'm sure of at this point is that I love you. I've always
loved you."

"You have amnesia or something?" she asked, softening her tone slightly.
She had to admit that he looked more haggard, unkempt and sickly than she
had ever seen him. Even though he looked like total shit for Angel
standards, he still made her blood pressure rise and she was suddenly very
aware of how naked she was. She thought about getting clothes, but couldn't
seem to nudge herself into motion.

"Not really," Angel said, leaning against the windowsill in an attempt to
keep himself from touching her. Knowing that he could without the normal
consequences was almost too much to bear, "It's like I went to sleep in one
dimension and woke up in another."

"And in the other dimension...were we..."

"I think I've loved you in every dimension," he said softly, "I loved you in
Hell, Buffy. I don't know what happened here, but I want to make it right."

"I have a date," she said, feeling the tears reappearing.

"Riley Finn," he said with a unmasked growl.

"Yes," she said, "How did you know?"

"You dated him in the other dimension," he said and then added shamefully,
"After I left you."

"You broke up with me in the other dimension too?" she asked angrily.

"Yes," he answered sheepishly, "I'm an ass in all dimensions too. Can we

"I have a date," she repeated, and finally headed for her closet. She
flipped through the hanging clothes and felt his eyes digging into her.

"You mentioned that. I don't know why I left you, Buffy. Probably
something about my soul and children and sunlight. But my soul is permanent
now and I..."

"Your soul's always been permanent," she said, pulling a dress from the
hanger and turning to face him questioningly.

"I never lost my soul?" he asked.

"No," she said.

"I never turned evil?"


"Then why did I leave you?"

"You said you didn't love me," she said, biting into her inner jaw to keep
from crying.

"I lied," he said with a deadly serious look on his face.

"I'm not so sure," she answered, allowing the tears to fall freely.

"I love you, Buffy," he said crossing the room and pulling her into his
arms, "I love you. I swear I do."

She allowed him to hold her for a few moments and relished in the feel of
his arms around her again. It felt so perfect and that's the reason she
also thought it couldn't possibly be true. It was too perfect.

"I have to go," she said, pulling away and slipping into the now wrinkled
dress she'd been holding. She slipped into the first pair of shoes she
could find, which didn't match her dress.

"Buffy, isn't there a way we can talk about this?"

"I don't know," she said, heading toward the door and avoiding the mirror
and the look in his beautiful brown eyes, "Not now."

Buffy left the room and closed the door behind her and Angel stayed there,
leaning against the window as she headed out the front door with another

AN4: I made Angel's soul permanent in the wishverse world as you all can
see. I didn't want to think of a new way and/or reason for it to happen.
If you think I'm lazy and unimaginative because of that...well, that's cool
with me actually. *G* Hope you liked this section!


Part Four

"Missing Something"


//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


"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 awhile 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

"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," 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

"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

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

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

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

"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

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


//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

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

"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

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

"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

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

"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

"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

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

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

"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

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

"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

"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

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

"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."

"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

"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

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

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

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 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.


Part Seven
"Needing More"


//pull me out from the inside
i am ready, i am ready, i am ready
i am
taffy stuck, tongue tied,
stuttered, shook and uptight
pull me out from inside
i am ready, i am ready, i am ready
i am...//

Buffy ran full speed after the two vampires that had attacked her. They
were two out of five that had survived the initial attack. When their
friends were dusted, they decided to make a run for it, realizing that
jumping a Slayer wasn't their brightest plan to date. She was feeling
particularly energetic from the sexual frustration she had built up over the
last couple of days of being around Angel. She chased them down and caught
them when they trapped themselves at the wrought iron gate in the corner of
the cemetery. Stupid fledglings had enough brain power between them to run
along the gate together, but they paused too long and it was enough of a
time gainer for her to catch them.

She dispatched them quickly and turned on the new comer that was behind her.
She turned and swung, feeling air as her hand grazed the top of his hair.

"Getting slower, Slayer?" he asked, smiling crookedly. His smile stuck as
he parried her next blow and sidestepped as her toned leg lashed out to
connect with the firm torso that was no longer there.

"Shouldn't you be changing diapers, vampire?" she asked, smiling at him and
leaning back as he reached out to grab her. She flipped over the gravestone
she knew was behind her, landing solidly on the other side of it.

"Tricky, baby," he said, leaping over it and landing a few inches from her.
He reached out and grabbed her hips, jutting them roughly against his and
allowing her to feel the arousal that waited eagerly for her warm touch.
She pressed against him for a moment, grinding her hips and then with a
twist, she was out of his arms. Leaping over headstones like she was on a
track field, she heard him following closely behind her. She always
wondered how he was able to make such little sound and how his large body
moved in a graceful prowl that other vampires couldn't seemed to master.

He caught up quickly and Buffy wasn't entirely sure if he was faster or if
she actually let him. It didn't matter because she wanted him to catch her.
He pulled her arm roughly and pushed her against the stone nearest them,
sending her back several feet.

"No more running, love," he grunted hoarsely as he captured her lips,
plunging his tongue in and swallowing the gasps of breath she was releasing
into him.

"It's better when you have to work for it," she said with a smirk, reaching
between them to grip his cock through his pants, "How do you run in this

"Why do you think it took so long to catch up with you?" he asked, pulling
the front of her shirt down to release her braless breasts. He swore she
didn't wear a bra just to torment him. He dismissed the thought and lowered
his head to bite at her nipples, swirling his tongue to ease the burn of his
bite. Her body warmed to his cool touch and when she moaned, he felt her
skin reverberating beneath his lips.

He turned her suddenly, bending her over the grave marker and pulling her
pants down swiftly in the process. He scanned the area before him for
onlookers and happily found none. She pushed against him as he moved his
hand over the silky skin of her ass and between her legs to feel the wetness
waiting for him.

"Now," she panted, gripping the edge of the cement, "Inside Angel. Now."

He nearly ripped the button off of the top of his pants as he freed his cock
and entered her from behind. His large hands moved to cover her bare
breasts, anchoring him to his lover as he thrust inside her. The need and
want splattering around them seemed to dance in the air, creating raucous
tramping lust to bleed into the ground, stirring the remains of the dead.

She pressed back against him as suckled his mark on her neck, digging his
blunt teeth into her skin just hard enough to leave the flesh unbroken. She
panted as his groans of pleasure muffled against her neck. He slipped a
hand down between her legs, tracing her clit for a moment before applying
pressure to the sensitive spot. Moments later, she came, throwing her head
back and landing against his broad shoulder as he moved inside her flexing

When he finally release his cold seed inside her, she nearly cried. The
consummation of the next phase of their relationship finally had been
completed. She felt like it was real at last. She leaned against the
gravestone, catching her breath and she felt him gently tugging her top back
up to cover her breasts. He reached down and pulled her pants back up,
kissing her neck as he attempted to fasten them again, finding that he had
torn them so much in his urgency that they couldn't be zipped up.

"Sorry," he said with an unapologetic smile as she turned to face him. She
hopped up to sit on the top of the gravestone and smiled back at him, "I
guess I got carried away. I really meant to take you home and make love to
you, not attack you in the cemetery."

"There's always time for both," she said as he stepped between her legs to
except the kiss that was waiting on her lips.

"I love you," he whispered, pulling her in more tightly.


//she lies beside me naked//

The biggest problem with Doyle's aching head was not that he'd just had a
vision, it was that he'd just had a vision after having his head pounded
into Angel's marble floor by the Darla. He sat up in bed and Cordelia
stirred in her sleep. He shuffled to the kitchen, poured himself a stiff
drink and headed back the bedroom to call Angel and warn him of his vision.

His whole body was sore from his fight to the death with the pregnant
vampiress. He now remembered why he wanted the visions instead of Angel and
Buffy's jobs. Cordy snuggled closer to his side of the bed, murmuring in
her sleep. She looked like a cherub with her hair splayed across the pillow
in that tousled way and her belly rounding the covers. He smiled as the
phone rang unanswered at the mansion. When he saw her sleeping with that
kind of peace, there really didn't seem to be much danger in the world. It
was almost as if the visions, the fights, the apocalypses were all false and
the only thing that was true was his wife and his unborn child.

He hung up the phone after about 12 rings, cursing Angel for never setting
up the answering machine. Cordy was going to do it, but his princess was so
easily distracted. He bent over and kissed her forehead before slipping on
his clothes and shoes. He checked in the nursery and found Connor sleeping
soundly. He looked down at him anticipating his own child lying in that bed
soon. Whistling a happy tune despite his pounding headache and the oncoming
danger, he headed off across town to his boss' home.


//i dream of Michelangelo when i'm lying in my bed
little angels hang above my head and read me like an open book
suck my blood, break my nerve, offer me their arms//

Drusilla was trapped inside that cell made up of scientific white tiles.
She could feel the sterile science seeping through the walls and piercing
her dark thoughts. That wasn't the worst of it. Being separated from Spike
wasn't even the worst of it. The anger, frustration and fear of the demons
beating against her brain was the worst. Her mate screamed for release with
the rest of them but he was the loudest, the most urgent, the most angry.

He yearned for the blood of The Slayer almost more than he longed to be in
her arms again. He wanted to see his Sire on his knees begging for mercy
before he was destroyed. Spike was furious and his rage was drowning out
any visions that Drusilla might have had or any mental searchings for
another escape.

A human guard was approaching. She heard his uniform footsteps coming down
the hallway toward her cell. She neared the window and leaned in as far as
she could, looking for him.

"Hello," she said, smoothing a hand over her the red velvet that covered her

"Hi there," he answered, stepping toward the glass with interest. Vampires
were disgusting beasts to him, but a beautiful woman was a beautiful woman,
undead or not. His hormones got best of him as her pale hand moved up her
body. He followed it until he was looking into her eyes.

"Be in me," she whispered as she began to sway back and forth.


//all dressed up
no place to go//

Spike paced in his cell, circling around the bag of blood that lay taunting
him in the middle of the floor. The longer he looked at it, the more he was
convinced that it was drugged and more his rage grew. How long would he be
in this fucking place staring at blood that he wasn't allowed to drink?
Only timing had saved him from getting a chip in his noggin like the poor
sod in the next room. Drusilla and Darla had been spared only because with
Darla pregnant and vicious they hadn't been able to get into the room.
Darla had fed off Dru for the most part, stealing her blood. He knew she
was still weak and he wondered how she was doing, if she was okay. They
separated the males and the females in this bloody place like it was a
dormitory. The least they could do was give him his mate if he was going to
be trapped here.

This whole thing was Angel and Buffy's fault. They had left him and Dru
here like caged animals. Did they really think that these lab rats would be
able to keep them here? Not bloody likely. They escaped before and they
would again. He couldn't wait to sink his teeth in the next passing human
on his way to kill The Slayer and his nancy boy Sire. He had had enough of
tip toeing around the ponce. He would take him off this hellish planet
after he forced him to watch the death of his precious Rebecca of Sunnyhell.

A familiar clicking sound was coming down the hallway and after a few
moments, it was distracting enough to take him to the glass wall separating
him from the freedom he so desperately wanted. The sound was a waltz, it
was the gait of his lover. When he realized she had escaped using her
parlor room trance and he wanted to jump up and down with glee.

Drusilla smiled at him as she pressed the release for the door and excepted
his kiss as he stepped out of his prison and into her arms.

"Thank you, pet," he said, kissing her again. They had so little time apart
and yet he felt like he was starving for her. She looked paler than usual,
even though the warmth of her skin betrayed that she had eaten the poor
idiot that had set her free. She needed to feed again. He wanted nothing
more than to hand her The Slayer on a platter and feed her the delicious
blood inside the girl's veins.


//you try to tell yourself the things you try to tell yourself
to make yourself forget
to make yourself forget//

Riley, Forrest and Graham decided to take a random patrol that night. They
were not under orders to patrol. In fact, the area had already been covered
by another group of men earlier in the evening, but Riley was restless and
his friends were reluctant to leave him alone when he was fretting over The
Slayer and her vampire ex.

Their commander, who had taken over the complex after Professor Walsh
unfortunate demise, was very interested in the child to be born to the
female vampire that they had in containment until the mishap the other
night. The whole compound was under orders to recapture the she-demon and
her spawn as soon as possible. But Riley didn't care about the blonde
vampire or her child. All he cared about was the blur of slender muscle and
blonde hair that just breezed past them in the cemetery.

If they had blinked they would have missed her chasing two vampires through
the graveyard. The only sound was the vampires' big pounding feet. The
Slayer was nearly silent as she chased them. The three commandos fell in,
following the chase and keeping their eyes peeled in case the undead had
friends. By the time they reached her, she had already dusted them and was
fighting another vampire. Angel.

Riley started to step forward to protect his girl at any costs, but Forrest
placed a restraining hand on his chest. Riley looked over at him angrily
and started to speak when Forrest said, "It's foreplay. Look at them. He's
not trying to hurt her, he's try to screw her."

"Maybe you should stop talking to me," Riley snapped as Buffy took off
through the graveyard closely followed by the dark vampire.

"Wake up, Ri," Graham said as Riley shrugged off Forrest and started to
follow the pair, "She doesn't look like she's over him."

"No," Riley said, his face reddening as he spoke, "She looks like she's
being controlled by him. I'm not letting them out of my sight."

Riley caught up and ducked behind a large gravestone just in time to see
Angel turn her around giving him a perfect view of her bare breasts. The
vampire bent her over a gravestone, smoothing his hands over the exposed
breasts and pinching her nipples. Riley's heart rose to his throat as the
vampire roughly pulled her pants down, unzipped his own and entered her from
behind. Her blonde hair streamed down her back as she moved against him,
practically purring from his forceful thrusts. When the vampire moved to
her throat, he stood and began walking in that direction, only to be pulled
back by his two friends.

"He's going to bite her!" Riley exclaimed as quietly as he could. His
friends shook their heads at his hopeless love for the girl.

"More like a love bite," Forrest said, focusing on her breasts rising and
falling with her movements. Riley stepped between his friends and their
view of his love, blocking her nakedness.

It took several long moments for them to tear him away from the graveyard.
They dragged him to the nearest bar and fed him liquor, telling him how evil
and untrustworthy women were. As they were speaking, Riley Finn was only
thinking one thing: that bastard had to be taken from the picture. Buffy
was very obviously in an unhealthy relationship that was going to get her
hurt. And he would do anything to keep her from being hurt.


//if there's anyone at home at your place, darling
why don't you invite me in?
don't try to bleed me
i've been there before//

Doyle couldn't sense vampires. Brachen demons never really had that
ability. But he could sense when something was very seriously wrong and it
wasn't just because he had a vision only a half hour before. When he walked
into the mansion, he immediately knew that something was wrong. Someone was
there and it wasn't Buffy and Angel.

"Well, well," Spike said, stepping out from the shadows, "I was looking for
Angel and The Slayer, but here you are instead."

"He's a demon," Drusilla said, clutching Spike's arm, "We can't even eat

"This isn't right," Doyle said nervously as he backed toward the door, "The
vision was not of me being caught by you. It was Buffy and Angel in danger,
not me."

"The Powers That Be," Spike said with a grin, "Are interesting bastards.
They don't show everything, do they, love?"

"Naughty higher powers," she said, walking closer to Doyle, "They twist
things, make them fuzzy, but I understand."

"Understand what?" Doyle said, choking out his words.

"Why we need you, mate," Spike said, as he crossed the room more quickly
than Doyle was expecting. The rush of speed wasn't needed to capture the
frozen half-demon, but it was effective. Seconds later he was lying on the
floor with the vampire pair looking down on him.


Part Eight


//all the anger and the eloquence are bleeding into fear
moonlight creeping around//

Doyle wished he had stayed in bed with his wife instead of trying to warn
Angel about the danger at hand, mostly because his vision was nothing
compared to what was happening to him now. He had a rope around each wrist
and ankle. At the end of each rope was a minion, pulling his section of
braided cord, in an attempt to cause as much pain as possible. He wasn't
sure if they were actually trying to pull his limbs from his torso or not.
Either way, his demon had emerged and the blue spikes were standing out from
his face, pulling his skin painfully.

Francis Doyle never really understood why the angrier he got or the more
pain he was in, the more the emergence of his demon ached. It started at
the base of each spike and shot out through his body, replacing pain with
anger in short, jabbing strokes. Right now he was in pain and he was angry
and the half Brachen demon inside him refused to go away.

"Spike," Drusilla said, standing over Doyle with a smile, "He's pointy all
over. The demon hurts him...just like we're hurting him."

"That's great, pet," Spike answered, grinning. From the moment he became a
demon he was obsessed with the blood and violence that came with the path he
was on. Angelus worshiped artfully crafted kills and carefully executed
torture. William the Bloody thought that took too fucking long. He looked
down on the half breed stretched across the floor, screaming in pain as the
minions pulled him a little tighter each second he refused to talk. Now
that, that was a good time! Immediate and to the point, just like he liked

"Let's try again," Spike said, strutting back and forth in front of his
victim, "Where's the brat?"

"Why do you even want the kid?" Doyle asked through gritted teeth, "He's
just a baby."

"He's the spawn of two vampires, moron," Spike answered, "And the legendary
Destroyer in a prophecy that says we're all gonna be the fertilizer for his
garden. You think we're just going to let him kill us? Where's the little
fucker already? I'm bored."

"I'm never gonna tell you where to find Angel's son," Doyle answered,
gasping in pain in between each word.

"That's a shame," he said, smiling in such a way that Doyle knew he wasn't
sorry at all, "Guess we'll have to try harder to convince you. Boys?"

The minions pulled back, tightening the tension on the rope just a fraction.
They wanted to make sure he wasn't dismembered until they got the
information they wanted.


//i just light myself on fire
and i walk out on the wire once again//

Angel's kisses were addictive and the longer they continued, the more heated
they became. At that rate, they weren't going to get home at all that
night. He had just dressed her, only to undress her again. Her ruined
pants lay on the grass, left next to where they laid intertwined in the

"We really should go," he said, resting his head on his elbow to look down
at where she looked flushed, pleased and beautiful, lying on the soft

"Yeah, we should probably get your son from Cordelia and Doyle before they
corrupt him too much," she agreed, but making no move to leave her lover.
She scooted closer and kissed the arm that supported his head. He smoothed
a hand over her side appreciatively.

"He's not even a month old, love," he said, "I don't think they can corrupt
him too much. He's safe there."

"Cordelia could corrupt amoeba," Buffy snorted as she stood and began to
dress for the second time that evening.

"You two are going to have to get along sometime," he said, standing as well
and straightening his own clothes.

"Not really," she said, flashing him a bright smile, "I am civil to the
infamous Queen C. You can't ask anything more from me."

"Really?" he asked with mock disappointment, "I thought you two would grow
to be such great friends that when you're little old ladies you'd be
knitting side by side in the nursing home."

"I won't be in a nursing home," Buffy said confidently, "If I live to be an
old lady, I'll have my young-looking vampire lover to wait on me hand and

"I see," he said, nodding with a smile.

Buffy and Angel walked toward the mansion hand in hand. She needed to
change into new pants, since he had ripped them so efficiently during their
bout in the graveyard. She snuck a glance over to him as they walked,
wondering what he was thinking, wondering if he was going to leave again.

She was more than overjoyed that they were back together, but the past few
days had been overwhelming. Seeing Angel again, getting back together with
him, the birth of his son, having sex with him was all too much
to swallow. Even though she had been joking earlier, she really was fishing
for a reaction. She wanted him to tell her he would be there when she was
an old lady. She wanted to be sure.

"Are you okay?" Angel asked after a few minutes, feeling a bit strange about
Buffy's uncharacteristic silence.

"Yeah," she said, nodding uncertainly.


"No," she answered, "I was just thinking. We were so happy before.
Everything was perfect and then you just snapped. You left me with no
explanation except that you didn't love me and then you started setting your
demon children on fire. How long before that happens again? How long
before you leave me again?"

"A second ago you were talking about me being with you when you were an old
lady, now you're not sure? Buffy, I'm not leaving you again," he said,
dropping her hand and turning to face her, "I know you don't understand what
happened to me. If I could remember, I would be explaining it right now.
But I don't and I can't. All I can tell you is that I love you and I'm not
going any-"

Buffy screamed and dropped to her knees as Angel fell to the ground, shaking
from the voltage of a bright electric shock coming from the bushes. She
hovered over him and looked to the shadows for the attacker, clutching
Angel's arm as his demon appeared and a loud growl sounded from deep in his


//all these wasted dreams
just waiting for the sun to open up my heart to anyone
bring me some rain
because i'm dying and i can't get this damn thing closed again//

The evening was a paradox for Riley and his friends. The first problem was
that Agent Finn was a few whiskey straights away from being in his right
mind, but drunk or not he was still the commander of several of The
Initiative's teams. Forrest and Graham tried to talk him out his irrational
behavior, but after the sight of Buffy bent over that gravestone spreading
for her demonic lover and the alcohol he had consumed, there was no talking
him out of it. As lower ranking soldiers, they were forced to comply.

Two teams suited up and were armed with weapons as they headed out into the
night. Their commands were simple. Take out the vampire known as Angelus,
seen earlier chasing The Slayer through Restfield Cemetery. He left out the
part about Angel having a soul and his relationship with Buffy. It was
privileged information and entirely unnecessary for them to carry out their

Riley, Forrest and Graham headed to the east side of the graveyard, near
where the couple where last seen. They walked slowly, scanning the area in
front of them for the pair. He couldn't believe his eyes when they were
still on the property, near the edge.

"Fire," he said in a low even voice.

"Riley," Forrest interrupted, placing a hand on the barrel of his friend's
weapon, "You do realize that Buffy just got him out of our complex. If we
take him, if she even lets us take him, she's just going to come back for

"She won't get him back this time," Riley said, jerking his gun away from
his friend's hand and aiming again.

"You can't be sure of that, man," Graham said, stepping closer.

"Yes, I can," Riley said, "First, we separate them, then we stake him. This
isn't a capture, boys, this is a kill."

Aiming again, he fired and watched with gleeful pleasure as the vampire fell
to the ground, writhing from the bolt of power racing through his body. He
fired again as Buffy screamed, standing up and looking around her for her
attackers. She spotted Riley and his two friends across the field and
started to run toward them but stopped. Instead, she grabbed Angel and
pulled him to his unsteady feet.

"Come on," she urged, wrapping his arm around her shoulders, "We have to

"Buffy," Angel groaned, lifting his feet unevenly as he tried to keep up
with her pace, "It's your boyfriend."

"He's not my boyfriend," Buffy shouted as she pulled him with her, "Come on,
damn it. Run!"

"All agents," Riley said into his walkie as he paged his teams, "Suspects
sighted on the East side of Restfield Cemetery. They are traveling
south-southeast through the woods. Initiative has accelerated to a kill,
not a capture. Repeat. The vampire is to be taken out and the Slayer is
not to be harmed."

On the other side of the cemetery, the teams heard the command through the
crackling waves. His voice came in and out but they all heard him clearly
say, "Suspects sighted on the East side of Restfield Cemetery. They are
traveling south-southeast through the woods. Initiative has accelerated to
a kill, not a capture. Repeat. The vampire is to be taken out and the

Looking at each other in surprise, they turned in the direction indicated
and prepared to take out not one of them, but both of them.


//this lonely spiral i've been in//

When the phone rang, Willow grumbled under her breath. She wanted nothing
more than to make the telephone disappear and pretend she had never heard
it. Actually, she had just the spell to do that, but fearing the danger
that was always floating around the Hellmouth she moved away from her
lover's side to pick up the extension.

"Hello?" she asked, sleepily, not bothering to try to disguise her yawn.

"Willow, it's Cordy. Is Buffy there?"

"Dunno," Willow said, standing up and shuffling down the hall, "I'll go
check. What's the emergency?"

"Doyle never came home," Cordelia said, sounding as if she were near
bursting into tears, "There's no answer at Angel's and I can't leave because
of the baby. I've got a really bad feeling. He didn't call. He always

"Buffy's not here," Willow said, leaning tiredly against the doorframe,
"Wait. She is now."

The sound of the front door crashing open and slamming against the wall
downstairs alerted Willow of her roommate's return and she moved toward the
stairway. She glanced over her shoulder to see Tara standing behind her,
mouthing the words, "What's wrong?"

Willow shrugged in response and went to the top of the stairs, calling out,
"Buffy? Is that you?" as she made her way down them.

"It's me, Will!" Buffy called back, helping Angel onto the couch. Willow
woke up completely when she saw Angel shaking slightly, looking paler than

"Cordy's on the phone," Willow said, handed the cordless to her friend, "She
says Doyle's missing."


//you got a piece of me
but it's just a little piece of me
and i don't need anyone//

Forrest and Graham ran along with their friend. As they followed the couple
to Buffy's rented house on Revello drive, he alerted his teams of the
destination without missing a pace.

"Riley!" Forrest shouted, as they arrived to her house out of breath from
the jog, "You can't go into a civilian's house to capture an HST. Even if
you have a crush on the girl, you know there's no threat here. The vamp is
defanged with a soul and you know it."

"I don't know anything about that," Riley lied, giving his friend a dark,
liquor enhanced glare, "And neither do you."

He headed up the stairs, taking two at a time and kicked in her door,
followed by his two friends and the teams that had just arrived at the
doorstep. He stopped just inside the foyer, as he faced not a vampire and a
Slayer, but Willow and Tara, standing tiredly in pajamas and holding hands.

"Step aside, ladies," Riley ordered, "This is official government business."

Holding up their clasped hands, they looked intently at the teams of
uniformed men in front of them. Riley stepped forward, wrinkling his brow
in confusion even as he flew back out of the door and onto the lawn,
slamming into the bodies of his men, who began flying back as well, knocked
into the grass from some unseen power coming from the pair of witches.

Riley shook his head and began to stand up. He found himself tossed to the
ground again, his body pressing into the ground. He glanced back up at the
porch where the witches now stood and next to them was the vampire and The
Slayer, both looking tired and angry.

"You're not welcome here," Buffy said, angrily, "In fact, I wish you didn't
even know that I exist."

"Buffy, I'm just trying-"

"I know what you're trying to do!" she shouted, placing a hand on Willow's
shoulder for support and feeling Angel's arm wrap around her waist, "Leave
here and don't come back!"

"Buffy," Riley said, struggling to his feet again.

"Willow," Buffy whispered, giving the okay that her redheaded friend was
waiting for. Gathering the energy from all four of them together, connected
physically and concentrating mentally, Tara and Willow began to chant in

"What are you doing?" Riley asked, feeling a force of energy wrapping around
him. It was suffocating and bright, although it had no color, no taste and
no smell. He gasped for breath and heard his friends doing the same.
Stumbling back, he looked around him where the grass itself seemed to sway
and the trees bent over to take a closer look. The stars blurred in the
sky, zipping around like drugged falling stars.

He fell back and laid in the grass as the chanting continued, staring at
those bursts of bright gases above him. The longer he laid there, the more
the voices seemed to fade into the atmosphere until he could no longer hear
them. The screaming soundless air, pounded at his face, pressing him
against the ground. He felt the barrier keeping him on earth and yet he
felt like he was falling, those stars shifting away from him, abandoning
him. He closed his eyes to escape but he knew he was still falling,
slipping away from consciousness.

Hours later when he would awake, he and his team would head home, having no
idea why they were there and who Buffy or Angel were.


Part Nine


//anyway, this change i've been feeling
doesn't make the rain fall
no big difference these days
just the same old walkways
someday, i'm going to stay, but not today...//

Doyle was sure he was dying. The blood of his human half, mixed with the
demon he had carried with him since birth was staining the filthy floor of
the factory. It dripped from his ankles and wrists, seeping into the ropes
that bound him. He never really had a lot of regard for his life before he
met Angel and Cordelia. Sure, he still liked to have a drink from time or
time, or actually every day, but who's counting? Now, he cared about what
he did with his life. He wanted to live to see his wife give birth to their
child. He wanted to see his son or daughter grow up and love the world the
way Cordy did. All the things he wished he had said to her, all the times
he couldn't have said "I love you" just one more time seemed gone forever.
He was going to die here, his body torn apart by demons who were more scared
of a child than anything else.

"One more time," Spike said, kicking Doyle in the side and enjoying his
grunt of pain as the ropes stretched a little further, "If you want to keep
your body in one piece you'll tell us where Angel's brat is!"

"Why don't you ask me yourself, Spikey?" Angel said, strolling into the
factory with Buffy, Willow and Tara by his side, "I know we've gotten off on
the wrong foot lately, but you coulda called me buddy. What's a little fire
between family?"

"My Angel," Drusilla said, taking Spike's hand and stepping away, "You've
found us already."

"Had a little help, Dru," Angel said, twisting into the cold smile of his
former demon, "And you know how I hate to ask for help. That's gonna cost

Angel dashed toward his children while Buffy moved toward the minions, who
had let the ropes drop. Doyle groaned in pain as he crashed down the few
inches separating him from the floor. The four minions, as well as the
three others standing around the room, rushed the four intruders. Willow
and Tara knocked them away with magick as they rushed over to untie Doyle's
hands and feet.

Spike and Dru made it to the door as Angel screamed for them to stop,
staking the undead bodies standing in his way. He knew from what Cordelia
and Doyle had told him that he had torched Darla and Drusilla just as he had
in the other world, but here, Spike had gotten a dose of the flame as well.
A piece of Angel was overjoyed by that idea, even if this Spike hadn't slept
with his girl. His biggest regret in both worlds was that he didn't take
them all out when he had the chance.
Why would he hesitate? Was it because in some twisted part of his mind he
still thought of them as family?

His Sire and the children that resulted from his demon half were immortal
creations, carrying his blood through decades and centuries. They were
Angelus' evil works of art, nursing his memories, knowing his lusts. He
hadn't wanted to destroy them then, even if he wouldn't have admitted that
to anyone else. Now that they were after his son, along with half of the
rest of the world, he had to end it. All the killing, all the torture, all
the years of blood that washed down their throats was his fault. He had to
make them stop destroying life. It was interesting how creating a life
could make everything light up in a completely different way.

He plunged his stake into the vamp in front of him and cast a glance at his
love as she did the same. The remaining minions were just enough of a
hindrance for Spike and Drusilla to escape. He heard the ignition starting
in a car and knew that they were heading for the town border. As the last
minion floated to the floor, dusting his feet with already forgotten ash, he
hurried to Doyle's side and looked over his seer friend. Blue, still
coherent eyes looked up at him, filled with pain but still carrying his
humorous personality.

"Did you stop for coffee on the way to save me?" Doyle asked, accepting
gratefully the help of Willow and Tara.

"Did you stop for coffee on the way to save me?" Doyle asked, hinting at how
long they took to arrive as he accepted gratefully the help of Willow and
Tara to stand.

"Didn't even bring me any," he said, groaning with each movement he was
forced to take.

"Thought you'd prefer to get some at the hospital," Angel said, helping him
toward the door.

"Yeah, it's so tasty there."

Angel's cell phone rang as they made it outside the factory, which was eery
in the way it wasn't burnt or scorched in any way. Apparently, in this
dimension, Giles had never set it on fire.


"Angel?" Cordelia said, "Did you find Doyle?"

"Yeah," Angel said, moving toward his car as he spoke, "We're getting ready
to take him to the hospital."

"Can you stop by and pick up me and Connor?" she asked, panting over the

"Are you okay?"

"If you think being in labor is okay, then yes, I'm fine," she snapped into
the phone.


//i am not worried
i am not overly concerned//

Cordelia's screams of pain from her labor had been wafting through the
hallways of the hospital for hours. Xander found himself wondering why they
didn't sound proof those rooms. Weren't her shouts and profanity scaring
the rest of the patients? Besides, her husband had to sit there in the
wheelchair next to her bed. From the periodic crashing sounds and streams
of sentences such as "I hate you," "This is all your fault," and "Never
touch me again," he thought that Doyle probably wished he was still tied up
and being tortured by Spike and Drusilla again. If he were Doyle, he would
prefer vampiric torture than the wrath of Cordelia Chase every day of the
week and twice on Sundays. It made perfect sense to Xander Harris that
Cordelia would marry a half demon. Who else would be able to put up the
kind of abuse she unleashed?

He looked over at his own ex-demon and smiled. He knew that he had lucked
out in more ways than one. Years ago when he had cheated on Cordelia with
Willow, he thought he had made the worst mistake of his life. He did
actually love the snobby girl. Sure, she was insufferable and difficult,
but he knew what Doyle felt like when he was inside her arms. Sometimes, on
days that he became a little thick in the head, he actually missed her.

Not enough to pass up on his happiness with Anya though. Willow had been
right a long time ago when she said he attracted the strangest women.
Placing an arm around his fiancee and smiling, he kissed her temple. He
wouldn't have it any other way.

"I don't understand this practice, Xander," Anya complained, shifting
uncomfortably in the plastic waiting room chair.

"Which practice? Having babies? I thought you wanted us to have children
after we got married," he said, squeezing her shoulder. For Xander, even
though the thought of fatherhood was terrifying, he still loved the idea of
seeing Anya pregnant and carrying his child.

"No, what I mean is," she quipped sternly, "Waiting in this little room,
sitting in these cheap chairs while your ex gives birth to a child while
screaming. Why are we here?"

"I'm supporting my friends," he said and then amended, "*We're* supporting
*our* friends."

"She's not a friend," Anya said, "She's someone who should stay away from
you. You used to love her. Now you love me. We shouldn't be here."

"It's okay, An," Xander said, glancing at Willow who was trying not to
laugh, "I'm not interested in Cordelia."

"Fine," she said, "I'll continue to wait but I don't think this is


//staring at this yellow haired girl//

Angel buckled his newborn son into the car and waited for Buffy to hop in
before starting the ignition and heading back to the mansion. He was glad
he was able to get a child's seat and his son's first exam while he waited
for Cordelia to have her baby. The barrage of questions he received was
baffling to the vampire as he tried to explain where his child had come from
to the staff who had no record of his existence. He was going to tell them
that his child was born in LA in a different hospital and his mother was
still there, but thankfully Buffy butted in and took over.

He looked on in disbelief as she stepped up and claimed Connor for her own
son, telling them that he was born across town in the mansion with the help
of a midwife. She lied with such fervor and took on such authority that he
stood back, dazed and proud of his lover. She asked for a thorough exam to
make sure he was in excellent health and then went on to talk them into
creating a birth certificate.

Once at the mansion, he stared at the piece of paper with Buffy's name there
as his child's mother and his name as the father. With his name there in
black, bold print, it was almost as if he were a real, live person. His
last name was typed neatly on the form, a name he hadn't even thought of in
a hundred years or more. He still wondered how Buffy managed to circumvent
their request for identification from him. She had a way of speaking to the
nurses, cooing over the child and ignoring the questions she didn't want to
answer that made him smile at her with the memory, sleeping in his bed,
curled up with Connor nestled against her.

For the first time, he felt like he might have a chance at a real life. He
made a mental note to ask Doyle where The Powers That Be could be contacted
in this dimension to ask them about Shanshu. He wondered idly where Wesley
was, if he should be angry with a man who hadn't committed any betrayal to
him in this world. Wesley could decipher the scroll and tell him of his
Shanshu, if there was such a thing anymore.

He shed his clothes and crawled into bed, wrapping his body around his
lover's and reaching out to caress his child's warm cheek before closing his
eyes. His last thought as he drifted into sleep was seeking out Holtz and
Wolfram and Hart to see if they posed any threat to his son in this
dimension. Now that he had the knowledge he hadn't had last time, he knew
that he could protect Connor. He could watch him live and grow up this


//so come dance this silence down through the morning//

Buffy woke up first and snuggled into Angel's arms as she looked down on
Connor, whose eyes were blinking open. She picked him up and scooted out of
bed, heading to the kitchen to make him a bottle. It seemed so natural to
care for Angel's son. As she waited for the microwave to heat up the
formula, she glanced down at the birth certificate listing her as his
mother. She hadn't thought about it or even asked Angel if that's what he
wanted, she just sort of did it.

She went into the nursery to feed Connor and let the idea sink in that she
was a part of this child's life now. If she stayed with Angel then she
would be his mother. It was a strange realization. What if Angel didn't
want her to be his son's mother? She closed her eyes and rocked the baby,
listening to him suckle on the bottle and thought back on the night before.
The look on Angel's face as she claimed to be Connor's mother and the way he
stared at the birth certificate with that silly little smile on his lips
told her that she did the right thing.

"So, little guy," she said, opening her eyes and looking down on him, "Guess
we're stuck with each other for awhile."

She continued rocking him until he finished the bottle, rocked him and set
him in his crib, reveling at how quickly Angel and Doyle had put the room
together. She could almost hear Cordelia shouting orders and telling them
to change things around. What a funny little world she was going to be a
part of...again.


//i stay at home with my disease
and ain't position familiar, darling//

Angel woke up in the late morning, having slept like a dead man, er undead
man, after his evening of sex, electrocution, vampire slayings, child birth
and physical exams. He moved to stretch and found that he couldn't move his
arms, which were above his head in a position he didn't normally sleep in.
The clinking sound of metal against metal made him open his eyes and look up
to find that he was handcuffed to his bed. He looked around the room
urgently, fearing the worst, until he saw Buffy leaning against the wall,
clothed in a black silk neglige. His son was no longer in his bed. The
only live person in the room was the blonde goddess smiling wickedly at him.

"Morning, lover," she crooned, crossing the room to his naked, bound form,
"I'm glad you sleep naked. It makes this so much easier for me."

"Um...I'm glad?" he asked, curious to the outcome of the torture ahead.

"See," she said, slipping the silk off of her body as she stood next to the
bed and allowed him a second to take in her naked skin, "I spent almost a
year alone and upset because you left me, wasting my time with human men who
didn't interest me."

"What men?" Angel growled with jealous, gripping the bedposts angrily.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" she said, pooling the silk over his exposed lap
as she leaned in to bite his lower lip.

"Yes," he growled again.

"Let's not change the subject," she whispered, leaving a trail of wet kisses
on his chest, "I spent almost a year without you, thinking about how I would
torture you if I ever saw you again. There are so many choices. Where do
you think I should start?"

"Buffy," Angel gasped as she gripped his hardening cock through the silk
neglige she had dropped in his lap and began stroking him through the

"So much revenge, so little time," she said, leaning in to bite his nipple,
leaving the impression of her teeth on his skin.

"Baby, please," he groaned, lifting his hips as her little hand jogged his
cock up and down, squeezing him through the silk.

"Please what?" she asked, moving the silk away and smiling at his whimper
from the loss of her touch.

"Take off the handcuffs," he said, "Let me touch you."

"No can do, honey," she said, shaking her blonde head. She lowered her head
and he watched as her tongue darted out and flicked over the tip of his
cock, "You're mine this morning."

He rumbled with pleasure as she wrapped her mouth around him, squeezing the
base of his cock with her hand. She moved up and down on his lap for a
minute or two until she pulled back, removing all contact. He begged for
her continue but she smiled and shook her head. She was in control and he
was going to lay there. She straddled him and guided him into her heated
depths. She didn't move at first but flexed her inner muscles, delighting
in the look on his face as she squeezed him inside her. Finally, after
seconds that he would have sworn were minutes, she moved, bringing herself
up and down in slow, movements. He watched her face, her rising breasts and
the way she tilted her head back in pleasure as she moved on him.

Minutes later, she stopped again, sliding off of his lap and away from him.
He widened his eyes in shock as she licked up his chest, kissing him deeply
as she squeezed his cock again with her hand, sliding the pad of her thumb
up and down the underside of him.

"God, Buffy," he begged, "Please."

"I told you baby," she whispered, sucking small sections of his length
between her lips before huffing tiny breaths over the tip of him, "This
about me getting what I want."

"What do you want?" he cried out in a hoarse, broken voice as she took the
first couple of inches of him between her lips before moving away again.

"I want to hear you scream," she said with a smile, placing two dainty
kisses on each of his balls, "I want you to beg for me."

"Done. I'll scream, baby," he gasped as she took as much of him as she
could inside her mouth. He felt the tip of his cock tapping the back of her
delicate throat and he felt his head spinning a few minutes later when she
removed contact again.

"Yes," she said, straddling him and taking him inside her again, repeating
the same process as before, "You will."

She alternated between sucking, licking, squeezing and riding him for over
forty-five minutes until he screamed and begged for her to fuck him. She
did not relent for several minutes, delighting in his torture until she
finally plunged down and increased her movements while he growled
underneath, jerking his hips up to bury himself deeper inside her. She
slammed down, rotating her hips as she moved down to kiss him. He lifted
his head attacking her and plunging his tongue inside her mouth as he gasped
for breaths he didn't need.

"You are evil, baby," he said after they climaxed together and she reached
in the night stand to collect the keys and unlock him.

"You deserved it," she said, resting her head against his chest when he was
free. He wrapped his arms around her, thankful to be able to touch her.

"Yeah, I guess I did," he admitted, kissing the top of her head.

"You know you did," she said as Connor began to cry in the next room. She
looked up at him and smiled, "Your turn."


THE END! Please let me know what you thought of this. Mai Shine, I really
hope you liked it!