It was about two in the afternoon, and a small blonde woman in her mid- twenties began her cool-down stretches after her daily T'ai Chi workout. There was soft, soothing music coming from the stereo- one of Sara McLachlan's old songs, "Angel." She gently sang the words to herself as she continued to stretch. The lyrics seemed so reflective of her life.
((Spend all your time waiting for that second chance. For the break that would make it OK. There's always one reason to feel not good enough, and it's hard at the end of the day.))
She finished her stretches and sat down on the nearby couch. As soothing as the T'ai Chi might be, it brought back memories of her lost love. Her beloved had taught her T'ai Chi almost six years ago. The song continued in the background.
((... let me be empty, oh and weightless and maybe I'll find some peace tonight. Here in the arms of an angel fly away from here. From this dark cold hotel room and the endlessness that you fear. You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie. You're in the arms of the angel may you find some comfort there. ))
Small tears began to form around her eyes. They always came when she thought of him. It had been three years since she had watched him die in her arms, but the memories were still vivid of that day and the days following.
They had held a proper funeral service for Angel, considering that he died human. All of her friends had come to LA; Willow, Tara, Dawn, Giles, Xander and Anya had come from Sunnydale. Oz drove down from Seattle, where he had been exploring the club scene with his band. The entire event had been so painful for Buffy that she confined herself to Angel's old room, taking care of the baby.
Darla had gone insane when she saw all the love and support Buffy had. She couldn't help but think that that could've been hers, she could've had a baby who loved her. The pain ripped through Darla like nothing had before and it drove her into madness. One day, without anyone noticing, she had stood by the window in the baby's room and waited for the sun to rise. It did, as always, and with it came her death.
Wesley had later discovered the reason of Angel's death. While that was no consolation to her, it did provide some answers. When Angel saw his son for the first time, it gave him a true moment of happiness. He now had a family, something he never thought possible. While it took away his soul, it also gave him life simultaneously. He had brought a pure and innocent life into the world. But these two events brought with them his death. A human can't live without a soul. Even the most evil person in the world has a soul, they just choose to ignore it.
Buffy was brought back to the present when a little boy burst through the door of the small, white, house that was still littered with moving boxes.
"Hey mommy!" he yelled as he jumped into her arms.
The three-year old had dark brown hair and deep chocolate eyes, just like his father. He was a little shy around strangers and had mastered his puppy- dog eyes by the age of two.
"Hey Manning, how was your first day of preschool?" Buffy asked, sitting the little boy down on her lap.
"It was fun mommy. Mr. Matthew is funny." He said with a smile.
"Hey Buffy, sorry to interrupt. I just can't keep up with him when he runs!" Cordelia said, after she had caught her breath.
"Oh that's OK. Thanks for picking him up, Cordy."
"No problem. Well, I have to leave. I'll pick'em up again tomorrow. Bye."
"Bye Cordelia." Buffy waved as Cordy headed out the door.
"Bye Bye Cordeldy-uh." Manning responded.
Cordy had been great these past couple of week. She had helped them pick out a house and then move in, and now she was even picking Manning up from preschool. Buffy had never imagined what a good person Cordelia could be. She thought that Angel's death had changed her personality a lot, though.
"Mommy, were you crying again?" Manning asked, looking up at his mom.
"No sweetie, why would you think that?" Buffy asked, trying to hide the tears.
"Because I can see your tears, mommy. You were thinking about daddy." For being so young, he picked up on everything. He could tell that Buffy had been crying because he had seen her like that many times before. He didn't fully understand why, but he knew that, around the time he got a lot of presents, he always saw his mommy with a sad look on her face and tears in her eyes.
"Yeah, I was thinking about Daddy. You know he loved you very, very much." She said, holding back more tears.
Buffy couldn't help but see Angel every time she looked at Manning. His full name was Manning Alexander Summers. Manning was old English for 'Son of the Hero.' When she read the name in the baby book she knew that was what she had to call him. He was the son of the hero, her hero, Angel. Alexander was a harder choice. It was Greek for Helper and Defender of Mankind. He was almost Manning Liam after his father. Liam was Irish for Unwavering Protector. As much as she liked the idea of "Son of the Hero and Unwavering Protector," she didn't want her son to go through all of the teasing that would come with a name like Manning Liam. Having a mom named 'Buffy' would be odd enough.
"I know, mommy."
"I just wish that he could see you. I wish that you could see him. You look just like him, you know."
Buffy would do anything if she just had one picture of Angel. She never was able to take pictures of them while he was a vampire, and he was only alive for a matter of seconds. The whole principal behind a camera was based on mirrors, and vampires didn't have a reflection.
/If I had one picture of Angel to show him, to show him what his daddy looked like. It would make him seem more like a real person, not just someone he'd heard about in stories. He has no memory of Angel. /
"Hey, Manning, do you wanna go get some ice cream?" She said, trying to lighten the mood. There was something about ice cream, though, that always make her heart pang. She couldn't put a finger on it, but she knew that for some reason it gave her warm feeling, comforting feeling inside. She wished that her memory was as obliging as her soul.
"YAY!" Manning gave his mom a BIG hug.
"Now, go and clean up first!" The little boy ran off her mother's lap to the bathroom.
Buffy just moved to LA. There was no point for her being in Sunnydale anymore, since she had recently lost her slaying powers. She decided to move to LA where she could start a fresh, new, slay-free life. Dawn had a life in Sunnydale, though- one Buffy didn't make her leave. Buffy knew first hand how hard it can be to re-adjust your entire life, especially in high school. Dawn decided to stay with Willow and Tara until she went to college.
When Manning was few months, Buffy could tell her punches weren't as sharp and her jump was a bit lower. Giles didn't know why she was losing her strength, but a Slayer had never been a mother before. None had ever lived long enough. Between being a mother and a Slayer, though, she could no longer be a student. She worked in a fitness center to provide for her sister and son, and taught some of the more advanced training classes. She just found new job as another fitness trainer at a local gym in LA, teaching aerobic exercises and a little martial arts. While she wasn't her old self, she was still stronger and more agile than everyone else. She had to be very careful when she taught, not to over do herself or her class.
Manning ran back at Buffy, ready to go get some ice cream.
"So what kind of ice cream do you want?" She asked as she took Manning's hand and headed out of the door.
"I dunno, chocolate chip?" He said, looking up at her as they were leaving.
Buffy and Manning were halfway down the street when something was slipped under the door. It was a piece of paper- a picture- of Angel. He was smiling. There was a new, bright, lively tint in his skin. His eyes had a sparkle to them and his lips were full of color. The back of the picture had handwriting on it. It was a poem. It read-
To my Son and my Beloved-
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far into the silent land;
When you can no longer hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.