Summary: Another "I Will Remember You" story. Buffy's pregnant, and only Angel has the answers she needs.
Author's notes: This ones weird, I admit it, but it got stuck in my head and wouldnt go away until I wrote it. Sorry guys, this one is angsty. But its got a happy ending, I promise! Scenes alternate between Buffy and Angels POV.
Disclaimers: Okay, obviously anything you recognize, I don't own. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and all related characters, etc. doesn't belong to me. The song excerpts are from "You Are the New Day." I sang it in chorus my sophomore year of high school. The program (which was quite a trick to find in my box of old letters) says it was arranged by Peter Knight. I had to listen to a recording to get the words, so they may not be exact. Its a really pretty song, by the way.
"It was several weeks before Willow managed to convince me to see a doctor. The news he gave me didnt shock me as much as it should have. It made no sense, but I wasnt exactly a shock. After all, the signs were there. I just never put it together because it made no sense. No really, it wasnt a shock. Besides, I live on the Hellmouth. "
No one knew quite what to make of the news. My mom was disappointed with me, especially when I refused to tell her everything. I think Giles was disappointed, too. He took me off patrol immediately. Necessary, of course, but he had this look in his eye that said Id made a huge mistake. Riley wouldnt even talk to me. "
"When I wouldnt tell her everything either, Willow made a different assumption. She thought that maybewell, maybe something terrible had happened that I didnt want to talk about. But she didnt know, none of them knew, because I hadnt told them. "
"I couldnt tell them, because I didnt know. "
"Three months, the doctor had said. I may be bad at math, but not that bad. Three monthsjust doesnt work. It doesnt make sense. Not to me, not to anyone in Sunnydale. "
"You see, I did the math. I figured out when it could have been. Instead of getting answers, though, the date only brought more questions. Questions only one person might have the answers to. "
"But how do you tell your ex-boyfriend that youre pregnant? "
You are the new day
You are the new day.
"I dont know what I was expecting when the phone rang. There are usually two possibilities a client or a bill collector. They balance each other out, I guess. Each has its own kind of danger. "
"This phone call had a different sort of danger. A danger to my heart. "
Cordelia answered the phone as usual. "Angel Investigations. We" Her voice trailed off and a strange look crossed her face. She passed the phone to me without a word.
"Who is it?" I asked. This silence was not like her.
Cordelia shook her head. "I'm afraid if I tell you, you wont take the call. "
Curious but wary I took the phone from her hand. "Hello? "
A soft voice I'd know anywhere replied. "Angel?"
I nearly dropped the phone. "Buffy? Whats wrong?"
There was a very long pause. I would have been holding my breath if I needed to breathe. Finally, her soft, hesitant reply. "I need to talk to you. "
Still holding the phone, I sat down hard. "Alright." My voice was steady, not betraying the emotions her call raised in me.
"No," she said suddenly. "I cant do this. "
I was confused." Buffy" I said, trying to convey that she could say anything to me.
"Not over the phone," she finished." I need to talk to you face to face. "She hesitated. "Could you? "
"I'll be there tonight," I said quickly. "That is, if you want me to? "
"Yeah," she said, almost inaudible. Then, louder, "That would be good. " I she hesitated again." I'll see you then." She hung up the phone quickly, and I was listening to silence.
For a moment I sat there, the phone in my hand. Cordelia looked at me, concern obvious on her face. "Well?" she asked finally.
I hung up the phone and sprang up from my seat. Cordelia watched as I crossed the room quickly, entering the elevator to my apartment. "Where are you going in such a hurry? "she asked as I closed the metal grate.
I simply looked at her.
"Oh, right. Sunnydale."
True to his word, Angel arrived that night. He arrived so early in fact that he must have risked his life first with the fading sunlight and second speeding on the highways. I guess he was concerned for me. If I hadnt been so nervous, it would have been touching.
Still, it was a good thing he got there so soon. I was so nervous I was feeling nauseous. Considering the number of meals Id been loosing to Junior, I seriously wanted to keep my dinner down.
Willow and I had been studying Psych together or shed been studying and I was trying to when the hesitant knock came at the door. I knew who it was instantly. Still, I said nothing as Willow stood to answer it. I couldnt.
The door opened slowly, revealing Angel standing there with his hands in the pockets of his coat. "Hi, Willow," he said softly, then his gaze floated past her to seek me out.
Willow turned to look at me, questions in her eyes. I simply nodded. She looked at Angel again, choked out an unintelligible reply, and hurried out of the room. Angel and I were left alone.
Still Angel hesitated just outside the room. I couldnt find my voice to give him the invitation he needed. The silence hung between us.
"Come in," I finally managed to whisper.
Angel stepped into the room and closed the door. He stopped just inside the doorway, silent and waiting for me to speak. I wonder if he had any clue how hard this was for me.
"Sit down", I said finally, my voice shaking.
Angel did so, looking quite uncomfortable as he took a seat on Willows bed. He looked at me, and I looked away. I could not meet his gaze.
"Buffy" he began softly, questioningly.
I held up a hand to stop him. "I have something to tell you, Angel. Please be quiet and just let me talk for once, alright? "
He nodded. "Alright. "
Still, I was silent. How the hell was I going to tell him this? If I didnt need to, I never would have. I did need to. He was the only one who could tell me whoor whatthe father of my child was. First, though, I had to find an easy way to break my news to him.
"I'm pregnant. "
Nope, that wasnt it.
A look of hurt flashed briefly across his face before his gaze went blank. He opened his mouth to reply.
"Don't", I said quickly. "You said youd let me talk. So before you go any further, let me explain. Thats not exactly why I called you here. I paused. Or, it is, but The thing is I dont know who the father is. "
Now Angel looked stricken, and I knew exactly what he was thinking.
"Stop it!" I yelled at him. "I so have not been sleeping around. In fact, the last guy I slept with was five months ago. Thats the problem. The doctor says Im almost three months pregnant." I let the fear I was feeling fill my voice. I could tell no one else but Angel how scared I was. I didnt want to be viewed as a freakor a liar.
"The best he could figure was that the child was conceived around Thanksgiving, I continued, hanging my head. I was hopingthat maybe you know something "
"It never happened", he said, so softly that I barely heard him.
I nodded to myself and sighed. "Yeah, I know." I looked up then and now Angel was hanging his head, staring at his hands in his lap. He was trembling slightly. I suddenly get the idea that were not talking about the same thing, I said softly.
He looked up then. A solitary tear trailed down Angels face. I didnt know why he cried, but I knew enough to be afraid of his explanation.
I will love you more than me
And more than yesterday
If you can but prove to me
You are the new day.
Her news was a shock of the most basic form, but her full explanation struck me hard. I'd barely managed to choke out my reply. She looked at me in shock all her own and I realized I was crying. Great way to make her less afraid
I shook my head. It never happened, I tried to explain, dropping my gaze again. No more tears escaped. I didnt want to talk about this, but I knew she wouldnt let me leave it there.
Buffy knelt in front of me, trying to catch my gaze again. Angel, she entreated softly, "what never happened?" She placed her hand on my own and I shied away from her touch. I couldnt do this
I had to do this. I took a deep breath, unneeded though it might be, and began. When you came to see me that weekend, you were there for more than five minutes. I was surprised by how steady my voice was.
"Angel, umm" she tried to interrupt.
I shook my head. "Please. I let you speak. Let me do the same. "
She said nothing at that.
"The first time the Mohra demon attacked, we didnt know what it was. We injured it and it escaped. We tracked it into the sewers, then split up, you into the sunlight and I continued in the tunnels. I found the demon, fought it, and when I stabbed it some of its blood mixed with my own. My gaze was fixed on my left hand where the cut had healed before my eyes. I could still remember the overwhelming sensations. It made me human. "
Buffy gasped, but to her credit said nothing. She took my hand in her own, and this time I let her. "I went to the Oracles, and they said I was no longer a Warrior. I found you, and we were together," but My voice trailed off into silence.
This time Buffy spoke up. "But it couldnt be?" she asked. "Thats the way everything always seems to be with us."
I nodded. "The demon wasnt dead. I went to kill him. I wanted to prove that I could still fight; that I wouldnt be a liability. I was wrong. The demon almost killed me, but you saved me and killed it. "
"I went back to the Oracles. They said you'd die so I asked them to make me a vampire again. They turned back time. So, you see, it never happened. Only I remember. "
Buffy looked at me seriously, willing me to meet her eyes. When I finally did she asked hesitantly, "Were we happy? "
"Yeah, we were happy," I said in a whisper. "We kissed in the sunlight and made love and ate ice cream in bed. For a moment we had nothing to worry about. Everything was right. You said youd never felt that way, like a normal girl with a normal boyfriend. You said" The tears I'd swallowed came close to the surface again and choked off my words.
"What? she asked, sitting beside me on the bed now and putting and arm around my shoulders. "What did I say? "
"You said youd never forget," I forced past the lump in my throat. I hadn't meant to say that, but I guess thats what hurt the most. Even knowing she would not remember, even seeing her walk away, part of me had hoped until this moment.
"Oh," she whispered. Buffy pulled me to her shoulder then, and I surrendered to her, letting the tears come.
We sat like that for a while, his tears wetting my shirt. The only other time Id seen him cry like this was right after he returned from Hell. Like then, I held him and cried with him. Inwardly I cursed these Oracles for making Angel carry this burden of memory. Couldnt there have been another solution?
When Angel finally calmed and pulled away, I smiled slightly and passed him a tissue. "Are you alright now? "I asked softly.
"Not really", he whispered.
"Yeah, I know. "
We sat for a long while in silence, our nights confessions hanging in the air between us. It was going to take a while to process everything.
"I dont understand", I said finally. "If that day never happened, how am I pregnant?"
Angel shook his head. I think he was in denial of this whole evening. "I'm sorry", he said softly. "Its probably not mine. There has to be another explanation. I shouldnt have said anything. "
"Angel", I scolded, "I think I think you are the father. I can feel it, and I trust my feelings." He looked unconvinced. "Besides, the doctor says the babys fine. Wouldn't he have noticed if it was demon spawn or something?" I flinched at that. It was the first time I'd given voice to that persistent fear.
Angel looked at me sharply. "Your baby is going to be fine." The softer, "Yes, the doctor would have noticed something. "
I grinned. "See? So you being the father is the only thing that makes sense. Except, well, that it doesnt make sense."
He chuckled very slightly at my words, then went serious again. "So what do we do now?"
A small part of me rejoiced at his use of we. The part of me that wasnt overcome with nervousness, that is. "Now", I said, taking his hand, "we go see Giles and find out what he knows about well, anything that can explain why I'm pregnant from a day that never happened. "
Angel nodded and let me lead him out the door. I sighed. At least I wouldnt be facing the new and improved firing squad alone.
Send the sun in time for dawn
Let the birds all hail the morning
Love of life will urge me say
You are the new day
Neither of us spoke on the walk from the dorm to Giles house. There was just too much between us. If either of us had said something it surely would have led to words we would regret. So we said nothing.
The tension between us was a tangible thing. We were together in space, yes, but it was as if there was a wall between us. For once I had no idea what Buffy was thinking or how she was feeling. What she was going through right then was something I could never comprehend. It was almost a relief when we reached Giles door.
He took a while to answer his door, and when he did his face was set in a scowl surely set to remind us of the lateness of the hour. His expression changed, though, when he saw who his visitors were. He looked back and forth between Buffy and myself then ushered us in without a word.
For a seemingly endless moment the three of us stood in silence in the living room. Then Giles got to the root of the matter. "Is there a problem? "
Buffy sat, and Giles and I took our cue as well. "Sort of", she replied. "I'm afraid I haven't been completely honest with you. "
Giles gaze took on a scolding look. "I know", he said quietly. "What about in particular? "
"'When I wouldn't tell you who the father is", Buffy acknowledged. "It was because I didnt know. The last person I remember sleeping with was two months before the doctor says" Her voice trailed off.
Giles eyes widened. "Why didn't you say something?" he demanded.
"Because I was afraid!" Buffy cried. "I'm trying to figure out what 'Im going to do, and you would have convinced me that I'm giving birth to some freaky thing of the Hellmouth! Or everyone would have assumed that I'm lying. Which Im not! Either one!"
"How can you be sure?" Giles asked in concern.
That was the cue for me to explain everything again. I told Giles the barest facts. Somehow I managed to keep all emotion from my voice. It was as if I was telling a story about someone else. About halfway through my explanation Giles stood up. Gesturing to me to continue he began to gather any book remotely related to the subject at hand; Mohra demons, the Oracles, the End of Days
When the tale was at its end, Giles sat down and regarded the both of us seriously. He took his glasses off, rubbed the bridge of his nose, put them back on and sighed. "This does not make sense", he said, and I felt my heart sink. "I guess I was really hoping Buffy's child was mine. I had dreamed about having children with her, but it was always an impossible dream. Her child would also be a permanent reminder that perfect day had happened and was not just in my mind. "
"Unless" Giles continued.
"What? Unless what?" Buffy asked, leaning forward eagerly.
Giles looked at me. "You said the Oracles called this a temporal fold, correct?"
I nodded slightly.
"A true temporal fold", Giles explained, flipping through one of the books, "completely erases any elapsed time. All persons and events involved are started over from that point. There should be no physical effects, he looked at Buffy, but there is also no recollection", he looked at me.
"But Angel remembers", Buffy pointed out.
Giles nodded. "Exactly. Now, this is all theory, mind, but perhaps this was not acomplete temporal fold. In having Angel remember, the Oracles, intentionally or otherwise, may have left an opening for certain physical effects to remain."
"Namely, me being pregnant", Buffy said.
"Its just a theory, mind. "
Buffy shook her head." No, its right. I already know that Angel's the father. I cant explain it, but ever since I woke up this morning I've known. She stood up then and gave Giles a hug. Thank you", she said softly.
Giles looked surprised. "You're welcome. He looked back and forth between Buffy and myself. Are you going to be okay?" he asked.
Buffy looked at me and I knew she was thinking some of the same things. "Where did this leave the two of us? "
"Well figure that out later", was all she said.
It was like the difference between night and day, the way Angels attitude contrasted to everyone elses. I had never felt such support as I did from him. It was given without question and without expectations. Every night when the sun went down he was by my side, listening to me speak about anything and everything that was on my mind.
It didnt feel like anyone else was listening to me anymore. Ever since things had fallen apart between me and Riley I'd completely fallen out of touch with anything having to do with the Initiative. My mother couldn't talk to me without lecturing, so I'd started avoiding her. Willow tried to be an open-minded friend, but I knew she thought I'd made was making a huge mistake. Xander spent all his time with Anya, so I hardly saw him anymore. Maybe it was my own insecurities about my pregnancy talking, but I felt like everyone was closing themselves off from me. Even Giles. Now that I wasnt patrolling I hardly saw him anymore, either.
Angel had taken up patrolling for me. Though he was the only one who stayed close to me the whole time, there was a different sort of distance between us. Since we couldn't be close like we wanted to be, the relationship between us seemed almost professional. It was like I taking up patrolling, my child was just another responsibility, a job to be undertaken. I hated every minute of it.
Oh, I know that wasn't how Angel thought of me. I knew he loved me and he loved our child. The long nights he spent listening to me talk were proof enough of that. Still, there was the forced emotional distance that, coupled with my own insecurities, was making me doubt every decision I'd made in those weeks since I'd learned I was pregnant.
Angel and I were sitting in the mansion the night all of these thoughts came together in my head. He knew there was a lot on my mind so he said nothing, simply sat next to me and waited for me to speak. There was a clear, foot-wide space between us. We hadn't so much as touched hands since the night he told me about my visit to L.A. It was too dangerous for the both of us. He simply watched me as I searched for words.
The words that came finally were simple, but weighted with meaning. There was so much between us in those four words.
"I want to remember. "
When I lay me down at night
Knowing we must pay
Thoughts occur that this night might
I was speechless for a moment. My throat felt tight. "Buffy "
"No", she said, interrupting my protest." I want to remember, Angel. I need to remember."
I shook my head. She had no clue how much pain these memories had caused. To have the memories of one day that was so perfect but was now impossible Not that I'd give the memories up, but I didn't want her to have to deal with them, too. How could she go on to a normal life with the memories of that? "It's too hard", I said softly.
"Angel, I need to remembe"r, Buffy insisted. "I know its hard, or at least I think I do. But you have no idea what this is like for me!"
She was right; I didnt know. There was too much about her situation that was impossible for me to ever understand. "Then tell me", I said softly.
She sighed and sank back into the couch. "I'm pregnant," she said softly, "with a child who is a miracle in every sense of the word. I know we shared something very special, but I don't know that. Then everyone looks at me for being nineteen and pregnant, and I can hardly defend myself." She looked at me seriously, her voice earnest. "I dont know if I can deal with having a child of a day I don't remember. What if he or she asks me someday about when I decided to have a child? Am I supposed to say, Sorry, I dont remember? "
I sat back in silence, taking in every word that she had said. I remembered her unspoken fears when she had told me she was pregnant. She was taking a lot on faith that the story I told her was true. Not that I thought that she thought I had made the story up, but How? "I dont know how to make you remember."
"Maybe the Oracles?" Buffy asked hopefully.
I cringed slightly at the thought. Remembering my dismissal the last time I had gone to see them, I shook my head. "The Oracles answer questions. They do not act for reasons that do notserve a higher purpose. The battle between good and evil."
Buffy sighed. "Maybe Willow or Giles will have a solution?" Her eyes begged me to support her hope.
I nodded slightly. "Maybe."
Willow looked at me oddly when she heard out my request. "I know of one spell of memory off the top of my head, but I dont think it'll work in this situation."
I leaned forward with mixed feelings of eagerness and disappointment. "Why not?"
"It, uh, calls for the direct transfer of memory between two people", Willow stuttered. When I still looked at her expectantly, Willow started to blush. "That means you'd get Angel's memories from Angel's point of view of everything you two did that day.
I felt my face growing hot and glanced over to see Angel grinning a bit wryly. "Not the best idea", I agreed.
Giles came back into the room again, the book hed been looking for lying open on his palm. "I may have something, he said without looking at anyone. I thought I remembered this spell. I heard of it being used once when a person witnessed a crime but blocked out the memory. The spell was cast on him and another person who was known to be thereand he remembered. Quite an interesting case, really. "
"And they say magic doesnt have practical uses", I joked.
Giles looked at me in surprise. I think hed gotten so caught up in his memories hed forgotten I was there. He sat down next to Willow and showed her the spell.
"What is it? Will it work? What do I have to do?" I asked quickly.
Giles looked over the spell, then up at me." Both you and Angel will enter a dream state of sort"s, he began. "Your memories will use Angels' as a frame of reference to relive the specified amount of time."
"Relive?" Angel asked softly. I looked at him, wondering what he was thinking. Would it be too hard for him to face those memories again?
"A day in an hou"r, Giles explained. "You'll sleep for that hour and then Buffy will awaken with her memories." He looked at Angel seriously for a moment. "There are no significant dangers in this. "
"Dangers to the soul, perhaps?" Angel looked a bit relieved, and I smiled slightly. "We'd shared dreams before. If this was no different then all should be well for both of us. Well, perhaps not all I was sure the emotional anguish would be high. Is this okay with you?" I asked Angel softly.
He nodded, though his expression was still concerned and slightly pained.
"All right", I said softly. "Giles, when can we do this?"
He looked at the spell again for a moment. "Now, actually", he replied, "seeming somewhat surprised. I already have all the ingredients necessary. Though perhaps we should do this somewhere more comfortable? "
We were tense and silent as we made our way up the stairs to Giles bedroom. I for one was thinking about lying down on a bed on Giles bed, yet with Angel, with an audience. I glanced over at Angel to see his head was hung and his hands were in his pockets and I remembered that it was here that he left Ms. Calendars dead body. I'm sure Giles never forgot.
I sat down somewhat awkwardly and then lay down on top of the covers. Angel lay down beside me, that permanent one-foot wall between us more evident than ever as he stared up at the ceiling. I looked at Willow and Giles expectantly.
Willow looked uncomfortable. "Uh, the two of you need to be touching."
Angel looked at me sadly. "I'm sorry", he mouthed, then took my hand. It was so awkward, so needed, and full of inexpressible feelings that I almost backed out then and there.
"Alright", Giles said softly. "Now Angel, you need to think about where that day began. The spell is going to seek that out to begin the dream. Are you ready?"
We both nodded tightly, not breaking eye contact.
"Lady of dreams, lady of memory, walk hand in hand" Willow began to chant. "Then sleep claimed me, and the dreams began."
Thoughts that we as humans small
Could slow worlds and end it all
Lie around me where they fall
Before the new day
No one should know what it feels like to die. I dont mean the pain of violent death I know that, too. Death by vampire is hardly pleasant. No, I mean the simple feeling of death itself, that moments difference between being alive and being dead. To feel your heart no longer beating, the breath no longer moving in your lungs between one moment and the next. No, I wouldnt wish that fate on anyone. I wish I'd never known it myself.
As the dream faded, I waited for that living death to come again. In that fuzzy state between sleep and wakefulness I mourned the end of the dream. I wished that I had never said yes to the spelland I was glad that I had gotten the chance to glimpse that perfection again. What was worse was the waiting for the end to come afterwards. The stillness
The dream faded, and death still did not come. I could feel the bed beneath my back, the warmth of Buffy's hand in my own and the phantom aches of demon-inflicted injuries, the breath in my lungs Where did the dream end and the reality begin?
"Angel?" Buffy whispered sleepily, her voice choked with recently shed tears. She sounded confused, probably wondering why I had not opened my eyes. Wondering why I had not comforted her or sought comfort from her. It wasnt until that moment that I realized the dream was overlong over.
My eyes shot open and I was greeted by Buffy's tear streaked face. I felt the dampness on my own cheeks and knew I'd shed tears as well. My tears did not distract me from the heartbeat that sounded in my ears. It was my own, and it was fast with rising panic.
I sat up quickly and Buffy's eyes followed me in confusion. "Angel?" she asked again, louder and bewildered.
"Give me a second", I said, my voice sounding unintentionally harsh. I breathed deeply in an attempt to calm myself.
Buffy gasped in surprise. She grasped at the hand she still held, clumsily feeling for my pulse and I let her. Not that I could have stopped her Her eyes went wide and locked with mine. "Giles"! she called loudly.
I barely heard the hurried footsteps over my racing thoughts. Well, not quite thoughts, for nothing was really coherent. Pure emotion it was overwhelming. And sensation. The difference between being a vampire and human struck me hard. For a moment it was all too much. Just as Giles opened the bedroom door I pulled my hand from Buffys and stood. Before she could pull me back I had bolted from the room, shouldering past a very confused Giles and Willow in the doorway.
There were some things I didnt want to face at the moment.
"What in the world was that about?" Giles asked as he stared in bewilderment.
Willow appeared in the doorway behind him. "Was that just Angel who bolted down the stairs?" she asked oddly. "Whats going on? "
I was in shock; that was the only way to describe it. My hand was still outstretched from trying to stop Angel from leaving. I was disoriented from the dream. It had been more than just a dream; I knew that as soon as I woke up. And I remembered every moment, every touch, and every tear that now dried on my cheeks. I had felt Angel's heartbeat.
"I felt Angel's heartbeat. Oh God", I said softly, staring out the open door.
"Buffy," Giles said urgently, "what just happened?"
I shook my head, bringing myself to reality and trying to come out of my daze. I was still trying to sort out my new memoriesand what had just happened. I swallowed hard. "That spell you found," I managed to say.
"Yes? What about it? "
I gathered my thoughts and looked Giles in the eye. "I think it took reliving memories a bit too literally. "
His eyes went wide. "You mean?"
I nodded. "The Angel who jut ran past you was the human version pulse, breath, massive insecurities and all. I put my head in my hands, overwhelmed. Oh God," I muttered again.
Then Willow was sitting next to me, her arm across my shoulders. "Are you okay?" she asked softly.
"I dont know", I replied. "These memories Angel was right. Its hard to deal with. I remember everything. "I sighed, "seeing in my mind our last moments in L.A. I dont know whether to love him or hate him for this, Will. He turned back time. He took away what I most wanted in the world for us and he took it away because he thought it was best for me. Twice! First when he broke up with meand now this!" I shook my head angrily.
The anger faded quickly though as I remembered the look in Angel's eye only moments ago. He seemed lost. I had no clue what he was going through. "What do we do now? I may not like what he did, but I understand his reasons. Oh God. What do I say to him now? "
"And a horrible thought that wouldnt go away. What if hed run out because he didnt want to talk to me? What if he closed me out?" So I sat in Giles bedroom, at a complete loss for what to say or do.
One more day when time is running out
Like a breath I knew would come
I reach for the new day
It wasnt until I reached the courtyard outside of Giles apartment that my rational mind broke through my panicked thoughts. I stopped in my tracks and caught my breath. My breath. This wasnt a problem it was possible to run from.
I sat down heavily on the stairs. What the hell was I going to do now? Nothing had changed since the last time. All the reasons for erasing the day in the first place were there. I was a liability as a human. I couldnt live with that.
Live, huh? What an appropriate choice of words. Because live might be exactly what I had to do. I couldnt erase this turn of events. Wed brought this on ourselves. Remind me the next time to read the fine print on any of Giles spells. Besides, I couldnt erase Buffy's memories this time, and she was pregnant with my child.
A new panic hit me. Buffy! I'd just run out on her. What must she be thinking? I hung my head and closed my eyes in the late night silence.
Someone cleared their throat behind me. I lifted my head to see Willow standing in Giles doorway. She looked at me seriously, saying nothing.
"How is she?" I asked softly.
She looked at me in silence and closed Giles door behind her. "Nice to know you still think of her first, she said, as if there was actually some doubt." I looked at her in silence, still waiting for an answer. Willow came and sat next to me on the stairs. "She's upset", she said finally. "And she's angry with you. She says she's sick of you making decisions for her. She says you never talk to her. She thinks you ran out here because you dont want to talk to her."
I began to object, but the look on Willows face stopped me. "You want to know what I think?" she said. She continued without waiting for an answer. "I think youre scared."
I looked at her sharply. "That was going too far. Willow "
"No, Angel, youre going to listen to me. Not for me, for Buffy. "
I said nothing this time, waiting for Willow to continue. When she saw I wasnt going to interrupt again, she shifted as if trying to gather her thoughts.
When she spoke again it was softer, more like the Willow I knew. "Counting this morning, Angel, how many times since you left will you have gotten the chance to see the sunlight?" she asked calmly.
I was a bit confused by her change of subject and mood. "Three", I responded softly.
She nodded as if that confirmed something. "Three is a special number", she said. "Its used in magic all the time. You ever think that maybe this was meant to be? "
What has happened is meant to be, the Oracles words came to mind. I said nothing.
"Ever heard the saying third times the charm?"
"No I mean, yes, Ive heard the saying, but I dont think it applies here", I said, flustered.
"Buffy told me about the last time", she said, "that the reason you gave up your humanity was that you couldn't fight with your vampire strength. That you being human would get her killed. "
I nodded briefly.
"Have you ever seen the group of us fight together? We do sometimes. I've killed a couple of vampires since I met Buffy. So has Xander. Giles has a really good record. Its possible to be human and fight vampires," she tried to assure me.
"It didn't work. She'd be distracted if she had to protect me", I explained.
Willow scoffed at that." She got distracted trying to protect you even when you were a vampire. Shes distracted any time any of her friends is around. She wants to protect everyone. Buffy's like that. She looked at me almost kindly then. I've just learned to stick to my strengths."
"Strengths. Everything that came to mind was physical. I cant."
"Then you learn", Willow insisted." I know youre scared, even if you wont admit it. Buffy would know that too if youd just talk to her. Let her help you. Work together. But if you leave nowyour silence will hurt her more than any words you've ever said." She stood then, walking back towards Giles house.
"Willow", I said after a moment.
I turned to really look at her and smiled slightly. "Buffys lucky to have a friend like you", I said.
Willow smiled, slightly embarrassed at that. "Go talk to her", she said again. Then she entered the home, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
The house was eerily silent in the predawn hours. Giles had gone to his now vacated room to sleep. Willow had long since left to go home. Last 'Id checked, though, Angel was still sitting on the front steps. Giles had asked no questions when I made no move to leave as the night wore on. Instead he handed me a pillow and blanket on his way upstairs.
I lay there on the couch for a while in silence. Despite my determination not to I must have eventually fallen asleep, for the next thing I was aware of was Angel watching me in the darkness. I blinked sleepily but said nothing, watching him for a moment in return. I watched as his chest rose and fell with even breaths, proof that all this evenings memories were real and not just a very long dream.
Angel realized I was awake and looking at him. "I'm" sorry, he whispered.
"I didn't need to ask for what; it was an apology for everything. I know. "
"Do you forgive me?" A simple question.
"Always." A simple answer.
Angel sighed in relief. I couldn't help but smile slightly a real sigh. He wasnt going to do something stupid this time; somehow, I knew that. I held a hand out to Angel, and he took it in his own warm as he came to sit on the floor beside the couch.
"Are you going to stay and make this work?" I asked seriously. "Because if you aren't you'd better leave now." I couldn't stand the thought, but I meant every word.
"I'm going to stay", he said, just as seriously, "and this will work. That is, if you'll help me?" A hint of doubt slipped into his voice.
"Of course", I replied.
I can't help but wonder what it took for him to ask for help. I'm glad he did it meant he'd really meant it about working everything out together. At least, thats what it meant to me. We sat for a long time in silence. We forgave each other in those moments for every transgression. Maybe we came to the realization that the past could not be changed, only moved past. In those moments we were born anew.
Angel surprised me when he leaned forward and kissed me gently on the lips. It was only for a moment, but when he broke away he was smiling slightly, contented. "Come outside with me and watch the sunrise?" he asked softly. "I've never really watched one before, and I want to see it with you. "
I know that I grinned from ear to ear as we walked outside hand-in-hand as the sky began to lighten. We sat out there together, Angel's arms wrapped around me and hands resting over the new life we created. I leaned back into his chest, listening to the beating of his newborn heart. I never saw a more beautiful sunrise.
New day. New life. Reborn.
Hope is my philosophy
Just needs days in which to be
Love of life means hope for me
Born on a new day
Miracle Jennifer Summers celebrates her first birthday today. Everyone is already here, and the pile of gifts is substantial for a child so small. I can guess pretty well what shell receive from some of them.
It will be a book from Giles, and I will read it to her tonight as she goes to bed. She will smile at my voice and eventually fall asleep in my arms. It will be her favorite for the next couple of days until she finds something new.
From Xander she will receive something that Buffy and I will wish he never found. Probably something very noisy. If Anya had any part in buying the gift it will be even stranger. Buffy will hide that gift if she gets the chance, but Mira will love it.
Something cuddly from Willow, a new stuffed animal probably. Something practical from Joyce. I dont know what the rest of them will be. Mira will love each and every giftuntil she gets the next one and forgets the first. She wont really understand whats going on this year, but she will next year.
I stand in the doorway of the kitchen in the place Buffy and I now call home. No ones noticed me standing here yet, but I dont mind. Buffys enough of a host for both of us. She is talking seriously to Giles and her mother about something at the moment. Willow is making a fuss over Mira, who basks at the attention as she runs around the kitchen in her walker, going from person to person.
Mira spots me first and squeals in delight, running across the kitchen as fast as the walker will let her. I scoop her up before it can collide with my legs, which it does anyway and I wince slightly. Mira giggles.
Buffy turns as she hears her daughter. She smiles when she sees that I've joined the party and for a moment I rejoice in my good fortune. To think that I came so close to missing this
I find happiness in so many places now, its a good thing that I cant loose my soul. Its found in occasions like today, when friends come together and Im no longer an outsider. Its found in my loves eyes when she smiles just for me. Its found in my daughters innocence and unconditional love.
Mira squirms in my arms, and I smile at her. "Dada", she says in an insistent way that she must have learned from her mother.
"Alright, little miracle", I say, and return her to her walker to tear across the kitchen again. Thats what she is my little miracle, an incredible child who almost never came to be. She has her mothers golden hair, and already I can see glimpses of the girl she will become. I think she has her mothers strength, too, but only time will tell. She certainly has her mothers spirit.
When night comes, though, thats when I know she is her fathers daughter. She listens to me tell stories she couldnt possibly understand with serious eyes. I love her every moment of every day, but those moments are special. That is when I feel closest to the tiny gem that I am proud to call my daughter. I think night is her time, just as it has always been Buffys and mine.
I watch Mira play now, weaving in between the furniture and peoples legs, and I know I am truly blessed. She sees me watching her and grins. She has her fathers eyes.
You are the new day