"Do you think we'll ever be a real family again?" Buffy asked Angel softly, picking at her food.
Angel watched her lack of eating, frowning. She hadn't eaten much at all lately, and with the baby, she really needed to. Scooping up some carrot pieces on a fork, he fed them to her as though she was a young child. "I know we will. Without a doubt."
Buffy took the fork from Angel and stabbed a broccoli stalk, chewing it slowly. "What do you think of Voldina?"
Angel was thoughtful as he poured a glass of apple juice for his lover. "It's different. What does it mean?"
" 'Lost a child'," Buffy informed him, and then burst into tears, running out of the room, Angel following her.
"I don't want to go," Buffy moaned, struggling to buckle Hanna into the stroller.
"C'mon, Buff, be a player," Faith prodded. "We're going to get their sorry asses."
"But Angel's not back yet," Buffy protested, growling at the stroller belt.
Faith knelt down beside Buffy and easily closed the belt around Hanna's waist. "He's meeting us there, okay?"
Buffy sighed. "Faith, I am extremely pregnant and due in three weeks. I'm tired, I'm hormonal, I have three children - two under the age of four - to deal with already, and my ex-boyfriend is a lunatic who wants my kid. I'm not in a good mood and I don't want to deal with this!"
Faith dangled her car keys in front of Buffy's face. "C'mon, I'm driving. Spike's waiting. You don't want him to snack on Riley, now do you? Wait, maybe you do." She shook her head. "Whatever. Come ON!"
"We're DRIVING?" Buffy cried in frustration, yanking Hanna right through the seatbelt and out of the stroller.
"Whoa, calm down," Faith requested, taking Hanna from Buffy. "We're going to get this all settled today. His wife's going to be there."
"He's MARRIED? When did you find all this out?!"
"Oh ... a few weeks ago."
"How?" Buffy demanded.
"Let's just say ... I know things like this."
"Great," Buffy muttered, shaking her head. "You probably threatened them and now they're going to sue us."
Faith's lack of response didn't comfort Buffy at all.
Buffy bounced Hanna on her lap nervously, waiting for Angel to arrive. Hunter was sitting between Harrison and Willow on the couch, and the latter was sipping an ice-cold lemonade, arguing with Spike about how many weeks she had till she was due.
"So," Buffy began conversationally, looking from Riley to Lindsey, "I heard you're married."
"That's right," Riley responded curtly.
"Congratulations," Buffy gritted out. "How long?"
"How did you two meet?"
"Why do you care?" Riley snarled back.
Buffy was taken aback. "I was trying to make small talk, I'm SORRY."
"My friend is a cop like her. He set us up on a blind date five years ago."
Buffy nodded numbly. "How nice." She took a deep breath, then let it out. "Any kids?"
Riley smiled with pride. "She's expecting in August."
"How nice," Buffy repeated, then added hoarsely, "I hope, for her sake, and for your baby's sake, that you never have to go through what you're putting us through."
"I won't," Riley snapped back. "Unlike SOME people, there's no chance that the baby belongs to anyone else. We're monogamous."
"I'm sure you are," Buffy whispered. Before anyone had the chance to say anything else, the door opened and Angel stepped inside, heading straight for Buffy's arms.
"How tactful," Faith murmured, but her smile was joking.
Buffy smiled slightly, kissing Angel tenderly and then looking at everyone else. "So ... should we talk?"
"No." Buffy was surprised to hear Riley negate her suggestion.
"Why not?" she asked, her voice conveying her bewilderment.
"I'm waiting for my wife to arrive," he told her sharply, drumming his hands on the table. "We can't proceed until she's here."
"Yeah, she was never here before," Buffy threw back. "She probably doesn't even know."
"She was in Japan, training," Riley cut in, speaking through clenched teeth. "Now she's back, because she discovered she was pregnant. Not that it's any of your business."
"Then don't share," came Buffy's harsh reply.
Riley hesitated in responding when he door opened, and a tall blond entered the room tiredly, sitting down without even glancing at anyone.
"This is my wife, --"
"Kate," Angel finished quietly, looking at the cop.
Riley and Buffy both got wide-eyed. "You've met?" Riley asked Angel.
"We were acquaintances in LA ..." Kate trailed off. "These are the people?"
"These are the people," Riley confirmed deftly.
Kate put her head in her hands, breathing deeply. "Let me see if I've got this right. Angel and his wife," she motioned to Buffy, "Are the people who apparently have your son. Harrison." She glanced at the boy as she spoke.
"Precisely," Riley agreed, nodding.
Kate groaned. "Okay." She turned to Angel. "And your side is ..."
"He is Buffy and my son."
"He's lying," Riley cut in angrily, and Kate held up a hand to shush him.
"Riley ... why do you say he's yours?"
"He is," Riley growled. "I explained it. The months. Nine months. He's blond, like me. It all makes sense."
"It doesn't make sense," his wife negated gently. "Are you not happy? With me, with our unborn child? Are you not happy with your life?"
"Kate ... how can you say that?" Riley asked in disbelief, grasping her hand across the table. "I'm utterly happy."
"Then why would you accuse them of something like that?" Kate questioned bitterly.
Riley's jaw dropped. "You don't ... you don't believe THEM, do you?"
Kate didn't answer, nor did she look him in the eye.
"How can you believe ... THEM ... over me? Your own husband?" Riley spat out at his lover.
"I love you, Riley," Kate murmured gently. "More than anything. I don't necessarily think that your lying. I've been a cop for a long time, I've seen cases like this go down. And this is Angel."
"Whose word you would take over mine."
"It's not like that, Riley, don't think that. I know Angel. If he says Harrison is his, then he is." She glanced at Angel, then back at her husband. "I know Angel always wants to do the right thing. If Harrison wasn't his, he would admit it, no matter how badly it hurt him to do that."
"How can Angel be sure?" Riley asked his wife. "Without DNA tests ..."
"I sometimes though he had some kind of freaky sixth sense," Kate admitted with a laugh. "I don't know what makes him who he is. I don't know what makes anyone who they are. But Riley ..." She reached her hand across the table, brushing his sandy-blond hair from his face, "Think about what this is putting them through, even the idea of having their child ripped away from them." She felt her throat constrict painfully as she continued. "I lost my father, Riley, don't make Harrison lose his."
Riley felt his heart break at his wife's pain, but pushed out the questions held inside. "But what if he is mine?" He whispered. "What if he is and I never know it?"
"He's not, Riley, but even if he was ... it's not your family. This is your family now. I'M your family," she stressed. "And I need you, Riley. I need you to be here and support me and our child 100%, not with half your mind on your ex-girlfriend and what could have been."
Riley stood up, not glancing at a glaring Lindsey, and sat next to his wife, holding his hands tightly in hers. "I'm going to be there for you, Kate. I'll always be here for you."
"Does this mean ... you're willing to let go of the past?" She choked out uncertainly.
Riley took a moment before he answered. "Yes," he finally put out. "Yes ... I'm willing to let go." He stood up, moving to stand in front of Buffy. He patted Hanna gently on the head. "You have three beautiful children," he told her gruffly.
She gave him a tiny smile. "Thank you."
"Both of you," Riley continued, looking to Angel. "I don't really know what to say, about the past few months." He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. "Kate is the most important person in my life. And if she says Angel isn't lying ... then he isn't. So I guess what I'm saying is ... I'm sorry." He tugged a strand of Buffy's hair affectionately. "I could go on forever about what might have been, what I thought had been, but there's no point." He moved back over to stand with Kate, wrapping his arms around her and placing his hands on the slight bump of her belly. "Kate is my life," he repeated carefully. "Now and always."
"The last few months of my life have been, in a word, Hell," Buffy informed him, her voice not angry but sad. "I didn't know you had the ability to rip it apart like that, for all of us, and I don't know why. But I need to move on. For me, for my children, for my husband. And I'm going to. It'll never be erased, but it will be forgiven, in time, eventually. Not today, or tomorrow, or the next day, but someday." Buffy stood up, passing Hanna to Angel and then taking hold of his hand, threading their fingers together. "Congratulations on your baby, both of you ... and I wish you the best in life."
Buffy cradled the baby in her arms limply. She was red in the face and sweaty, but happy all the same.
Angel stroked her cheek gently, watching the sleeping girl. "What should we name her?"
"What do you think of Heidi? It means noble and kind."
"Heidi," Angel repeated, looking at the tiny baby with a mess of dark hair. "I like it."
"Harrison suggested a middle name I really liked. Shakira. Thankful."
"Heidi Shakira." Angel stroked his new daughter's head gently, and then kissed Buffy's cheek. "We have a lot to be thankful. Heidi Shakira it is."
She smiled sweetly, leaning her head up for a kiss. "I love you."
"I love you, too," he echoed, his passionate voice melting her heart. "And I'm so proud of you."
"I'm proud of all of us," she whispered, blowing on Heidi's hair. "Thank you for being there. And for being calm and collected. And for knowing Kate, for that matter."
Angel chuckled and kissed her forehead. "You're my angel, you know that?"
Buffy licked her lips. "I know. Now kiss me already."
Angel didn't need to be told twice, leaning carefully over his daughter to press his lips to Buffy's in an unyielding kiss.
Setup: It's the future and Buffy and Angel are married (yea!) but demons of the past are threatening to tear them apart.
- Doyle has to be alive.
- Xander/Anya, Cordelia/Doyle, and Willow/Oz are togheter.
- Buffy and Angel have three children and at lest one must be a little girl.
- Joyce is NOT in it.
- Riley comes back into Buffy's life after fifteen years and he's causing problems for Buffy and Angel.
- Riley's the villain in the story.
- Buffy and Angel MUST end up together at the end.
- It must be somebody's birthday and someone else get drunk and singing a very-off key redition of 'happy birthday'.
- Someone (Cordleia, Anya, Willow, or Buffy) must be pregnant.
- Spike, I love him.
- A teddy bear.
- Pink roses.
- A flashback to Buffy and Angel's wedding.
- And, a friendship candel. (you know the kind with the charms inside?)
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