A Little Girl
own not. Well, anything not on BtVS and Angel I do own, but other
than that, they're Joss' and Aerosmith's and that's all I can
think of now, but if there's anything else, I don't own them
Buffy touched her swollen belly. "Not many more days, baby," she whispered to the unborn child growing within her, "until you're not mine anymore." She choked back a sob as she rubbed her belly again. She often dreamed of what it would be like if she kept this child. She'd be playing in the park, pushing the small child in a swing, smiling and happy, then someone, Angel, would call her name and she'd turn. When she turned back to her child, she was gone. She searched frantically for her, but she knew that she would never find her. Collapsing to the ground in a fit of tears she would weep uncontrollably, screaming out for her baby and then she would wake up. And then she'd remember her mother and Giles' words.
"Buffy, you're the slayer. I have no doubt that you'd be an excellent mother, but your duty . . . it is not the place for a child."
"Listen to Mr. Giles, honey. Do you really want your baby to live the life that you hate so much? There are many wonderful people out there who can love her just as much as you could, but they . . . they can guarantee that she won't be kidnapped by a demon out to get you."
They were right. No matter how much it killed her, they were right. Just like Angel was right when he left her. They were right.
"I'm so sorry, baby. I'm so sorry."
* * * * *
"Push!" the doctor told her.
"What do you think I'm doing?!?" Buffy spat as she pushed.
"Come on, Buffy, you can do it!" Willow encouraged. Willow was her coach seeing as Buffy didn't know who the father was and Riley had left as soon as he found out that she was pregnant, claiming that there wasn't a chance that it was his; they had always used protection plus her birth control pill.
"I can't, Will, it's too hard. It's too hard," she moaned.
"One more push, Buffy. One more," the doctor told her.
"You can do it. I know you can. One more push and it's all over," Willow said to her, wiping the beads of sweat from her head.
Buffy leaned up into the stirrups for one final push.
"Ahhhhh!" she yelled as she pushed. Her scream was answered by a tiny wail.
"Congratulations, Buffy. It's a girl," the doctor said as they cleaned the baby up
"Is she okay?" Buffy asked.
"She's perfect," the doctor answered, "she's perfect."
* * * * *
"Guys, can I have a moment alone with her? Before . . . ," Buffy asked quietly as her daughter was passed around. The gang nodded sadly as they watched Buffy cradle the tiny infant for the last time and left quietly.
"Hi, baby," she whispered, taking the baby's tiny fingers in her own. "You know, I love you. I'll always love you. It doesn't matter where you are or where I am, I'll always be your mommy and you'll always be mine." She wiped her tears away as she started singing softly to her child.
I could stay
awake just to hear you breathing
I don't wanna
close my eyes
"I don't want to, love, but I have to. I hope you understand. I hope you know that I love you more than you could ever realize," Buffy wept.
"Buffy, would you like me to come back later?" the woman from the adoption agency asked from the doorway.
"No. If you don't take her now, I won't let you take her at all," Buffy whispered as she gave up her child, "Please go." The woman nodded and hurried out of the room as Buffy's tears became muffled sobs.
* * * * *
"Here is the child," the woman said, "you've arranged everything?"
"Yes, I've arranged everything," he answered as the child was given to him and looked back at her, "In utmost secrecy."
"Yes, of course, not a word. Out of curiosity, do you know the family?" the woman asked.
"Yes. It's her father," Giles answered as he whisked to baby away to L.A.
Angel sat in his office going through some papers while Cordelia clicked away at the computer. She was processing and paying bills. Wesley sat in the leather couch researching their latest 'client'.
"Cordelia, where's the Westing file?" Angel called from his office.
"Duh, under 'S'!" she shouted back.
"Why 'S'?" he asked.
"Sleftian demon, Angel! We fought a big sleftian demon for him, remember?" she yelled back.
"Thanks," he yelled back, muttering some choice words about her filing under his breath after he located the file. He sat back down at his desk only to jump out of it hearing a loud bang at the front door.
"Well, dang, if it ain't Angel's friendly staff of demon hunters doin' a little research!" Gunn's booming voice resonated through the room.
"Hey, Gunn," Cordy muttered, not looking up from the monitor.
Angel stood in the doorway of his office , stake in hand, ready to pounce. "Gunn? What do you want?" Angel asked slightly irritated that he had to get up.
"What? You can't help a brother out every once in a while? How many times have you shown up on my turf and asked for my exceptional abilities to help your sorry butt?" Gunn asked. Angel eyed him, "Fine, I'm bored, man. Where's the action?" Angel didn't answer. He wasn't paying attention. Cordelia looked up and saw the familiar look in his eyes.
"Uh-oh," she said, "Here she comes." He could feel her, Buffy. She was near.
"Who?" Gunn asked. No one answered him as they watched Angel cautiously. The last time Buffy showed up had resulted in yelling and helicopters and prison. There was a small knock on the door before it was pushed open.
"Hello?" Giles' voice called.
"Giles, where's Buffy?" Angel asked, finally speaking.
"In Sunnydale, Angel," he answered, holding a small bundle.
"But, I can feel her. She's nearby," Angel whispered, trying to mask the pain in his voice.
"No, Angel. I can assure you she's in Sunnydale. You're feeling your daughter," Giles replied, lifting up part of the blanket to reveal a sleeping child in his arms.
* * * * *
"Angel, look at her," Giles replied quietly, "she's yours. You felt her. She's your daughter. I don't know how, but she is."
"But Giles, Buffy and I, we never, except for the one time and . . . ," Angel whispered, remembering Thanksgiving, "vampires can't have children."
"I don't know the logistics of it, Angel. Al I know is that this is your child. We both know it," Giles said, "I have to go back to Sunnydale now. No one knows that I've brought her here. Everyone, Buffy, Joyce, everyone thinks that she is being placed in a family by an adoption agency. Raise her for the both of you. For you and Buffy because she is yours. Together." He looked at the brooding vampire one last time before turning.
"Giles," Angel asked causing the man to turn back around, "how old is she?"
"Four days old, Angel. Take good care of her," Giles replied and left.
* * * * *
"Have you not entered her dreams and she yours?" the Oracle asked.
"Every night," Angel whispered.
"It does not matter how she was created, Warrior. She was. Raise her as the Watcher said. Know that she is your child. Your child with the Slayer through your dreams," the other Oracle said before Angel was thrown back out into the room under the post office.
"Well, what happened?" Cordy asked, holding the baby.
"She's mine like Giles said. Mine to raise," he answered taking the baby from her.
"She needs a name then," Cordy said, looking at him matter-a-factly.
"Uh, well, suggestions?" he asked, holding the small miracle.
"Well, you should name her something pretty and different like Aspen or Peyton or Briar," Cordelia suggested.
"Peyton. I like Peyton," Angel replied, knowing that it was a name that Buffy would like.
Five years later
"Peyton!" Angel called as he entered his apartment, anticipating the bounding five year old as she jumped up into his arms and kissed his cheek. He smiled at Cordy as she went upstairs.
"Hi, Daddy," she said, giving him an irresistible smile. She smiled just like her mother, her green eyes sparkled the exact same way Buffy's always had whenever she smiled.
"Hey, baby. Did you have a good day with Aunt Cordy today?" he asked as they plopped down on the couch.
"Yeah. First we went shopping and Aunt Cordy let me wear make-up. Then she took me to lunch at a really fancy restaurant and we met that one lady on the TV, you know, Daddy, the one with the long pretty hair? She was really nice and she bought me an ice cream for dessert. And then we came home and brought you a special treat," she said without taking a breath.
"A special treat?" he asked mischievously.
"Yeah, blood sausage," she answered, wrinkling up her nose, "It looks icky, Daddy, but Aunt Cordy said you would like it 'cuz it had blood in it so I said we should get it for you." Angel just grinned and shook his head. Peyton knew what her daddy was and knew that there were 'bad things' that Daddy had to fight so she would be safe and so one day she could meet her mommy.
"Well, Sweetie, that was very thoughtful of you," he said, kissing her forehead, "I'm glad you had fun today."
"What did you do today, Daddy?" she asked, shifting positions so that he could brush her soft brown hair.
"Well, I went and talked to a man about a new job and then I thought about you and all the fun you were having with Aunt Cordy and then I went to Uncle Wesley's and we read some really boring books and then I thought about you some more and then I decided that I couldn't be away from you any longer so I came home," he answered, moving the brush gently through her hair.
"Oh. I bet my day was better," Peyton said.
"I bet it was, too," he grinned.
"Angel!" Cordy yelled from the upstairs office.
"What?" he answered as she came down the stairs.
"Phone," she said nervously, "It's Buffy." Angel looked at her surprised. They hadn't heard from anyone in Sunnydale since that fateful day five years ago when Giles brought Peyton.
"Honey, why don't you go with Aunt Cordy and help her with the messages while I talk on the phone," Angel said lifting her off the couch. Cordelia offered her hand and took Peyton upstairs. As he picked up the phone, he heard his daughter's voice.
"Aunt Cordy, who's Buffy?" He didn't hear Cordelia's answer.
"Angel. Hi," she said, her voice shaking
"Buffy, what's wrong?" he asked gently, squeezing his eyes shut and running his hand through his hair.
"Uh, well, we're having a problem with this demon. No one seems to know anything about it and I was thinking, hoping, that you would. Since you know about demons and stuff," she said, hoping that he wouldn't hear the pain in her voice at hearing his voice.
"What do you know?" he asked. He listened as she filled him in on what they knew and what they were looking into, but it wasn't much.
"So, that's it," she said.
"I'll see what I can find," he answered, "and I'll let you know."
"Okay. And Angel . . . ," she began.
"You're good?" she asked quietly.
"You know me, I deal," she answered.
"Well, I gotta run. The gang is giving me hostile looks," she said.
"Okay, I'll talk to you later," he answered.
"Angel . . . I love you," she said, waiting breathlessly at the other end.
"I love you, too, Buffy. Always," he replied.
"Bye," she replied.
"Bye." He hung up the phone and sighed.
"Well?" Cordy practically screeched as she and Peyton came back down.
"Demon trouble," he answered picking up his little girl.
"Nothing about . . . ," she asked, eyeing Peyton.
"No. Just the demon," he answered.
"Daddy, who's Buffy?" Peyton piped up. Cordelia apparently didn't tell her anything.
"An old friend of mine that I haven't seen in a long time. I used to help her fight the bad things," he answered.
"Oh. Can I meet her?" she asked.
"Maybe, little one, maybe," he answered, kissing her hair.
* * * * *
Hours later after they had put Peyton to bed, they began researching.
"Angel, I don't seem to be finding anything. There isn't much information to go on," Wesley said, taking his glasses off.
"I know, we need more," Angel responded, rubbing his temples.
"Well, maybe we'll get lucky and the PTB will send me a vision," Cordelia said sarcastically before hunching over in pain. "I really need to be careful wishing for things like that," she muttered after it was over.
"Was it what we needed?" Wesley asked.
"Oh, yeah," she replied, "Big, ugly demon fighting Buffy and she wasn't doing too well." Angel nodded and delved deeper into their research.
An hour later, Wesley looked up from his book and eyed Angel, "Oh, dear." He handed the large, musty book over to the vampire and watched for any emotion. Angel looked up at the two of them.
"Looks like I get to go to Sunnydale."
"Why can't I go with you, Daddy?" Peyton asked again, her big green eyes brimming with tears
"Because I don't want you to get hurt. I'll only be gone a little while and you get to play with Aunt Cordy and Uncle Wesley and Uncle Gunn. You'll have fun, I promise," Angel said, hugging his daughter.
"Okay," she said weakly. Angel smiled at her and wiped her tears away before kissing her and giving her to Cordelia.
"I'll be home really soon," Angel said before slipping out the door.
* * * * *
An hour and a half later he was standing in front of Giles' apartment. When he finally got the nerve to knock on the door it swung open.
"We were all wondering when you'd knock," Willow said, smiling at him before leaning in to give him a quick hug. He smiled hesitantly back at her and looked around the room. Xander was sitting at Giles' bar, drinking a coke. Oz was quietly strumming his guitar on the couch where Willow took her seat next to him. Buffy was standing in the middle of the room. Her blond hair shorter than it had been since he last saw her, brushing her shoulders.
"So, I'm guessing there's dire. You're here," Buffy said quietly.
"Yeah. You might say that," he answered, meeting her gaze. How much Peyton looked like her. The same eyes, the same smile . . .
"How are you, Angel? Everything well?" Giles interrupted his thoughts.
"Good," he answered, knowing he meant his little girl.
"Okay, what's with the cryptic? Please share," Xander said, turning away from the counter.
"Uh, Cordelia had a vision after you called and that helped with the research. We figured out what the demon is and what it does. It's Ferian. The first demon to break through the barrier between this realm and the demon one." Angel began the long tale involving the demon.
* * * * *
"So, that's it?" Buffy asked.
"Yeah, pretty much," Angel answered. The gang looked overwhelmed.
"So, if this demon succeeds, what will happen?" Xander asked.
"The world will be covered in darkness, overrun by demons, and human beings will be served as meals at a banquet," Angel answered.
"Oh. Just clearing the 'banquet' part up 'cause that's the part that makes me want to run and hide," Xander stated.
"How do we kill it?" Buffy asked quietly, "I'm thinking force won't be the big key." Angel shook his head in answer. He didn't know how to kill it.
* * * * *
Half an hour later, he and Buffy were sweeping the cemeteries quickly before she went home and he went to the mansion.
"So, how's L.A.?" she asked, trying to break the tension between them. Little did she know, it made it all the worse for Angel. Their daughter was in L.A.
"It's good. Full of demons, but otherwise good," he answered.
"That's good," she replied.
"Yeah." They turned and looked at each other, sparks dancing between them as it had many years before; before such sparks were forbidden between them.
"I'm gonna go now. I think everything's okay for tonight, so . . . ," she began.
"I'll walk you home," he interrupted. She nodded. Ten minutes later they were standing in front of her apartment.
"Well, night," she said quietly.
"Goodnight, Buffy," he replied before turning and walking away to the mansion.
* * * * *
She was back in the park. Pushing the empty swing, waiting for her daughter to come back. Tears swam in her eyes and she waited. The sun had set and she was watching a tall figure playing with a child in the distance. She tried to go to them, but her feet started sinking in the sand. "No, my baby!" she cried over and over again, "My baby!"
Buffy woke up drenched in her own sweat. Clutching her knees, she cried. For the first time since she had finally let go of her daughter, she was dreaming about her again. "Why?" she whispered to herself, "why?"
"Hi, Daddy!" Peyton squealed on the phone, "Are you coming home yet?"
"Not yet, but soon I promise. Are you having fun?" Angel asked, picturing his little girl.
"Yeah. Me and Aunt Cordy played Barbies yesterday and today she said that we were gonna go see a movie," she answered.
"That sounds like fun. Can I talk to her?"
"Yeah. Aunt Cordy! Daddy wants to talk to you!" she yelled. Cordelia picked up the phone and waited til she heard the click on the other end.
"Hey. So what's up?" she asked.
"Well, there's no sign of the demon yet and nobody knows anything about Peyton, except for Giles of course. I don't know how long it's gonna take," he sighed.
"It's okay, Angel. We'll be fine. You have nothing to worry about. Save the gang and come home when you can," Cordy replied.
"I know. Oh, don't take her to anything rated higher than PG. Last time you took her to a movie she had nightmares for days," Angel instructed.
"Don't worry. We're going to the new Disney. I'll talk to you in a few days," she said and hung up the phone. Angel looked at the phone, sighing before he hung it up. Being here with Buffy was hard. He hadn't realized a lot of Peyton's little idiosyncrasies were Buffy's too.
"Angel?" Buffy's voice came from the corridor, shaking him out of his daze.
"In here," he answered as she came into the room.
"Morning," she said, brandishing two cups of coffee and another bag which she gave to him. It was blood.
"Thanks. So, what's up?" he asked.
"Nothing. I didn't know if you had any blood and I thought you might get hungry," she said sitting herself across from him.
"Thanks. Anything new?" he replied again, taking a sip of the still hot coffee she had given him.
"No, but I guess that's a good, right? Unless it's the calm before the storm, right? Then we'd be in trouble," she answered. He nodded his head in return.
"Uh, I'm gonna go back to Giles' and see if there's anything new. Then I have to go to work, but do you wanna patrol with me again tonight? I'd like the backup," she asked, hesitating.
"Sure. I'll meet you at the cemetery at sundown," he answered.
She nodded, standing up. "Okay," and left for Giles'.
* * * * *
He was at the cemetery waiting for her. Listening to the sounds around him. He turned.
"Hey," he said when he saw her.
"How did you know I was there? I was trying to be stealthy," she smiled.
"After a hundred years of lurking, it's hard not to notice the sounds that go with the shadows," he answered, smiling back as he thought of just how much she smiled like Peyton. "Did Giles have anything new?"
"No, but he said he's beep me . . . ," she stopped, looking around, she motioned for him to be quiet.
"Something's not right," he whispered to her.
"I know, I feel it," she replied. They looked at each other and waited for whatever it was to come. A wind picked up and whipped Buffy's hair in her face. She stood and as Angel stood next to her, the wind swirled around them.
"What is it?" Buffy yelled.
"I don't . . . ," he trailed off, looking behind her. She turned and there he was. Ferian.
"Fools!" it seethed, "you actually think you can stop it! You think that I don't know of your power and most importantly, your weaknesses? I have been watching you! You came to stop me vampire? From hurting people you love? Who's gonna stop the one's I've sent to your home?" Angel's stomach lurched. Peyton. He roared at the demon and launched himself towards it, but it was gone in a brilliant flash of light, blinding the both of them.
When Buffy got her bearings she ran over to Angel. She'd never seen such fear in his eyes. "What? Angel, you okay? He's gonna hurt Cordelia?"
"Yeah. Phone," he gasped as she handed him her phone.
"Gunn, tell them to pack some things and get here now! I want them here yesterday, okay!" he barked into the phone.
"Yeah, man, everything okay?" Gunn asked, knowing that he meant Peyton most particularly.
"No," he whispered, "just get them here."
Angel was pacing. Buffy and the gang watched him nervously. They were all at the mansion discussing and waiting. As soon as Angel heard the car he ran outside, the rest of them following.
Angel ran. As soon as he saw the car door open and Peyton bounded out towards him, he sighed in relief.
"Daddy!" she yelled as they ran towards each other. He picked her up and hugged her to him, not noticing the looks of wonder on everyone's face. Cordelia got out of the car with Wesley and Gunn waiting for the explosion.
"Peyton," Angel whispered into her hair as he held her tightly, "you okay?"
"Yeah, Daddy. I'm okay," she whispered back. Angel turned towards the gang.
"Angel?" Buffy questioned before passing out.
* * * * *
"So, you gonna explain?" Buffy asked. They had taken her inside after she fainted and waited for her to wake up before Angel started explaining.
"I saved her, but her family . . . they didn't make it," he lied, holding his sleeping daughter in his arms, "She has a high intelligence and special abilities. She's a target and her family couldn't protect her. They died trying. No mortal family could, so I took her. She was only a baby when it happened, but they could already tell that she was . . . not normal."
"Oh," Buffy answered quietly. The little girl was about the age her own little girl would be. It hurt thinking that Angel had raised this girl while she wasn't raising her own, wishing that she was here so the two could play.
"We're gonna go to bed, now, so okay," Xander said indicating that everyone was going. They had decided that it would be better if, for the time being, they all stayed at the mansion, close by. The house was big enough and everyone had a room. They all began going upstairs to bed while Buffy stood quietly looking at the little girl.
"I'm gonna put her in my room down here, so you can have any of the empty rooms," Angel said, standing up and walking towards his bedroom door.
"Yeah, okay," she said heading for the stairs. Angel watched at Buffy climbed the stairs until she was out of sight.
"Come on, love, let's put you in bed," he whispered, brushing Peyton's hair out of her face. He walked into the bedroom and put her on the bed, tucking her in. He kissed her forehead as he heard his name.
"Sleep tight, love," he whispered and then answered, "What?" He came out of the bedroom to find Giles standing in the living room.
"I think we should talk," he said.
"Okay. Outside. I don't want to wake anyone," Angel said.
Giles walked outside and stood on the front walk while Angel followed and shut the door behind him.
"You brought her here?" Giles said, anger apparent in his voice.
"Yes," Angel answered.
"That was a poor choice and you know it," Giles retorted.
"What was I supposed to do?" Angel fumed, "Wait for Cordelia to call saying that my child had been kidnaped and killed? Wait here knowing that this stupid demon was sending assassins after my child? I don't think so Giles. I know it was not a good thing for Buffy to see her even if she doesn't know that Peyton is her child, but I couldn't stand by and let something happen to my daughter; our daughter."
"Angel, she had protection. From what Cordelia has said, Gunn is a very affective demon hunter and Cordelia and Wesley could help as well," Giles stated.
"It's true, but what would you do if you heard that Buffy was in possible danger while you were away? You'd come home immediately even though you know she can handle herself. You wouldn't have let her fight alone! I'm not about to send my child into a fire pit. I do anything to protect her. Even if that means bringing her here and letting Buffy see her!" Angel yelled.
"Yes, well, just make sure she doesn't know anything. She'd never forgive me or her mother if she found out that we'd convinced her to give the baby up and then I brought her to you," Giles answered and walked back inside. Angel stood aghast at what Giles had said. He was more concerned about Buffy hating him. He shook his head and walked back inside.
"I think you should explain, Angel," Willow said. Her resolve face quite apparent.
"Explain what, Willow?" he asked.
"How you got Buffy pregnant and ended up with the baby," she answered. He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, sitting on the couch.
"I don't know exactly how it happened, but in early June of 2000, Buffy and I began having dreams together again. She would come to me in my dreams and we would make love. Happy, like we always wanted. We were together and we knew that it was forever, if only in a dream world. In the morning when I woke up, I would reach for her, but of course she wasn't there and I'd realize that it was just a dream. About two weeks later, those dreams, they stopped. Abruptly. She still was in my dreams, but those dreams stopped. Nine months later, Giles gave Peyton to me," Angel explained, "I went to the Oracles, higher beings, and they said that it didn't matter how she was conceived. She was and she was mine. Ours. And I was to raise her. They only told me that it was through the dreams."
"She got pregnant in mid-June," Willow said quietly, "She thought it was Riley's and even though she loved him she didn't want to have his baby. When she told him he left her. He said that they had always used protection, plus she was on birth control. It had to be someone else's. She just didn't know who. She kept saying it was an immaculate conception, meant to be, but then Giles and her mother convinced her that she shouldn't keep it, that it would end up living the life she hated so much. She listened. I didn't want her to, but she gave her baby up. I've never seen her cry so much, Angel. Except the day you left."
"I had to, Willow," he whispered.
"I know, Angel and I'm not blaming you. Despite how much it hurt her, she knew you were right, but now she has the right to know about her daughter. You have to tell her, Angel. I think she started dreaming about her again. She used to have dreams that she's be playing with the baby and then she'd be gone. They finally stopped about six months after the adoption, but I think they've started again. She has the same look in her eyes. You have to tell her," Willow said, "You have to." She got up and looked at him, not wishing his pain on her worst enemy, and went up to bed.
Angel watched as his friend went upstairs and then he walked quietly into his own bedroom where Peyton lay sleeping. He undressed, pulling a white tank top on with his boxers and climbed in bed next to his daughter. He didn't sleep, he just watched her.
Buffy woke up slightly before dawn. Her head was pounding. She rolled over and looked out the open window watching the twilight hours dwindle away in preparation for the sunrise. She sighed, thinking about the little girl downstairs in Angel's room, her own little girl, and how much she missed Angel. She climbed out of bed and padded out of her room downstairs. Angel was up. She could hear him in the kitchen talking with Cordelia. She looked around at the familiar room. She hadn't been in the mansion for such a long time, but it was still the same. Her eyes caught on the open door to Angel's room. Quietly, she walked into his room, relishing in the memories of stolen kisses and post- patrol naps in that very room. She looked over to the bed where Angel's little girl, Peyton, lay.
"Hi, little one," she whispered, watching her sleep. She knelt down by the side of the bed and pushed a strand of hair out of Peyton's face. She was sleeping soundly and Buffy just watched her. She felt an urge to hold the sleeping child as she watched her, but stopped herself, reminding herself that this was Angel's little girl. Her little girl was sleeping in a bed far from here. Safe from her life.
* * * * *
Angel had heard Buffy come down the stairs. He went into the living room and was surprised that she wasn't there. Then he heard a voice whispering in his bedroom. He walked over to the doorway quietly and watched as Buffy sang softly to their daughter. She was kneeling next to the bed and Angel didn't think that there was a more beautiful sight than his love and their child. He watched for a moment more and turned away, heading back to the kitchen.
"What?" Cordelia asked as he returned.
"Buffy's in my room with Peyton," he answered quietly, "Willow wants me to tell her."
"Well, what do you think you should do?" she asked, taking a bite of the eggs he had made.
"She deserves to know, but she doesn't deserve the pain that will come with it," he answered, sitting down next to his friend.
"Angel, you've raised that little girl for five years. She is your daughter and you have to make the choice. You told Peyton that one day she'd meet her mother. She has, but neither of them know it. You have to listen to your heart. It'll tell you what to do," Cordelia said.
"How did you get to be so wise?" he asked, smiling at her.
"Well, working for a brooding vampire causes a person to think a little more than some would like," she teased.
"Morning, everyone," Buffy said as she came quietly into the kitchen.
"Buffy," Angel said, standing up, "Uh, breakfast?"
"You cook?" she asked incredulously.
"You'd be surprised," Cordy said, "he makes a mean omelette."
"Sure," Buffy said, "Spanish?"
"Sure," Angel answered, getting out the food that he'd had Cordelia buy to make Buffy a Spanish omelette. Buffy sat at the table with Cordelia watching Angel as he made breakfast. Silence passed the moments and soon Angel was done.
"Thanks," she said taking a bite and then looking up at him with surprise in her eyes before mumbling a word about it's taste.
"Daddy!" Peyton called as she ran into the kitchen.
"Hey, pumpkin!" he said, scooping her up into his arms, "Did you have a good sleep?"
"Yep," she answered, "can I have Ego waffles for breakfast?"
"Yeah," he laughed as he pulled a new box of the waffles out of the freezer. They were her favorite. Angel put a few in the toaster and talked to his daughter while they waited for them to pop up.
Buffy watched the two as Angel held Peyton and they waited for her waffles. She smiled a bittersweet smile, wishing that it was her. After the waffles had popped and were now dripping with butter and syrup the two of them sat down at the table with Buffy and Cordelia.
"I'm gonna go take a shower," Cordy said, giving him an encouraging smile and nod as she walked out of the kitchen.
"Uh, Buffy, I need to tell you something," Angel began.
"Do you remember about five and a half years ago, sometime in early June after the whole Adam problem?" he asked quietly.
"Yeah," she said slowly, remembering the two weeks they had met in her dreams each night.
"Willow told me about the first slayer dreams you guys had and I think this may have something to do with it. We both lost control of our dreams after that, do you remember?" he asked again.
"Yeah," she answered.
"Daddy, can I have more syrup?" Peyton interrupted.
"Yes," he answered, drizzling more onto her waffles, "and then you got pregnant?" The last was whispered at Buffy. She gasped. "How did you know?"
"Peyton. She's your little girl, Buffy. Our little girl," he answered quietly.
Buffy's fork clattered on the table. "How?" she whispered.
"The dreams," he answered simply.
"But that's not possible. They were just dreams," she whispered again.
"But it happened, Buffy. I went to the Oracles after Giles brought her to me. They said that's how it happened," Angel answered, "She's here."
"Giles brought her to you?" she asked.
"Yes. I don't know why he did, but four days after she was born, he brought her to me, saying that he knew she was mine even though he didn't understand how," he answered, "I didn't know how to believe it, but before he came in I could feel her. Just like I can feel you. I thought you were there."
"I can't do this . . . ," she stammered before running out the door.
"Daddy, why was she crying?" Peyton asked.
"Because she's sad, honey. She's your mommy and she missed you," Angel answered kissing her forehead.
"Oh. That was Mommy?" Peyton asked as her father just nodded.
* * * * *
Buffy ran to the park. The park where she always dreamed she was with her daughter. The one that always had an empty swing. She stopped when she got to the playground and sat in the swing.
"How?" she sobbed, "How?"
"Hey, Buff," Xander said quietly as he sat in the swing beside her.
"Hey," she replied.
"So, you wanna talk?" he asked.
"Not really," she answered.
"Come on, Buff. You gotta talk about it. I heard what Angel told you. I was in the other room. It resonates," he said gently.
"How could he, Xand? How could he?" she begged.
"Well, you know Angel, always the noble one," he stated.
"Not Angel. Giles. He took my baby away. Why?" she sobbed.
"Buffy, did you really want to raise a baby in your life?" he said gently.
"No, but she's still mine," she said, wiping her tears, "besides, Angel does the same thing I do. How come he can give her the protection that she needs and I can't?"
"I think that Giles was probably thinking that the demon population seeks you out, Slayer, you. Danger. Angel, well, he does it for redemption in his own quiet way. People don't always want to kill him for the tally mark," Xander said truthfully, "They want to kill him because he gets in the way."
"And I don't?" she retorted.
"Buffy, can you honestly tell me that you wouldn't give up slaying if you could? If you could have that normal life you've always wanted, you'd take it. Angel doesn't have to fight. He could go back to the lurking, shadow guy and just brood, but he does it anyway," he replied.
"You're not helping," she teased. He smiled at her.
"Go back to the mansion, Buffy. You have a little girl to get to know," Xander told her.
"Thanks," she replied giving him a quick hug.
* * * * *
"Angel? Peyton?" she called out once she was back at the mansion. She heard footsteps.
"Hi, Mommy!" Peyton said as she and Angel walked in hand and hand.
"Hi, baby," she said as she kneeled down closer to the five year old's level. She looked at her hesitantly, wanting to hug her, but unsure of how she would react. Instead, Peyton grinned at her, throwing her arms around her neck and kissed her on the cheek. Buffy looked up at Angel with tears in her eyes, thanking him for bringing Peyton and for telling her.
"So, Peyton, what do you like to do?" Buffy asked as she sat on the floor with her daughter.
"Barbies. Aunt Cordy plays with me sometimes if she's not doing the messages or helping daddy fight the bad things," Peyton answered.
"What bad things?" Buffy asked.
"Big, scary, bad things. Daddy has to fight them so I'll be safe and so everyone else will be, too," she stated and then motioned for Buffy to come closer, "Daddy's a vampire." Buffy looked at her wide-eyed, unable to believe that Angel had told her that.
"Yes, I know. But he's a good one, right?" Buffy asked.
"Yeah. Daddy said that most vampires are mean and they like to bite people, but Daddy doesn't. He drinks the blood from the meat man," Peyton said as she climbed into Buffy's lap and then turned to face her, wrinkling her nose, "and blood sausage." Buffy laughed.
"What's funny?" Angel's voice came from the doorway.
"Hi, Daddy. Mommy thinks it's funny that you like blood sausage," she stated as she ran up to her father to give him a kiss.
"Does she?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at Buffy.
"Peyton, honey, will you go play with Aunt Cordy while I talk to Daddy," Buffy asked, eyeing Angel.
"Okay," she answered, scrambling out of the room, "Aunt Cordy!"
"You told her," it was not a question.
"Yes," Angel said simply.
"Why?" she asked.
"'Cause one day I got mad and she saw my face and ran screaming away from me? No, I told her because I had to, Buffy. She deserves to know what her father is and what he does. She's not like other kids, Buffy. She is overly intelligent and has special abilities, that wasn't a lie. She knows who I am, what I am, and she loves me anyway," Angel replied.
"What did you tell her about her mother?" Buffy whispered.
"That she is a very special woman that her daddy loves very much. That one day, when her mommy was done fighting the bad things, too that she would meet her. That she is the most beautiful woman in the world and that I cry sometimes because I miss her so much," Angel answered softly.
"Angel, we have a child. How are we going to do this?" she asked.
"What do you mean?" he replied.
"Do you want to do a joint custody thing where you have her half the time and I have her half the time? Or do you expect me to just walk out of her life? I won't do that again, Angel. I just got her back; I'm not giving her up again," Buffy stated.
"I'm not giving her up either, Buffy," he replied, meeting her eyes.
* * * * *
"Whoa, talk about feeling the tension," Xander said as he and the gang crowded in the kitchen while Buffy and Angel argued in the living room.
"Well, Angel's raised her for five years, don't you think he should get to have her?" Cordelia stated.
"She's Buffy's daughter, too!" Willow cried.
"They're never going to be happy if they both don't get to have her," Xander stated, silently adding, 'Or each other.'
"Well, as pressing as this matter is, I do believe that we have another urgent problem. Ferian. He is a problem and is not going away," Giles interrupted. Willow turned to face him, anger in her eyes.
"If you hadn't convinced her to give up her baby, none of this would be happening! You took her baby without telling her that you were taking her to Angel!" Willow yelled.
"I thought it best, Willow," Giles said evenly.
"I don't know about you guys, but if I were Buffy, I'd be pretty pissed that people are still make my decisions!" Willow said back.
"I am," Buffy answered from behind her. She and Angel walked into the kitchen after hearing the yelling, "Giles, you had no right to take my daughter to Angel without my permission. She may be his daughter, but she is not yours. I want you to stop assuming that just because you were my watcher, that you are an important person in my life that you know what is ultimately best for me," she turned to Willow, "And Will, I love you and I'm glad you finally realized how much it hurts to know that everyone is making decisions about my life except me. You did it, too. Pushing Riley on me was not a total bad thing, but I knew deep down that it was going too fast, that it would not really be worth it in the end. He left me when I thought I needed him the most.
"Xander, I don't know when it happened, but you finally grew up when it comes to me and Angel. What you told me earlier, you have no idea how much that means to me. It makes up for the fact that you didn't tell me that Willow was going to try the curse again when I sent Angel to Hell. You do realize that I wanted to kill you when I found out, but I was too involved with Riley at the time.
"Oz, thank-you for not making my decisions for me. I'm glad that you never tried.
"As for Angel and I and Peyton, we don't know what we're going to do, but we have a demon to find and destroy. We'll deal with the rest after we save the world. Again."
Angel eyed Buffy from the doorway. She was in the bathroom pulling her hair up into a ponytail. They were discussing Peyton again.
We cant move her back and forth all the time. A weekend here and a weekend there. It wont work, Angel said adding, What happens when she starts school in the fall?
One of us will have to move, Buffy answered simply.
Who? he asked.
You, she answered.
Buffy, Im not moving. I have a life, well, kinda, in LA and its a life with Peyton. She knows her home is there. Shes already asked when we were going home. Besides, why cant you move?
I have a job and slaying and . . . stuff, she said turning towards him.
Stuff? he eyed her.
Yeah, stuff, she answered crisply.
Im not doing this with you now, he said, storming off. Buffy sighed and turned back to the mirror.
Mommy? Peytons voice came from the doorway.
Hey, sweetie. What did you need? she asked, kneeling down.
I wanna go home. With daddy, she said quietly, but you can come with us. Buffys eyes started to fill with tears.
You dont want to stay here? Buffy asked quietly, with mommy?
I want you to come home with me and daddy, she answered, but I want to go home. All my toys are at home. Oh, Buffy replied.
* * * * *
Angel? Buffy said quietly about a half an hour later.
Hmmm? he answered, not looking up from his book of magic and spells.
She can be with you, she whispered, her voice cracking.
What? he said, looking up at her, not believing his ears. She sat down next to him.
She wants to go home. With you, she replied, a tear rolling down her cheek.
Buffy, well work this out, okay? I know how much she means to you. I promise that well work something out so that were all happy, he said quietly, wiping her eyes.
She doesnt want me, Angel. She doesnt want me, she whispered again.
What are you talking about? For as long as she has been able to understand she has asked where her mommy was. She loves you. She loved you before she knew you, he said taking her in his arms.
But she doesnt want to be with me, she said, crying into his shirt.
Buffy, Im the only parent she knows. She knows that youre her mother, but its just barely more than a word to her right now. Home is my apartment, its the only home she knows. She wants you, I promise, he comforted her, Besides, I heard her say that she wanted you to come home with us.
But that doesnt work with us, remember? she said.
No, it doesnt, he answered, silently cursing whoever he could for laying this in their hands.
Buffy? Angel? Willow cried from another room, Are you guys in here? She sounded frantic.
In here, Will, Buffy said as she stood up and wiped her eyes.
The redhead rushed in, a stricken look on her face. We have a new problem, she said.
What could be any worse than the first demon to breach the two realms? Buffy asked tiredly.
Drusilla, Willow answered.
Drusilla had seen them as she walked through Sunnydale. The mean people who took her Spike away from her.
"Soon, Miss Edith we shall find our dear Spike and bring him home," she near giggled to the doll in her arms. She walked on, listening to all the whisperings of the moon as they filled her head.
"Well, look who it is. The Chaos demon not torture you enough?" Spike drawled from behind her
"Spike, my darling," she breathed, "I've found you."
"Yeah, you bloody found me," he answered.
"Come, let's go play. Miss Edith and I made scones to go with our tea," Dru said as she came up next to Spike. He didn't say anything. He was still, in a word, impotent. After the Initiative had blown up the chances of him getting the bloody chip out of his head were next to nil. Drusilla didn't know about his . . . his lack of abilityto prefom.
* * * * *
"Drusilla?" Buffy asked, her eyes wide in surprise.
"Yeah. Oz and I were walking back from Giles' and we saw her and Spike walking down the street," Willow answered.
"Fabulous," Buffy muttered.
"Buffy, we have to get Peyton out of here," Angel said so quietly that she almost didn't hear.
"Why?" she asked.
"If she finds out about her, let's just say that she'll be less than thrilled. Her 'daddy' has another child, that won't please her," Angel answered.
"Oh, my . . . ," Buffy gasped, "you don't think she'd try to . . ."
"She's just crazy enough to do it," he said, his words echoing what he said all those years before about the Judge. Buffy looked at him, fear in her eyes as the tears started to fill them.
"Angel . . . ," she began before a loud pounding at the door interrupted her. Buffy and Angel looked at each other nervously before Willow moved to open the door.
"Be careful, Willow," Angel instructed. She nodded and opened it slowly. Everyone heard a little gasp escape her mouth as she saw who it was. She opened the door further so everyone could see who it was. There, standing in Angel's doorway, was a very infuriated Joyce Summers.
"Mom?" Buffy asked, shocked.
"What's going on, Buffy?" Joyce asked.
"What do you mean?" Buffy replied.
"Why are you here? Why is Angel here?"
"Angel's here to help with this demon, Mom," Buffy answered,
"I asked for his help." Joyce looked at Buffy and then glared at Angel. "I thought that you'd left for good," she stated evenly.
"Buffy needed my help," Angel answered, meeting her gaze unfazed.
"So, you just show up on your white horse like a knight in shining armor when all you'll do is hurt her again?" Joyce shot at him.
"Mom!" Buffy yelled, "You have NO right to talk to him like that. I need his help. Do you understand that?" Joyce opened her mouth in answer, but was cut off by a shrill scream.
"Daddy! Mommy!" Peyton's tiny voice cried from Angel's bedroom.
Both Angel and Buffy bolted to the bedroom. The gang followed closely behind. When they got there Buffy was holding on to Angel with everything she had in her. Her sobs were met by Angel's face contorted in rage and fear. The gang gasped as the realized what had happened.
There on the bed where Peyton had been laying was Miss Edith. Bound and gagged.
Peyton wouldn't look at her. She was crazy. Dru had set up tea and scones for everyone except Miss Edith of course. They were having tea while they waited for Spike to come home.
"Open up, deary. Have some tea," Dru said pouring some tea for the child.
"No," Peyton answered. Dru looked saddened.
"Drusilla?" Spike's voice came from the hall. He walked into the room.
"Spike, my darling. Sister and I are having tea with our friends. Miss Edith was bad, Daddy is punishing her," Dru breathed as she rushed to greet Spike.
"Dru, is that . . . ," he began as he eyed the little girl.
"It's Sister. Come, deary, meet Spike and tell him your name," Dru said calling Peyton.
"No," she answered, turning around in her chair so that her back was facing them.
"Bloody . . .," Spike muttered, "You took the Slayer and Peaches' kid?"
"I wanted to have tea with my sister," she whined.
"You do realize that they're both going to be fairly, oh, pissed and they will find her?" Spike said, looking at his girl. Dru didn't answer, she just danced lightly away.
* * * * *
"What?" Joyce asked again, clearly confused as who Peyton was and why she was here.
"My daughter, mom. She's Angel's daughter, too. Don't ask how it happened, it just did. Giles didn't give her to the adoption agency, he took her to Angel instead. Angel has raised her for five years. I called him for information about a demon, he came to help, and Peyton ended up here, too. I didn't know she was my daughter until this morning. Now she's been kidnapped by Drusilla which is why I don't have time for this," Buffy explained.
"Oh," Joyce replied quietly, still a little confused. Buffy turned around to face everyone.
"Willow, I want you to find a spell that will locate them. Do whatever it takes, just find them. Xander and Giles, begin stockpiling weapons. We're gonna launch a full-on offensive against Dru. I don't care if she's the only one, I want to be prepared for an army. Oz, see if you can find Spike. He may know where Dru is. He may be helping her though, so be careful. Angel, you're with me. We're gonna go as soon as the sunsets. I want to be ready to kill her ASAP. Got it?" Buffy instructed. Peyton was in danger and Buffy was a very dangerous mother.
* * * * *
"You alright?" Spike asked quietly.
"I'm scared. I wanna go home," Peyton whispered on the verge of tears.
"I'm sure your mom and dad will find you," Spike answered her. He may not like her parents, but they hadn't killed him after all these years. He kinda owed them. He wasn't about to let Dru kill the little girl. Buffy and Angel would not be happy about that. Besides, the little girl was pretty cute.
* * * * *
"Buffy, you want this?" Angel asked quietly, brandishing a sword.
She recognized it right away. It was one of the swords they had used when they had fought before Acathla had sucked him into Hell.
"Yeah," she said softly taking it from him.
"We'll find her," he promised.
"I know, but . . . ," she said, choking back the tears, "what if we do and it's too late?"
"It won't be," he answered. She looked at him, her green eyes filling with tears. Angel's heart broke in that moment all over again as her eyes looked so much like Peyton's had whenever the tears began spilling down her cheeks. He moved to Buffy, gathering her in his arms. She clutched onto him and cried, wetting his shirt with her tears. They stood that way for a long time, wishing for something, anything else to be their lives.
"Buffy? Angel?" Willow's voice came, pulling them away from each other.
"Yeah?" Buffy answered, wiping her tears.
"We found them," she said quietly, "and the sun's gone down."
Buffy looked up, tears gone. All that was in her eyes now was the warrior. "Let's move," she said quickly.
"She knows you're coming," a familiar British voice said, "the moon has been talking to her." Buffy turned to face Spike.
"I'm going to kill her," Buffy said in a low, deadly voice.
"I'll take her away again," Spike offered. Buffy walked over to him.
"She took my daughter, Spike. My daughter and you're offering to take her away again?" Buffy lost all composure as she started swinging blindly at him, her fists beating on his chest as her sobs were hysterical. "My daughter! Peyton! I just got her back! You . . .you . . . I hate you Spike, I hate you. I hate her." Spike had her wrists as her swings became more and more blind. "My daughter!"
Finally she sank down to the ground and she cried some more. Angel went to her, picking her up off the floor and glaring at Spike.
"I think you should go," he growled. He focused his attention back on Buffy and didn't notice what happened with Spike. The blond vampire walked up to Xander.
"Go in the front. It's the least likely place that she'll think you'll attack," he said. Xander looked at him strangely, but nodded.
Spike offered one last look at the hysterical slayer on the ground and walked back into the shadows.
Buffy walked fast and infuriated. She'd never been more ready for a battle and never been so afraid. Angel was at her side and the rest of the gang; Willow, Xander, Giles, Oz, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, and Joyce; were all following close behind. The sword Angel had given her was in her hand, ready to kill.
"Fools!" a voice in front of them screamed as Ferian appeared, "you are focused on one petty vampire. I am going to destroy your world!" He laughed evilly as Buffy closed in on him.
"You should learn never to mess with a slayer when she's pissed particularly when her daughter's been kidnaped," Buffy seethed. She raised the sword and swung. Ferian's head fell to the ground, followed by his body collapsing. It was dead. Buffy looked at Angel. He just shrugged his shoulders.
"That was it?" Xander asked.
"Kind of anticlimactic," Oz said looking at the headless demon.
"Gunn, Xander, and Oz, I want you to take the body and dump it somewhere like the caves on the south end of the beach or in the ocean. Meet us at Drusilla's when you can," Buffy instructed as she hacked the decapitated head into bits until it looked like nothing but rocks and pebbles.
* * * * *
They stood in front of the warehouse. It hadn't taken Willow long to find them with her spell because she had holed up in the factory.
Buffy looked at the front door, remembering what Xander said Spike told him. Buffy gave them instructions to wait until they were in safely and then to follow and motioned for Angel to come with her. She kicked in the door and went in, Angel on her heels.
"My Angel," Dru said quietly, "come to find sister have we? Come back to us Angel, we'll be happy again."
"Not gonna happen, Dru," Buffy answered for Angel, "give her back. Now."
"Daddy, make her stop. She's taking away our happy home. Me and you and Spike and Sister. Don't you want our home to be happy again?" Dru replied.
"No, Dru. I want her back," Angel said with a deathly calm.
"The moon has been whispering to me, my Angel. Psst, psst," she said, swaying to the beat in her head, "whispering all sorts of dreadful things. Our happy family, psst, psst, isn't very happy."
Buffy didn't dare move in. Peyton was being held by Dru. She was quiet, but her cheeks were wet with tears.
* * * * *
Peyton didn't dare make a sound. The crazy lady was holding her. She was saying mean things. She knew that her daddy and mommy would come for her, but she was still scared. She looked up at her father, trying to tell him to help her, but she didn't know how to get away from the crazy lady, she'd given up trying to fight her long before. She just waited and listened.
* * * * *
Buffy was beginning to lose all semblance of composure. She was hanging on by a thread. She watched her daughter in fear and back at Angel. His eyes were full of hate and fear. He didn't know how to get to her either.
"Dru, give my daughter to me now," Angel growled. Drusilla just looked at him and then down at Peyton. When she looked back up, her face had changed, her eyes glowing, feral. She smiled absentmindedly at no one in particular and lowered her fangs slowly to Peyton's neck.
"I'm sorry, Dru," Spike said from behind her. He raised a stake and plunged it into her heart.
"Spike?" she asked, sounding like a frightened little girl before crumbling to dust.
As soon as she saw Spike raise the stake, Buffy ran. Angel right beside her. They reached Peyton at the same time. Buffy picked her up and held her tightly. Angel held them both.
"Daddy, mommy," she cried, trying to get closer to them. Tears of relief flowed down their faces and as Angel and Buffy both looked up at Spike, they couldn't believe what he had just done. He had killed Drusilla for their little girl.
"Thank-you," Buffy whispered, "thank-you."
She was home. In L.A. With her daddy and mommy. But they were still sad. Peyton knew that they were still sad. Mommy slept in daddy's big bed and Daddy slept on the couch. She watched them both in their sleep, knowing that they were very tired.
Mommy cried in her sleep. Cried for her daddy. She didn't know why Daddy didn't come to her.
"Aunt Cordy?" she called quietly, coming up the stairs into the office.
"Yeah?" she answered.
"Why are Daddy and Mommy so sad?" she asked.
"Oh, honey, why do you think they're sad?" Cordy replied, ruffling Peyton's hair.
"Mommy cries for Daddy when she's asleep. She calls for him, but he doesn't come. He always comes when I have a bad dream. Why are they sad?"
"Sweetie, sometimes there are things that make grown-ups sad that little girls don't understand," Cordelia tried to explain.
"Then take me to those people," Peyton demanded.
"What people, Peyton?"
"The ones that help Daddy understand your headaches," she said.
"The Oracles?" Cordelia said, surprised.
"Yes," she answered.
"Honey . . ."
"Please?" Cordelia nodded, unable to refuse the little girl's tear stricken request.
"Let me write a note for your mom and dad, okay?" she said, scribbling a note claiming they went out for a little fresh air.
* * * * *
"We beseech access to the knowing ones," Cordy said as she completed the ritual. The door opened and she nodded at Peyton.
"Wait here?" she asked, frightened. Cordy nodded. She looked into the doorway and walked in.
"A child? What are you doing here?" the female Oracle asked.
"Why are my mommy and daddy sad?" she whispered, afraid of the blue people.
"Human emotion is not of our concern," the male said tightly.
"She does not understand," the female said then turning to Peyton, "sometimes people are sad."
"What's your name, Little One?" the woman asked.
"Peyton," she answered.
"The daughter of the vampire and the slayer. Why are they sad, Little One? Because their hearts hurt," the woman said gently, kneeling down to her level.
"Make them stop hurting," Peyton said.
"We have no control . . . ," the man began. A light flashed from overhead. Peyton covered her eyes.
"Go home, Little One, tell them everything is okay," the woman said, giving her a small hug.
* * * * *
"Everything's okay, Aunt Cordy," Peyton whispered on the way home, "they won't be sad anymore."
* * * * *
Angel was laying on the couch, thinking about the woman in the next room. How much he missed her. Her smile, her eyes, her tears, her laughter. Everything. How mad he was that almost everything had almost been taken away from them again. He was shaken out of his thoughts as he heard tiny footsteps bounding down the stairs.
"Hi, Daddy," Peyton said happily.
"Hi, baby," he answered, picking her up into his lap.
"Guess what?" she said.
"You and Mommy don't have to be sad anymore," she answered.
"Who said we were sad?" he asked her.
"Nobody. I knew," she answered.
"Honey, I'm not sad . . . ," he began, but she looked at him knowingly, "yes, I'm a little sad. I miss your mommy."
"The blue people said that everything is okay and that you don't have to be sad anymore," Peyton said.
"The blue people? The Oracles?" Angel asked her.
"Yep," she answered, "I asked Aunt Cordy to take me to see them and they said that everything is okay and you don't have to be sad anymore."
"Peyton," Angel began, but she turned and looked at him with Buffy's eyes and he smiled. "Thank you, love."
"You have a brave daughter, Warrior," a voice above them said. Angel looked up at the stairway and saw the female Oracle standing there, "Like her mother and father.
"She has told you to be happy; that you don't have to be sad. The Powers That Be have granted a desire of your heart. A soul, bound to you forever. Not humanity, not yet," she said. Angel looked aghast at what the woman told him. He watched as she disappeared. He looked back at Peyton.
"Thank you, love," he whispered, kissing her hair gently.
"For what?" Buffy asked from the doorway. Angel looked up at her and smiled.
"For giving me back her mother," he whispered. Her eyes opened wide.
"You mean . . . ?" she gasped.
"Apparently she went and talked to the Oracles," he said, as he moved towards Buffy with Peyton in his arms, "They told us not to be sad anymore."
"Finally," she whispered as her lips caught his, "I never forgot, you know." He eyed her, but smiled and then kissed her again.
"Ewww! Kissy-face!" Peyton giggled.
"Ewww, huh?" Angel asked as he began tickling her.
"No, Daddy, don't tickle me! Mommy help!" she squealed, squirming out of Angel's grip, running away from him. They both ran to catch her, but she was too quick and as Angel stopped for a moment he looked at Buffy. He swung his arms around her waist and pulled her close to him.
"I love you," he murmured.
"I love you," she whispered back. As their lips met a pair of arms wrapped around their legs.
"I got you!" Peyton squealed. Buffy and Angel smiled at each other and then laughed as Angel picked up their daughter.
"Yes, you do, both of us," he kissed her hair and then Buffy gently on the lips. They were together and happy. At last.