Comes The Son
Comes The Son
I do it once a month.
I go back and stand in the
shadows just like I used to. I think that sometimes she senses me
because I can see her shoulders straighten and she tilts her head
to one side. If she wanted to see me, she would, but she never
looks close enough and thats good.
For five years, its been
the same. Once, every thirty days, I make the short drive up the
interstate and watch her for the night. Sometimes, if she looks
sad, I stay an extra night and I wont leave until I hear
her soft laughter.
Only he can bring that sound.
The first time I saw him, he was
wrapped in her arms and she was clutching him to her chest in the
park. I could hear her talking to him, telling him that he would
never be without her love and she promised him he would never
know the truth about the world. It seemed odd to me that she
would make that promise. How could she protect him if she
didnt tell him what the night truly held?
I saw the man, Parker, once. He
was arguing with her, making her cry as he snatched the baby from
her arms. I wanted to rush out of the bushes and hit him as hard
as I could, but I just watched in silence. I could hear him
making threats about the child and telling her that he would sue
her for custody because she was a slut. Buffy kept telling him
that he was the only one she had slept with, but he stared at her
in disbelief before he handed back the baby and stormed off.
I heard through Cordelia that
the paternity tests revealed that Parker was not the father at
all. In a town like Sunnydale, a scandal can be born overnight.
People told Cordelia that Giles had to be the father because
there was no other reason for him to be hovering around her all
the time. I heard that Xander was the father and I also heard
that someone named Riley had proposed to her and offered her a
family but she refused.
Id like to think she
refused because she knows.
I found out after I saw her
celebrating the boys first birthday. I stood in an alley,
watching him stick his tiny hands in a chocolate cake inside
Joyces gallery. Everyone was there, smiling and laughing
and clapping their hands to encourage him.
I saw him.
I saw my son.
I did the math in my head and
realized that it was nine months and one year since Buffy had
come to Los Angeles and spent the day with me as a human. It had
been twenty-one months since I had made love to her.
The child was mine.
I panicked and quickly ran to my
car. I had questions and only the Oracles would have the answers.
I roused Doyle from sleep as soon as I made it into the city and
told him to be ready when I arrived for him. He took me back and
I asked the Oracles and I will never forget what they said to me.
The man, he smiled and
whispered, The child, he is yours.
I must have looked stunned and
unsteady because the woman stepped forward and rested her hand on
my arm. Calmly, she said to me, We have the power to take
back a day and erase it. We can erase the deaths that occurred
that day but we cant erase conception. We cant erase
a new life. We cant tempt fate that way. The gift of life
is only given to the most worthy and you were deemed worthy by a
greater power than you can grasp.
You erased my life.
I pointed out. You said that the day was gone. How can
there be consequences?
It was your will to have
your human life taken away and returned to vampire form. A child
can not make that decision. He came into being and he is here and
that is the way it was written.
I shook my head angrily and
stared at the expanse of the nothingness around me. Staying away
from Buffy had been one torment but how could I possibly be
strong enough to stay away from my child? I have to tell
her. I have to be there.
That is your choice.
The man replied, twining his fingers together.
Is that the right
choice? I asked angrily.
Apparently they didnt like
my question and I found myself blown backwards, straight into
Doyle. He asked me if I was okay, but I wasnt okay. Alone
in my apartment, I thought about her and tried to decide what to
do. On the one hand, I could go and try to explain and complicate
her life even further or on the other hand, I could watch and
wait for the time when she would need me to come back into her
Somehow fate slipped in and kept
me occupied in Los Angeles. I took that as a sign that I
wasnt meant to be in their life. I made the time to return
once a month without fail, but there was always something that
stood in the way of me returning just to tell her the truth. I
dont think I had the nerve anyway. She had been very clear
about the fact that she didnt want me in her life.
She wanted to forget and who am
I to force her to remember something that can only hurt her?
For five years, I have stood and
watched in the darkness, hoping she would take him outside.
Ive longed for her to call me or to come see me but she
never does and she seems so strong. The woman she has become is
nothing like the young girl of years ago. She doesnt look
as vulnerable as I recall and she doesnt seem insecure.
And hes the only man
Ive ever seen in her life.
I saw him go from the stroller,
to toddling from her fingers on the sidewalk in front of her
mothers house. Ive seen him go from being awkward, to
standing tall on his muscular little legs. Ive lurked
behind her in the supermarket, listening to her answer his many
Mommy, why is jelly
red? His voice is small and the sweetest thing Ive
Not all jelly is
red. She replies, glancing at the parcels on the shelves.
Why is some jelly
Because thats what
color the fruit is that makes it. She says patiently. I
peer around the corner and see her muss his brown hair. He looks
at her adoringly and I figure that he must have gotten that from
me. She pauses and stares at him for several seconds and part of
me wants to believe that she is thinking that he looks like me. I
want to think that she is remembering, but the look fades and she
kisses him on the cheek. What do you want for dinner?
Sometimes, like tonight, she
leaves him with her mother and goes out to patrol. If there is
supernatural activity here anymore, then I cant see it or
feel it. Its almost like his birth brought an end to the
demonic force that pulled monsters here. I trail her to the park,
remembering the many times we held each other here. One time in
particular, she was upset about two dead children that he mother
had found in this same park and she wondered if she would ever
truly make a difference.
I pause behind a tree and stare
out at her. Shes sitting with her back to me on one of the
swings and her head is leaning against the chain. The swing is
barely moving and I wonder if shes ill. I chew on my lower
lip, careful not to move and she suddenly stands and faces in my
I feel you there, you
know? She says it like shes tired and bored. I
know youre there because every month I feel you in the pit
of my stomach. Youre the only vampire that ever comes here
I feel something knot up in the
pit of my- stomach and step out of the shadows. I search
her face as she sees me for the first time and try to find
something to say. She beats me to it, How are you,
Im fine. How are
you? I feel stupid exchanging such a formal greeting with
her. I am so used to the passage of time that I think I convinced
myself that I wasnt really gone that long and it was only
yesterday that I held her and she loved me. I guess the greeting
isnt odd to her because she shrugs and regards me like an
old acquaintance, a person who you acknowledge only because they
speak to you.
Im fine too.
Theres something else in her face, something that seems
leery of me. Are you here to tell me about some grave
danger? Should I beware?
Im instantly slammed back
to the Bronze, reliving the moment she had asked me that same
thing. Back then, it was because the Master had killed her and
she couldnt deal with it. Now its because she
cant deal with me. No. I just wanted to see
You get to see me but I
cant see you? I see you havent changed. She
pulls her lips back in the most pathetic excuse of a smile I have
ever seen. No, I guess thats the one certainty in
this world, you will never change.
Only physically. I have
changed inside. I want to tell her that Im a better
man and feel like I deserve her for the first time. I want to
tell her that Im sorry that I didnt come back to her
and most of all I want to tell her that I still love her just as
much. I settle for saying, Except that I still think of you
Her false smile fades and I
swear I can hear her heart break. Her face contorts and she
begins to sob and then shes in my arms. I clutch her
tightly against my chest, marveling at the fact that she still
smells the same. Shhh, Buffy, its okay.
Please, Angel. Hold
me. She cries and she feels so tiny in my arms, I do just
that. I lift her, carry her to a picnic table and hold her in my
lap, trying to soothe her with my voice.
Soon, she grows quiet and, save
for a few hitches in her breathing, seems to be pulling herself
together. I smooth her hair back and press my lips to her
forehead. I miss you.
Buffy slides off my lap,
suddenly distant, and sits across from me at the table. I turn to
face her and lace my fingers together, resting them on the table.
She picks at the wood for a second and then lifts her eyes to
mine. I missed you until I had him and then there you were.
Hes the spitting image of you.
I gasp and try to read her face
better. Y-you know?
How could I not know when
he looks up at me with your eyes and smiles at me with your
I think he has your
smile. I tell her, spiraling down into something that could
be happiness but scares me too much to enjoy.
I see her eyes cloud again and
fear the worst. She delivers it by asking the questions I have
dreaded since I discovered the truth. How could you stay
away from him? How could you let him be without a father? You
dont have to love me anymore but he-
I have never stopped
loving you. I say quickly and lean forward, taking one of
her small hands in mine. Before I answer you, do you
remember how it happened?"
No. I just know it did and
I view him as a little you. I guess I just figured that he was my
reward and this was their way of letting me have you. If there is
a God, he decided to take pity on me and give me a small piece of
you and thats just fine with me.
We made love. I
admit it in a low voice and when I feel her squeeze my hand, I
quickly blurt out the story of what happened and how I had to
give up our future.
I wait patiently while she
digests all the information and finally says, I guess
thats better than the Immaculate Conception I thought he
was. At least I got him the old fashioned way.
My eyes widen and I stare at
her. Thats not how I expected her to react at all. I
figured she would punch me and scream at me. She notices my
hesitation to respond and asks, What? Did you expect me to
freak out? Angel, Ive survived being a slayer, I have
survived labor, his colic, his chicken pox, and his potty
training. Nothing you say to me is going to surprise me.
I smile when she does and then
immediately feel guilty. You asked me how come I stayed
away and the answer is because you did survive all that. You
didnt seem to need me anymore and I couldnt live with
coming back into your life if you didnt want me
Didnt you ever find
it odd that I took him out so often at night? Didnt you
wonder why he was always dressed in his best clothes when you saw
him? I always knew you were there and I gave you every
opportunity to come to us. Her eyes leave mine and she
brushes away a tear before she speaks again. Didnt
you ever wonder why I was alone? I was waiting for you. We were
both waiting for you.
If you knew, why
didnt you tell me? I feel angry all of a sudden.
Angry at how stubborn she was and how stubborn I was and most of
all angry that my son spent his first five years without me.
Honestly? She asks
and I nod. I thought you must see us as a burden or you
would have made the first move.
That could never be
true. Im on my feet and moving around the table
before I complete the sentence and she lets me pull her into my
arms again. I just felt so unworthy and kept waiting for
some sort of sign that you would want me. I was such a fool,
She sits up and runs her hand
down my face and I start to speak, but she silences me.
Would you like to meet your son?
I cant help it. I start to
cry. Its overwhelming to me and my hands start to tremble.
The Oracles told me that someone had deemed me worthy of creating
this life. I was a killer and still have a demon in me but I was
deemed worthy somehow. What if my son doesnt view me that
way? I nod slowly and whisper, Im scared.
He already loves you,
Angel. I tell him about you all the time.
I always have.
Does he know what I
am? I hear my voice cracking and part of me wonders if
Not yet, but I will tell
him one day. She lowers her head and then looks back up at
me. Or maybe you can tell him one day.
I dont deserve this,
Buffy. You have already forgiven me for something that you should
hate me for and I cant let you do that.
And I cant hate you,
Angel. Even if you turned around and walked out of my life again,
I couldnt hate you. I couldnt even lie to myself and
say I did. She gets to her feet and holds her hand out. I
take it in mine and she squeezes it softly, before she adds,
If you want to leave, please do it now before he sees that
you really do exist. I can handle the pain, Im used to it,
but I cant let him get hurt.
I would never hurt
him. I reply. I will never hurt you again
She nods slowly, but I
dont think she believes me. Still holding my hand, she
pulls me out of the park and we walk in silence back to Revello
Drive. Despite the many years, it feels like Ive stepped
back to the time where she was a young girl who was desperately
anticipating my good night kiss. Im right back at the
beginning of our relationship, unsure of what to say or what to
do. I glance over at her and realize that she hasnt changed
one bit. Maybe her hair is a little lighter and she looks
thinner, but she may as well still be a teenager since time
hasnt touched her.
We arrive at her mothers
house and I tense up when I see the light on in the living room.
Buffy looks up at me and I can tell that she expects me to leave.
I smile a little and hear her sigh. I dont know if it would
be a sigh of relief or a sigh of dread but its there, small
and inaudible to a human ear. We step up on the porch together
and she opens the door, stepping inside and pulling her coat off.
I follow and to my surprise, the
invitation hasnt been revoked. She indicates that
shell take my coat and I slip it over my shoulders and hand
it to her. I watch her hang it over a coat rack and then glance
around the house. Nothing much has changed. I think the carpet is
new and the paint job looks fresh but its still the same.
The only big differences are the photos. The ones that used to be
just Buffy have been replaced with photos of Buffy and our son.
It finally occurs to me that I
dont know his name. Whats his name,
Then hes there suddenly. I
see a little brown eye peek around the corner and he reaches for
Buffy. Her face lights up and she lifts him into her arms.
Sam, Id like you to meet someone.
His stout little legs are
wrapped around her waist and he has his arms around her neck when
he gazes up at me again. I dont know what to say. I know
there are a million and one things I should be saying but I
cant do anything except look at him. His hair is a rich
brown with small waves through it and hes dressed in
Christmas pajamas with Santa Claus and reindeer on them. I start
to speak and he glances at Buffy and whispers, I knew he
Her forehead creases and she
stares at him for a second. Sam, this is-
My daddy. He says
with a small smile and then reaches his arms up toward me.
Instinctively, almost without
thinking, I lift him and he locks his legs on me. His tiny little
hands are on my shoulders and his eyes meet mine. Smiling, he
says, I asked the Santa at the mall to make you real.
It feels like someone is washing
away the stains on my soul when he wraps his arms around my neck
and hugs me. I feel his fingers on the back of my hair and glance
over his shoulder at Buffy. Shes crying, silently watching
us, and with my other arm, I pull her against me. Sam feels her
and wraps one of his arms around her as well.
We stand that way for a long
time. Until Joyce glances out of the kitchen, gasps, and then
disappears back behind the doorway.
Sam is the first one to speak
and he asks me if I want to see the Christmas tree. I nod and
notice how Buffy is keeping her face down and not letting him see
her cry. She excuses herself and walks into the kitchen with her
mother. Im proud of her for thinking of Sam first. I can
hear their hushed voices as I set him on his feet and he tugs me
into the living room.
I got to make a bunch of
decorations at school. He pulls an ornament off the tree
and shows it to me. Its an angel, just like you,
I tell him, taking the tissue angel from him and examining it
closely. It really is beautiful and its obvious to me that
Buffy wasnt lying when she said that she had told him about
me. I glance at the tree again and say, Did you make that
one with the hearts too?
Me and mommy did. He
stands on his toes to pull it down and hands me that one as well.
Its two big hearts and one little heart. We made it
for Valentime's day but I put it on the tree too.
Im glad you did.
Its very nice. I feel so torn. Im torn between
laughing and torn between crying and most of all, Im torn
with guilt. I like your name, Sam.
You do? He turns
away from the tree and looks up at me again. I open my arms,
eager to lift him and he lets me. Grnning, he says, My
mommy says that Samuel means that she asked God for me and he
listened and David means beloved son and OMalley is your
I can feel my eyes widen and
quickly sit on the sofa with him in my lap. Your name is
Samuel David OMalley?
Yeah. But I like Sam,
I like Sam too. I
tell him, and will myself not to cry again. Samuel David
He squirms a little and leans
back against my arm, yawning. If you want to tell me a
story, you can. Mommy does it all the time, so youre
A few minutes later, when Buffy
walks into the room carrying two mugs, hes fast asleep. I
have one of his hands in mine, staring at how perfect his fingers
are. She sits down beside us and puts the cups on the table. I
can see that her eyes are swollen and red and berate myself for
causing her so much heart ache. Buffy, are you sorry you
No. Im sorry I
didnt do it sooner. She glances at my hand, the one
still holding Sams hand and smiles. Ive never
seen him just start talking to anyone before. Hes usually
really shy and really standoffish. Xander says he acts just like
Willow used to and hes just as smart as she is.
He showed me the tree and
his decorations. He can draw well.
Mom says that hes
got an artists eye. Hes really observant and sees
things that I dont notice. Y-you draw too, right?
Yeah, and my father was an
artist too. Buffy, you named him OMalley?
She reaches for her cup and
takes a quick sip before she nods. I couldnt very
well name him Sam Summers because of the whole Summer of Sam
thing. I like your last name.
Samuel David OMalley
was my fathers name, Buffy.
I know, Angel. Is that
I smile at her and glance at my sleeping son in my arms. I
loved my father very much and he always wanted a namesake.
You can take him to his
room if you want. She starts to stand but I put my arm out
and stop her.
No. I think Ill just
hang on to him.
She sits back, uncertainty
written all over her face and nods. Thats fine
I hold out my hand and she takes
it. I pull her to my chest and lean my head against hers, never
feeling as complete as I do at that moment. She puts her hand on
mine and together, we hold Sams hand. I dont know if
she feels it, but its magical. I feel the warmth of both of
them flood through me, I feel their forgiving hearts beat as one
and I feel the past begin to wash away.
Angel? She whispers,
rubbing her thumb on the back of my hand.
Hmm? I silently
start to beg anyone who will listen that she wont ask me to
What do you want?
Ive never been more
convinced of what I want. I gaze down at my son and she sits up
to look at me. Trembling, I say, I want you to know how
sorry I am and how much I love you both. I want a miracle that
will let me stay.
I love you, Angel. I never
stopped and thats a miracle by itself.
I dont know how we
can do it, Buffy, but there has to be a way.
There has to be. She
echoes, staring down at our boy.
Sam stirs in my lap and I glance
down to see him smiling. He gazes back and forth between us and
then whispers, There is a way, Mommy.
What? She helps him
sit up straight in my lap and takes his hands in hers.
He looks at me and says,
You have to forgive yourself and think you are worthy
before you ever will be. Someone thought you were worthy but you
have to think it too or you cant stay.
I feel myself grow dizzy as he
repeats what the Oracles had said to me. Buffy watches me for
several seconds and then says, Sam, go see if Grandma will
tuck you in.
Mommy, he has to have us
both to make it happen! The golden people told me that he has to
know that we love him enough or he cant be strong. The
golden people said that if we warm him enough he can stay.
Sams lips start to quiver and it feels like someone douses
me with Holy Water when I catch one of his tears on my thumb.
Golden people? Buffy
is apparently trying to figure out what hes telling her.
Who are the golden people, Sam?
A man and a woman.
He replies, staring at me. They know you, Daddy. They told
me that they know you and that we can do
I find my voice suddenly and
look at Buffy. The Oracles. It has to be.
Mommy, tell him that we
want him to stay. Sam says, his voice shrill and panicked.
Buffy looks at me and says,
You have to stay. I cant do it alone anymore and he
needs you. I need you, Angel. I love you so much that the thought
of not having you here makes me want to give up.
I want you too,
Daddy. Sam pipes up and wraps his arm around me. I can feel
his heart pounding against my chest and I clutch Buffys
hand in mine.
I cant leave.
Ill never leave again. I finally say and draw in a
deep breath, breathing his scent, Buffys scent and most of
all the power of their love. I feel worthy. I feel like Ive
been given a gift that makes me whole. For the first time that I
can ever recall, I feel lucky and deserving of what Ive
been given. I dont know how or why I was chosen but I was
chosen and thats enough for me.
Sam leans back and smiles at me
and I kiss his forehead. I notice something. Sams no longer
leaning against me and I can still feel the beating of his heart.
I glance down and see the front of my shirt rise and fall with my
own breathing. I move my hand to my chest and feel my heartbeat.
It scares me and I whisper, I-Im alive.
Buffy yells for her mother and
Joyce appears. I hear Buffy telling her to get Sam tucked in bed
and feel him give me a hug and a kiss. While he is hugging me, he
whispers in my ear, Daddy, redemption was always in
I watch Joyce lead him away and
then stand up. My hand finds its way back to my chest and
Im amazed to still feel the steady drumming beneath my
skin. Buffy joins me in front of the fireplace and she lays her
ear against the front of my shirt. It takes me a few seconds to
realize that she is crying and I tilt her chin upward.
Shhh, its going to be okay now.
Angel, when I touched Sam
I remembered it all. I remembered the happiness
and the love we made and I remembered the clock ticking down the
last few minutes of our life together. Her voice grows
quieter and she takes a deep breath. I remembered your
We have a new life
now. I tell her, struggling to ease her pain. If I
could, Buffy, I would wave my hand and erase all the tears and
all the hurt that weve caused one another.
No. She shakes her
head. All the tears and all the hurt have led us here for a
reason and that reason is Sam. I dont know why we were
blessed with him but we were and even though the road that
brought us here wasnt paved and was full of rocks
here we are. I dont want to relive the past anymore, Angel.
I just want to move toward the future.
And the future has moved
forward. We were married three months later. Giles walked her
down the aisle to me and Sam stood beside me as my best man. Two
years after that, we were blessed with another miracle that we
named Isabel Rose, after my mother and Buffys grandmother.
We watched our son graduate high school and move away to college
and we watched Isabel do the same. We took long walks together in
the sun and before long, I could see gray beginning to replace
the blond in her hair.
We vacationed and I took her to
Ireland. We walked along the hillside until we stumbled onto the
graves of my family. I kneeled and cried, apologizing for what I
had done and told her stories of my youth. We strolled through my
old town and I pointed out the few places that still looked
almost the same. I told her about my fathers determination
to see me become something and let her know how proud I was that
she started our son off so well. The year he graduated medical
school, he gave us our first grandson, Rupert Giles
Her beauty never faded, the
wrinkles never marred her spirit. When we suffered our first
loss, the death of Giles to a heart attack, she stood strong and
proud and spoke about her father. My love for her
grew and grew and I never once questioned my decision to stay
with her. We suffered more loss, one of Isabels girls
drowned on Buffys birthday and Buffy refused to ever
celebrate her birthday again and Xander died not long after that,
his body ravaged with cancer.
Right up to the end, I loved her
with my heart, my soul, my body and with no regrets. When Buffy
drew her last breath, I was sitting beside her, stroking her hair
and whispering that I loved her and always would. I didnt
once question the Powers That Be for stealing her from me.
Instead, I thanked them for giving me seventy-four years beside
her and for taking her before the Alzheimers Diseases
crippled her mentally and she suffered.
I dont know when my time
will come. I know that Ill be sad to go and leave Sam and
Isabel and our eight grandchildren and twelve great
grandchildren, but I am convinced that Ill see her again
when I do.
I loved her in my life and I let
go of her far too many times but when I finally had her, she knew
that she was my everything. Im tired most of the time now.
So, so tired and sometimes I forget who the man is that stares
back at me in the mirror. He looks so haggard and worn. His face
is deeply etched with wrinkles and what little hair he has left
is solid white.
Im over one hundred years
old now and my life has taught me to be patient.
Ill wait patiently until I
see you again, my love.