Angel was ready for
his nightly patrol. He grabbed his jacket from the bed and checked his
duffel bag once more, making sure he had everything he needed. He left
the bedroom and headed to the front door of the mansion. He stopped as
his eyes caught sight of something by the fireplace. He changed his direction
and went to inspect the box heknew he had never left there. “What the...”
he said as he heard a strange sound emanating from the it. He walked over
to it carefully, prepared for anything. Living in the hellmouth he
had encountered many things, but
he wasn’t preparedfor what he saw inside.
“Great,” trying to
sound enthused by the news. Now at 7:00 p.m., she was in her room,
on her computer,
bored. She clicked on one of her links and became frustrated as the computer froze once more. She hit the screen, making it go black. “Damn!”
She tried pushing the
power button, but it didn’t respond. She nearly jumped out of the chair
as she heard a knock at her window. She turned and saw him standing outside.
She hesitated going over, <It’s Angel, remember>. She gave him a quick
smile and opened the window.
“Willow, I know I shouldn’t be here, but I don’t have anyone to turn to - I need your help.”
Willow looked at him surprised. Those were words that had never been directed at her.
“What do you need?” she asked, seeing the panic in his eyes.
“I need you to come back with me to the mansion.”
“I know I have no right to ask you to trust me or even ask you for anything, but I need your help. Will you come?”
<How many times has he saved your life without a moments hesitation?> a voice in her commented.
Willow stayed close
to Angel as they walked to the mansion. He had remained quite since thanking
her back at her house. She hoped she knew what she was doing.
So many things had changed since he had returned from hell, she wasn’t
sure how to act. As they entered the mansion, she was surprised to
“Hey Angel, that was fast.”
Willow looked on confused as she saw the short man Angel had acknowledged, making faces. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to his bright wardrobe as she looked at him completely.
“What’s going on?”
“Didn’t tell her? It’s best she saw it anyway,” Whistler said as he motioned for her to walk over to the box.
She looked over at Angel, who was looking into the box intently. She walked over cautiously, a bit worried to see what was inside. “It’s a baby,” she said with a smile.
“Good, now you have help, now I can leave,” Whistler said as he headed for the door.
“You said you’d help,” Angel reminded him.
“I just did.”
“Whistler wait, we might need you.”
He turned to look at Willow, who was already playing with the baby. “I found the baby when I woke up tonight.”
“Just the box and a note.”
“Did you call the police, someone might be looking for their child.”
“I thought about that,
but then I read the note.” Angel took out the piece of paper from his jacket
it to her. She unfolded it and read it out loud.
With you I leave my child. I trust no one else to guard him from the evil that seeks him. You are the only one who can protect him. Please take care of him until my return, and a different fate shall take.
Willow handed him back the note and looked at him, a question pressing in the back of her mind. “Angel, is he yours?”
“No....vampires can’t...we can’t...”
“Reproduce,” Whistler finished.
“But you can....you know...you can...maybe...,” she tried to say as her cheeks turned red.
“We can, Willow, but we can’t have children...There’s no way,” he replied.
“What are you going to do, Angel?” Whistler asked.
“Protect him, figure out who left him, find out why they picked me.”
“Here?” Willow asked, looking around.
“I’m not sure where.”
“Are you sure this is the best thing to do?” she asked him.
“I’m positive. Someone knew I wouldn’t turn my back on him, they knew I would protect him, and that’s what I intend to do, but...Willow, will you help me?”
Willow looked at the adorable baby that was smiling at her, his light brown eyes looked brightly at her. She turned back her gaze at Angel and knew her answer. “I’ll help you, Angel.”
“Now that that’s settled, you can’t stay here, any creep can walk right in,” Whistler commented.
“I have a safe house.”
“We’ll need to get him some food, diapers, bottles..”, Willow said as she began to make a mental list of the things they would need.
“Are you both sure you’re going to be able to handle this?” Whistler asked amused.
Angel and Willow looked
at each other, a child depended on it.
Angel and Willow stepped
into the aisle and nearly collapsed as they saw the selection of baby products.
<Where do we start!?> On one side there were ten different kinds of diapers, while the other side housed hundreds of different formulas. They turned to look at each other with panic in their eyes. They had left the baby with Whistler, heading over to the supermarket, shopping for the things the baby would need. They had managed to spend two hours solely in the baby aisle, trying to make out which items they would need from the multitude of
products. After inspecting each product, consulting five store clerks and three mothers, they had managed to buy ten bags of baby products and one bag of solid food. They had driven back to the mansion where Whistler had been relieved to see them and had practical raced to hand the baby off to Willow. He rushed out before they could even thank him. Angel led Willow back to the car and headed to the safe house he had by the Bronze. After a ten minute ride, they parked in an underground parking. Willow held the baby closer to her body as they stepped out of the car. Angel led them to the elevator, staying close to her as his senses scanned the dark garage. He managed to open the door and carry all eleven bags with him at the same time. He let them enter, telling her to stay by the door. He left them for a moment, looking over the deserted apartment making sure it was safe. He placed the bags on the counter of the kitchen and went to get Willow. She walked up the stairs and stepped into the spacious living room. White sheets covered the few furnishings in the room. She looked up to see an open second landing. He looked around the apartment once more then began to take off all the dust filled sheets. Willow remained standing silently in the middle of the room, wondering what she was supposed to do. Angel motioned for her to sit on the oversized white sofa. She sat down as he went up the stairs to the second floor. Willow’s arm began to feel heavy. She had never held a baby for that long. She was glad to see Angel return quickly.
“Angel, where is the baby going to sleep?”
“On the bed. I don’t have a crib.”
“Okay, where? she asked as her arms drooped lower, and moved over to him.
“Upstairs,” he replied as he helped her up the spiraling staircase.
Willow walked into the large bedroom and looked at the king size bed in the middle of the room. She carefully placed the baby on the bed, as Angel grabbed the pillows and placed them around the sleeping newborn. They both looked down and smiled.
“He doesn’t have a name,” Willow realized out loud.
“What should we call him?”
“I think you should have that honor.”
“What if we both think of a name and call him that?” he said as he looked at her with the same smile.
Willow nodded in agreement. The both looked back down at the baby and tried to find a name. It only took Angel a second to know what he wanted to call the baby he had been entrusted to protect.
“Sean”, he replied softly, his mind drifting away to memories of the past.
Willow liked it, but added hers in. “Nicolas.” Angel looked up at her as he heard her selection. He looked at her a bit surprised. “Don’t like it?” she asked as she tried to hide the disappointment from her face.
“No, I do, it just...it was my grandfather’s name.”
“We can just call him Sean”, she told him as she bit her lower lip.
“No, I like it....Nicolas Sean McNab,” he replied with a smile.
“Rosenburg,” she added, glad she had made him smile.
Angel chuckled. “Yes, of course, Nicolas Sean McNab Rosenburg.”
Willow couldn’t help but giggle at the long name they had given him. “We can always just call him Nicolas.”
Angel kept smiling as he turned his attention back the sleeping infant.
An awkward silence hung over them, making Willow nervous. “I’m heading...going downstairs to start on some bottles.”
Angel nodded as she walked to the stairs.
“The milks too hot, can you cool it down?”
Happy with the task
given to him he rushed down the stairs, emerging minutes later with the
bottle in hand.
She tested it on her hand once more and smiled at him. The baby quieted as it began to drink its milk. Willow sighed in relief and sat on the bed.
“Wow, it’s 2. I should be heading home.”
He stopped what he was going as he heard what she said.
“I can’t take you, I don’t want to leave the baby alone.”
“That’s O.K., I can walk by myself.”
“No, Willow it isn’t safe, it’ll at least be a twenty minute walk.”
“I’ll be fine, everything’s been pretty quite.”
“No, Willow, it doesn’t matter, it’s not just demons you have to worried about. It isn’t safe.”
He walked over to her, and touched her hand.
“Will you stay the
Willow looked at the
two sleeping forms next to her on the bed. She smiled as she saw the baby
resting peacefully in sleep. She chuckled as she saw them both wearing
matching black T-shirts. It turned to a soft laugh as she looked pass the
baby to Angel’s sleeping form. All three had black shirts on. She
looked at her watch and pressed the indiglo button, illuminating part of
the darkness with a soft blue-green glow. It was 5:56 a.m. It had
been a long eventful night. The baby had woken up crying. They changed
his diapers three times, tried to feed him twice more and rocked him in
their arms, but nothing worked - not until they both laid down on the large
bed next to him. After two burps and one vomit, followed by a change of
clothing for both of them, Nicolas finally fell asleep. She
smiled as she remembered with what expertise Angel had tried to change
Nicolas’ clothing. The baby giggled, his arms and legs moving all around.
After a pair of scissors, a stapler, and much creativity they both managed
to make a suitable covering for the time being. She had never heard Angel
laugh before and it caused
a small tingle in her. The oddest thing she had noticed was when the baby awoke crying. Somehow it sensed when either Angel or she left their side of the bed. Nicolas would instinctively begin crying. Now in the their third hour of not leaving his side, the baby slept without waking.
Her eyes moved to the figure whose face looked tired and worried. Even in sleep he didn’t seem to rest. It had been five months since Angel had returned from Hell. She had been the first to see him. The slayereets had began patrolling in Buffy’s absence. They were good, getting better and perhaps it was that new found cockiness that had been their downfall. That night they had been ambushed by five vampires. Two had grabbed her and dragged her deeper into the park, away from her friends. She had tried as best as she could to get away, but it was useless, she was going to die. It was then that Angel had appeared, killing both vampires and helped her from the ground. She was shaken at first, have an almost died and received a postcard from Buffy telling her Angel was in Hell, she was terrified to say the least. It was until she looked into his eyes that she recognized him. They we’re not the evil, blood thirsty eyes of the killer that had caused them so much harm, Angelus, they were the soft, guilt ridden, haunted eyes of Angel, their Angel. “Angel?”
He remained silent
then disappeared as her friends had come to look for her. She had told
no one of his return, going to visit him in the mansion a couple of nights
after her rescue. They spoke shortly, Angel still feeling too ashamed to
talk to anyone yet. She could feel him watching them when they went out
patrolling every night, even saving her life once more. Then the
explosion came. Buffy had returned and in a months time everyone knew
Angel was back. She had been patrolling with Buffy when they had found him staking a vampire. All her emotions had overpowered her. She was about to stake him, when Willow threw herself in front of him for protection. After a time the gang accepted his existence, but loathed his presence. It was on a particular night patrolling that she noticed something different about him, something she had never expected. As they fought some vampires, instead of going to aid the slayer as he had always done before, he remained protecting her. It was something that had surprised both her and Buffy. They hardly spoke, but she knew that each night as she walked the streets of
Sunnydale he was lurking in the shadows protecting her. He had become her guardian and didn’t want to know why he had, she was just grateful he was. Now that he needed her she would not let him known, she only hoped she was strong enough to help her friend.
Willow was hesitate in waking Angel, but she needed to leave. She shook him lightly, jumping back once she heard a small growl. She knew waking a vampire in the middle of the day was not the best thing to do, but she had no choice. Angel shook his head, hoping to focus his blurred eyesight. He focused on the young woman shifting from side to side with a nervous smile on her face.
“I didn’t mean to wake
you , I’m sure you don’t like to be wakened up at this hour, especially
since you have to sleep in the day, I guess it would be like waking me
up in the middle of the night, I would be grumpy too after a night like
last night, so I understand why you would be a little mad if you are, maybe
I would be too, but I had to
because I didn’t just want to go without telling you, that would have been rude and with the baby.....”
Angel tried to keep listen to everything she was saying, but it was too hard, she was talking too fast and low, he did, however, catch an important word. “Your leaving?” he asked worried.
“Just to change, pick up some things, then I’ll come back here,” she replied, hoping it was okay.
“Sure, I just thought maybe you weren’t coming...” he said relieved.
“Be back? No, I’ll be back later.”
“Okay.” he said with a smile.
She gave him a reassuring smile. “I’ll be back.”
Willow took a quick
shower. She dried her hair and called Giles. Everything was relatively
quite and having Faith around offered them both a bit more of reassurance.
Giles told her to have a pleasant night away from t he library, research
could wait until Monday. She hung up, promising to call him again tonight
in case he changed his mind. She pulled out a duffel bag from her closet
and began picking out clothes. She had made a decision last night, a decision
that had led her to this conclusion. She would help Angel and by doing
that, she would have to stay with him. She wasn’t an expert in baby care,
yeah, she did baby-sit when she was younger, but never for more
then five hours at a time. She wasn’t sure how much experience he had with children, but she was more then
sure things had changed in the past 200 hundred years. If that baby had any way of surviving their rookie crash course into baby caring, they needed each other. She pulled out some books and closed her laptop, stuffing
them into the bag carefully. If something evil was out searching for the baby they needed all the help they could get. A warm feeling swept over her - for the first time she was the one aiding a friend and not being the one aided. She smiled and pulled the duffel bag over her shoulder, heading towards the door.
Angel looked at the clock on the dresser. After Willow had woken him up he wasn’t able to go back to bed. He needed a shower, but didn’t want to leave the baby alone. Willow had said she would be back and he believed her. Since he had returned from Hell everything had changed. The memories of Angelus still haunted him and every time he managed to sleep the anguishing nightmares of his time in Hell replayed themselves. It had been horrible when he returned. He was alone, weak and disgusted. It had been a struggle for him to stop from going into the sunlight and ending his misery, but three things kept him from killing himself.
He was Catholic, and
even if he was a demon, his mother had raised him as so. The second reason
was his grandfather - he had taught Angel never to give up - he could still
hear his words - ‘A coward gives up on life choosing the easy way out -
a brave man lives each day and I didn’t raise any cowards.’ Then there
was the last reason, Willow. He knew who had given him back his soul, not
just a curse, but a permanent soul. That was all the proof he needed to
show him she had stilled believed in him. He had later learned she had
not only tried it once, but twice, never hesitating to risk her life. Now
it was his time to risk it for her. He would protect her until death, no
matter where. His time in hell, 150 earth years, had changed him.
All the torture, all the pain, all the suffering had made him see things
clearer, see himself in a new light as well as the people who had been
around him. Then a month after his return Willow had been attacked. He
had heard what had happened, Buffy had left, leaving her
duties, her friends, her watcher, and lastly him. Once he regained his strength, he followed the Slayettes in patrol, trying to keep them safe in the shadows, but mostly protecting Willow. Then Buffy had returned creating problems he would have preferred avoiding. Now everyone knew he was back and once again it was Willow to defend him. It was true, he didn’t know her well, nor she did she know him, but she had agreed to help him.
He looked forward to spending more time with her, to get to know the soul he would protect for eternity, and perhaps in the process find a friend.
Willow rushed back
to the warehouse. It was a difficult task with two heavy bookbags over
her small shoulders. She reached for the buzzer, not sure where she had
left her keys. She was buzzed in and headed for the elevator to the main
floor. She stepped out to see the baby on the floor, wide awake crawling
over a blanket that had been placed on the hardwood floor. A cascade of
pillows had been thrown around it, securing possible ouch-I-hit-my-head
furniture. She walked up to the baby. He stopped his crawling as it met
her feet and looked up, smiling. Willow’s heart melt. She placed the bags
down and picked up the baby in her arms. The baby kicked
happily, his hand curling its fingers in her hair. Angel emerged from the kitchen, testing the temperature of the
bottle on his wrist.
“Did he wake you up early?”
“Not really, we’ve drifted back into sleep on and off. I think it’s time to feed him.”
Willow smiled at him and handed him the baby. He backed away, not sure he wanted to. “You have to feed him, Angel.”
“I just thought since you were here that...”
“No pressure Angel, but you are sort of his dad for now.”
Angel smiled, liking the sound of being called a dad.
“It’s been a long time. The last baby I held was Mary.”
Willow knew what he meant and her heart broke.
“Trained arms never forget, nor do good big brothers, come on, Nicolas is hungry.” Angel looked at her surprised, and silently thanked her with his eyes. He placed the bottle down on a table near by and prepared his arms to receive the precious package. Willow smiled, trying to encourage him. His trembling arms took the infant in his arms, glad to see the baby giggle at him. “See, a pro, even maybe better then me.”
Angel remained looking at Nicolas, an array of memories coming to mind. Willow grabbed the bottle and handed it to him. He sat on the couch and Nicolas began to eat happily. She looked on amazed, able to feel the happiness radiate off Angel. “Though I have to commend you on such a good job on putting on that shirt on him, I think he might need clothes.”
“I was thinking about just doing some more of my clothing inventions on him,” Angel commented seriously.
Angel chuckled at her response.
“I was just kidding, Willow. We can go to the mall and pick up anything we think we might need.”
Willow was relieved and chuckled a bit, not aware Angel had a sense of humor. She didn’t know him very well, but was looking forward to getting to know the true Angel McNab.