In Your Eyes

by Jill

Dedication: For all of you who wanted a sequel and gave me such great feedback for "By My Side". Thank you guys!!!! This is for you!
Summary: sequel to "By My Side"
Special Disclaimer: the lyrics used for the dance are called "Show Me Heaven"; I've heard the song in several arrangements, but the one that's inspired me for this is sung by Maria McKee.


Part 1


Buffy Finnegan looked up from her desk when she heard a knock at her office door.
A second later Eileen, her secretary, came in: "Buffy, Mr. Bowler is here."

"Oh, yes, please offer him a cup of coffee. I'll be there soon," the blonde
replied. When Eileen was gone, she picked up the phone to dial the familiar
number.

"Angel Investigations," Cordelia answered the call.

"Hi, Cordy," Buffy greeted her friend.

"Oh, it's you," the brunette replied. "Angel and Doyle are out."

"Actually I wanted to talk to you, to remind you to think about our dinner
tonight."

"I would never forget about it, you're sure we can bring Camille?", Cordelia
asked cautiously

"Yes, of course," Buffy tried to affirm her quickly, while she closed her eyes
for a moment. She took a deep breath, no not now, she thought. Rubbing her eyes
she focussed back on the phone. "Georgie and Gavin will come with Daniel, so the
little ones can play and then you can put them asleep."

"Isn't it nice they're living in LA now, Georgie and Gavin, I mean?"

"Yeah. Sorry Cordy, I have to go, there's a client waiting for me. See you
tonight then."

"Sure. 'Til later."

Putting the phone back on the receiver she took another deep breath and then
stood up to meet Chris Bowler. He was the director of one of the big museums in
New York and was meeting with her to acquire some paintings. She had to laugh.
Who would have thought that she would end up working in her mother's art gallery.
Well she did part time. And she was good at it. The other time she was trying to
make herself a name as a photographer. It had started as a hobby shortly after
her wedding, then during one of Angel's cases a professional photographer had
seen some of her pictures and declared she was very talented. So she had taken
courses and slowly became more known for her work.

There had been two photgraphic exibitions with her work in her mother's gallery
so far and currently she was working on her third. She was very good at her work
maybe because she was so focussed on it now. At the beginning it didn't look like
it, but dreams didn't always come true, she thought sadly.

Shortly after their honeymoon she became pregnant. Buffy vividly rememberd their
happiness, the joy in Angel's eyes when she told him about it. They had been
looking for a house with more space already as they were still living in Angel's
old apartment at that time, looking for furniture for the baby's room when a
drunken driver had hit her car one evening. She wasn't hurt badly, but she'd lost
her baby. Physically she recovered quickly, but the emotional pain was another
thing. Until today the sight of a small child was painful for her, and she hated
herself for the jealousy she always felt seeing Cordelia or Georgie with their
children.

Angel had tried to persuade her to have another try but she wasn't ready for it.
Not yet. She was still so scared to loose another child because she wasn't sure
she would be able to deal with a new loss. The first months after her miscarriage
had been extremely difficult, she had been bitchy and unfair especially with her
husband, who in her eyes was not caring enough about it. Thinking back she was
still overwhelmed that he took all her insults and bad mood for so long. And
maybe she would have continued with this and destroyed her marriage. But then one
day she had appeared unexpectedly at his agency and overheard a conversation
between him and Cordelia.

Suddenly Buffy had realised that he was suffering as much as she did from the
miscarriage and that he even felt guilty for it because he had been meant to
drive her home that evening. He had been delayed by a call in the office and so
Buffy had taken her own car and had been hit by the drunken driver. Knowing about
his pain she had realised how selfish she'd been and with lots of tears and
talking they'd found together again, loving each other even more than before now.

Still a new baby wasn't on the agenda. For Buffy it was too early, even after
three and a half years, although she had to admit that the thought was more
tempting now than before.

Taking another deep breath she pushed all these thoughts into the back of her
mind. There was a client to talk to. So she opened her door, a professional smile
on her lips she extended a hand to Mr. Bowler.

******

"Hi, you two," Cordelia greeted the two men entering the office. "Your wife has
called," she told Angel.

"Yes?" His head snapped up.

"To remind me about our dinner tonight," she smiled. "She didn't even ask for
you."

"Isn't she the incarnation of sweetness and love," Doyle teased his wife while he
was looking at his friend.

"Maybe you've been a very bad boy in a former life and this is your torture,"
Angel grinned at him.

"Alright, boys," Cordelia stood up and put her hands at her hips. "Did you take
an early drink or what? Where does this incredibly good mood come from?"

"Oh nothing," Doyle went over to his wive and slid an arm around her waist.
Kissing her on the cheek he reached into the pocket of his jacket and produced a
cheque. Waving it in front of her face he added: "Only this."

Giving her husband an annoyed glance she snapped it from his hands to take a look
at it. Her eyes widened in surprise: "Oh my..."

"You can say that," Doyle nodded walking over to pour himself some coffee. "You
want one," he asked Angel, who gave him a nod in response. Ever since the case
with the abused boy the agency had become famous. As a result lots of people of
the high society hired Angel and Doyle. When the work became too much Spike and
Dru became employées of the agency. But even with four working investigators they
were all very busy, but earning good money for it now.

As casual as possible, but barely hiding a grin, Angel said: "The lady thought
she had to give us a bonus. She was particulary fond of Doyle. Said she just
loved his Irish accent as her father came from Dublin."

Narrowing her eyes Cordelia watched her husband who seemed to take sudden
interest in his shoes: "What exactly do you mean by saying 'particulary fond'?"

"She called him darlin' Francis," Angel added with a laugh, but then quickly
caught the brunette's arm: "Cordy, she's happily married, besides she's eighty
years old."

"Well, that's a relief," Cordelia replied and a mischieveous glimpse appeared in
her eyes: "Still, you never know when men develop a sudden interest in elder
ladies."

"This is ridiculous," Doyle shook his head and looked back and forth between his
wife and his best friend. "And it isn't funny," he added with a firm and serious
voice.

In response Angel and Cordelia burst out laughing.

*******

"Mom, are you at home," Buffy asked when she entered her parents' home at five
o'clock.

"In the kitchen, honey," came Joyce's reply.

"Puhhh," her daughter made and let herself sink onto one of the chairs at the
counter.

"Hard day at the office?"

"Hmmm, Mr. Bowler kept me busy for three hours. He's a bit ... difficult." Her
eyes narrowed a little bit. "And he was definitely too interested in my female
attributes. He kept on staring at my backside the whole time." She sighed loudly.
"And then I had to go shopping for tonight's dinner."

"Oh I remember, welcome dinner for Georgie and Gavin. Isn't it great he got such
a good job here in LA?" Joyce turned round and looked at her daughter, whoes eyes
looked tired. "You should try to get more sleep, honey," she remarked.

Buffy rolled her eyes: "Yes, mom. But if you might remember, there's my third
photographic exibition coming up in two weeks."

"Oh," her mother raised an eyebrow. "And I thought there were other things
keeping you busy at night," she grinned.

Buffy shot her mother a nasty glance but then grinned as well: "Well, that too.
Not that I mind. On the contrary, I wouldn't want to miss it." Then she added
quickly: "I have thought about another baby lately."

"Oh," Joyce took a seat beside her daughter and looked at her: "And?"

Buffy shrugged: "I know Angel wants a baby, and I want one too. I really do, but
still..."

"You're still afraid you could lose it again, right?" Mrs. Giles put a hand on
her daughter's knee. "I know how you feel. Of course I never lost a baby, but
having two children I can understand how one must feel losing one. But wasn't it
you who once told me dwelling on the past wouldn't help."

Her daughter sighed: "I know. But we had such a hard time after...," she took a
deep breath. "I was horrible to him, mom. I don't want to hurt him again."

"I know," Joyce smiled. "But don't you think it's worth the risk. Buffy, honey.
You lost your baby, and it wasn't an experience you want to repeat, but it was an
accident. You weren't ill or anything. How likely is it that you're going to have
another accident?"

"I know, I know. Don't you think I've said this all to myself. In my head I know
all this, but it's here," she put a hand over her heart, "there I'm afraid."

"Don't push yourself honey," her mother leaned over and gave her a kiss on the
cheek. "You've made great progress. When the time is right you'll know. Maybe
it'll just happen one day."

"Yes, maybe," Buffy sighed again. "Now, tell me, where is my little brother?"
 

 Part 2

Putting the shopping bags down, Buffy reached for her key in her pocket, when the
door of the apartment opposite opened. After loosing the baby she and Angel had
decided to stay at the apartment, as there was no reason to move and Buffy was
scared of a big house with many rooms remembering what could've been.

A man stepped out of the door, he was in the beginning of his thirties with brown
hair and tall, not as athletic as Angel, Buffy thought immediately.

"Hi," he greeted her. "I'm Paul Cook, your new neighbour."

"Hi, nice to meet you," she said, extending a hand. "I'm Buffy Finnegan."

"Nice to meet you too. Can I help you?," he asked nodding at the bags on the
floor.

"Oh," she smiled. "No, thanks. I'll manage. We have a dinner invitation tonight."

"You and your girlfriend?" He raised an eyebrow and smiled at her flirtatiously.

"No, actually...", Buffy began, when she was cut off.

"Hey, honey," a well known voice came from the door of the elevator and she
turned with a smile on her lips.

"You're early," she greeted her husband.

Grinning he bent down to kiss her: "I have to cook, haven't I? And for six people
it needs some preparation time."

"Hmmm," she made, licking her lips after the kiss. Then she remembered the man
still standing behind them: "Oh, Angel, this is Paul Cook, our new neighbour.
This is Angel, my *husband*."

"Oh," Paul seemed surprised but extended a hand. "Nice to meet you. I just moved
in."

Both men shook hands then Angel looked at his wife: "I don't want to press you,
but maybe I should start preparing dinner," he said with a pointed nod at the
bags.

"Yes, of course," she replied and gazed at Paul. "Sorry, but we're a bit busy
tonight. My sister-in-law has just moved to LA with her husband and they'll come
over. So, see you."

"Yes," Paul gave the couple a smile, but it was only warm when he looked at
Buffy, Angel noticed immeditely. "Have a nice evening."

When he went for the elevator he could hear the laughter in his back and the
young woman said: "Angel, stop that," more laughter, "I thought you wanted to
start dinner," another laugh, "oooh, but that feels very nice." That moment he
knew he wouldn't like the husband.

*******

"Do you have everything?," Doyle asked his wife, while he was tryting to find his
car-keys. He definitely knew he had put them somewhere, but Cordelia had
distracted him the moment they'd entered their house and he'd forgotten all about
them. Sighing he kneeled down to look under the sofa when he saw a pair of eyes
looking at him from the other side. Grinning he said: "Oh, who is there?"

A giggle was the response.

"Do I know you?," he asked.

Another giggle. And then a shriek when he jumped up and leaned over to pick the
little girl sitting there up. "Daddy," she cried happily.

Holding her under his arm he began to tickle her.

"Oh Doyle, stop that," Cordelia came from their bedroom fixing her second
earring. "She's all dressed up and you ruin her clothes."

Putting his daughter down he looked at her: "Your mother has definitely a thing
with clothes," he joked and she smiled up at her father.

"While your father has no fashion sense at all," Cordelia replied drily, but her
eyes were smiling. "Now come on you two. Uncle Angel's making dinner, Camille
and I'm sure he's made your favourite desert."

"Yeah," the little dark-haired girl smiled happily. "Will Aunt Buffy cry today,"
she then asked.

Exchanging a quick glance with her husband Cordelia bent down to her daughter:
"Camille, I already told you why she's sometimes so sad. They wanted to have a
little girl of their own, but it died. It has nothing to do with you. Aunt Buffy
loves you very much." She kissed her daughter on the forehead. "Just be really
nice to her."

"'kay," Camille said with a serious expression. "I love her too."

"I know," Cordelia smiled. "You're my little girl. And now let's go. You'll meet
littel Daniel today. I'm sure you two'll like each other."

"Ewww, a boy," Camille wrinkled her nose in disgust.

"You're truly your mother's daughter," Doyle grinned stroking her little head.
Raising an arm in defense towards his wife he began to laugh and the family left
the house.

*******

"What time is it," Buffy asked from the bathroom. She was busy fixing her makeup.

"Ten to eight," came Angel's reply from the kitchen.

"Oh God," she groaned. "Only ten minutes. It's all your fault if I'm looking
dreadful."

"I'm sure you'll look fine as ever."

"Sure," she snorted. "Typical answer for a man. Life isn't fair, you only take
pants and a shirt and look georgeous while I ... Angel," she shrieked, when arms
were encircling her from behind.

"Mmmm," he made, nuzzling at her neck.

"Stop it," she tried to escape his grip halfheartedly, but then a moan escaped
her lips. "Oh God," she groaned. "I'm never going to get ready." She sighed. "You
and your damned ... uuuh ... distractions." She sighed again.

Pulling back from her he grinned at her in the mirror: "I just wanted you to
relax."

She shot him a look, but then sighed again: "Good work. But I'm still not ready.
There was enough time actually, but then you distracted me."

"I had the feeling you enjoyed it," he grinned devlishly.

"Of course I did, but it wasn't planned." Suddenly she grinned mischieveously:
"Somehow I smell something."

His head shot up: "Smell?," there was a note of panic in his voice.

"As if," she sniffled, "something's burnt."

"Oh god," he stormed out of the bathroom when he heard the laughter behind him.
"Oh you," he turned and stopped in the bathroom-door. "You pay for this."

"Hmmm," she made and grinned. "But later."

"Promise?"

"Go and finish the dinner," she leaned over and gave him a quick kiss. "Work
first, reward later!"

Grinning back he returned to the kitchen.

*

Only five minutes later the doorbell rang. Buffy went to answer it and smiled
when she saw her friends standing there: "Cordy, Doyle, Camille, come in."

Doyle was the first to hug her, then Cordelia, while Camille waited with huge
eyes. She loved Buffy, but she was always a bit unsure around her. Too often the
blonde had started to cry without a reason. Now Buffy kneeled down in front of
her: "Hey, little one."

"Hi," Camilled said shyly.

"Don't you want to hug me?," Buffy asked cautiously.

As a response the little girl launched herself in her arms which made her laugh.
"What a nice way to greet me." With the girl in her arms she stood up and carried
her over to the kitchen.

Seeing his wife approching him with Camille in her arms, Angel felt a little pang
in his heart, but tried to hide the feeling quickly. "Hi, my angel," he said
stroking Camille's cheek with his index-finger. "I have ice-cream for you, but
later."

"Yay," the little girl exclaimed happily. "Icecream." When she began to wiggle in
her arms, Buffy set her down. Then the doorbell rang for the second time.

"Hi Buffy," Georgie said with a smile on her face, while her husband stood behind
her, carrying Daniel who had obviously fallen asleep. "He's tired," Georgie said
with a nod at her son after embracing Buffy. "We were in the car for five minutes
and he was already fast asleep. Too much excitement with the moving and all."

"You can put him into the bed in the guest room," Buffy offered and lead her
over. "It's your old room actually," she opened the door. "And we still have all
the furniture."

"Thanks," Gavin went over to the bed and put Daniel down. When he was safely
tucked in, they left the room again, leaving the door slightly open, so they
would hear him waking up.

While Buffy made drinks for everyone, Angel greeted his sister and her husband.

After that they all sat down and Angel began serving the soup.

"This tastes wonderful," Cordelia sighed. "Like heaven. Really, I still think
you're in the wrong business. You should open a restaurant."

"He was always the best of us. Mom tried to teach us all, cooking I mean,"
Georgie looked at the brunette. "But somehow Angel seems to have a real talent
for it. Plus he likes cooking while I hate everything connected to a kitchen."

"The same here," Buffy raised her hand with the spoon. Then she grinned: "One
reason I had to keep your brother."

"Yeah, it can be very handy to have a good cook in the house," Doyle said with a
pointed look at his wife.

"Hey," she replied in mocked insult. "You better be good. Otherwise you'll make
your coffee by yourself in the future."

"You would never do that to me," he grinned. "You love me too much 'Delia."

"And don't call me that."

"Mommy?," Camille asked with wide eyes. "Daddy cannot make coffee," she stated
matter-of-factly. "You always say his coffee tastes like shit." She grinned
proudly at her comment which made the adults laugh, exept her mother.

"Camille," Cordelia gave her daughter a look. "I told you never to use the
s-word."

"But Daddy does and you too."

"Oh god," the brunette groaned.

Still laughing, Georgie looked at Cordelia: "The joys of parenthood. Why on earth
did we ever want to do such a thing?."

It was meant as a joke but the moment Georgie saw Buffy's face she wished she
could take the words back. Her sister-in-law was desperately trying to keep
herself together. Then she stood up: "Sorry," she said hoarsly and ran into the
kitchen.

Angel looked at his sister for a moment, who had a guilty look on her face: "It's
okay Georgie."

"I'm so sorry, I didn't think," she replied.

"I said, it's okay. You just eat. I will look for her," he said and went after
his wife.

*

He found her leaning at the sink, eyes closed, desperately trying to suppress
tears. He walked over to her and very gently pulled her in his arms, stroking her
head and back. "Shhh," she tried to comfort her.

"I'm so sorry," she sniffed.

"Hey," he slightly pulled back and cupped her cheek. "No need to be sorry. They
all understand. Georgie just didn't think."

"But that's just it," Buffy replied, angry with herself. "She cannot even make a
simple joke without me loosing it."

"Darling," he looked deeply into her eyes. "We've lost our baby. Nobody expects
you to behave as nothing has happened."

"But it's more than three years. Don't you think I should be over it. Other women
loose their babies too, but they just move on."

"You're not other women," he told her. "You're Buffy, you're very sensitive and
that's one of the reasons I love you so much. And about moving on. I will
certainly never be over it. There's not one day I don't think about our child."

"Oh Angel," she hugged him tightly. "I'm such a selfish brat."

Hugging her back he kissed her on her skull: "You're not selfish. We both have
suffered. But the most important thing is that we didn't loose each other, on the
contrary, I think our relationship is much stronger now."

"Yes," she nodded. "I love you so much."

"Love you too." Pulling back again he looked at her: "Are you okay now?"

"Yes, thank you," she stroked his cheek. "You're just the best."

"Never forget that," he grinned.

She hit his chest playfully: "Down, boy. Or you won't get your reward later."

"You'd never do that to me," his grin never faded.

"No, probably I won't, you're just too damned attractive" she sighed
dramatically. "But now let's go back. I'm really hungry."

With entwined hands they went back to join their guests again.
 

 Part 3

It was about a week after the family and friends dinner when Buffy sat at her
office desk sorting through her photgraphs, trying to figure out which ones she
wanted to use for her exibition. The title was LA's people and so faces and
situations she'd photographed throughout the last months looked up at her from
the pictures. Most of them she could clearly remember, like the face of the
little boy crying on his mother's arm. Both barely clothed, obviously living on
the streets, poor, hopeless, forgotten.

This picture would definitely be shown she decided. It was black and white and
very intense. The despair was almost tangible, but there was something else, the
love you could feel this mother felt for her child, the way she held him, the way
her hands were touching the tiny body said more than words. It was one of the
best pictures she'd ever taken.

"Buffy," Eileen's voice came from the door.

The blonde looked up: "What's up?"

"There's a customer who says he's a friend of your's."

Buffy quirked her eyebrows: "And the name?"

"He didn't say. Said it was a surprise," Eileen shrugged. She was the gallery's
secretary for six years now. 10 years Buffy's senior she was married and had two
children.

"I hate surprises," the blonde sighed but stood up followed the secretary to the
show-rooms only to find Paul Cook standing there. Inwardly grimacing she planted
her business smile on her face. She'd met him three times over the last week and
each time she'd liked him less. "Paul," she greeted him and dismissed Eileen with
a warm smile and a nod.

"Buffy," her neighbour turned to her. "I remembered that you told me about the
gallery two days ago. My apartment is still empty so I thought maybe I could find
something." His eyes were wandering up and down her body.

"I see," she tilted her head, ignoring his looks. "What exactly are you looking
for?"

"I'm not sure yet. But probably a painting. I've seen the flyer at the reception
desk about your exibition in two weeks."

"I do not paint. I'm a photographer," she told him still wearing ther business
smile. From the first moment she'd seen him she knew he wasn't poor, so he might
be a real customer and the first rule was never to let personal feelings ruin a
deal.

"Oh," he gave her a smile. "I'll come and look at them."

Great, she groaned inwardly, but was all nice and pleasant on the outside: "What
sort of painting are you looking for? What period, classical, modern?"

"Modern I think, my apartment is all leather and chrome, so it's not really the
place for some old master."

"I see," she replied and led him to a corner in the back: "This is a new, young,
local artist. His name is Darren Cahill. I think he's very talented." When she
turned to look at him she saw his gaze was at the backside of her body and it
seemed as if he hadn't listened to one word she was saying. Deeply annoyed she
put her hands on her hips: "Paul, why did you come here?," she wanted to know,
being nice to customers was alright, but everything had limits.

"Oh, sorry," his head snapped up, but immediately a seductive smile appeared on
his lips: "Come on, you know why I came. You must have felt it too," he stepped
forwards and laid a hand on her waist. "That's the reason you choose this dark
corner of the gallery, right?"

"Stop that," she hissed. "I'm not interested in you. Take your hand off of me."

"Don't play hide and seek with me, Buffy. You're an attractive woman and I'm not
too bad either."

"Talk about an ego," she sighed loudly. "And now, take your hand off my body,"
she glared at him.

Taking a deep breath he stepped back. Of course this wasn't the right spot for
his plans, it could wait for later: "Alright," he raised his hands in defense. "I
appologize. Obviously I misunderstood the signs."

"Obviously," she replied, her eyes narrowing. "And I'd appreciate when you would
stay away from me. Maybe you've forgotten, but I'm married, but even if I was
not, you wouldn't be my choice."

"Maybe I should talk to your boss, about the way you treat your customers," his
eyes were narrowing as well now and Buffy could see a dangerous glimpse in them.

"That's a good idea, an excellent idea actually" she interrupted him, seeing
Joyce coming towards them. "This is Mrs. Giles, the owner of the gallery," she
told him. "Maybe she could help you." With a sweet smile she introduced the two
people. "Mr. Cook, that's Mrs. Giles, *mom*, this is Paul Cook. He's interested
in modern art." She glanced at her watch: "I really have to go. Angel's waiting
for me."

With a last look on Buffy's retreating form Joyce turned around and smiled at
Paul: "Now, Mr. Cook. What did my daughter show you so far?"

He gritted his teeth and fumed inwardly. The little chick would pay for this.

******

"Hi Cordy," Buffy entered the agency about half an hour later and smiled at the
brunette sitting behind her desk.

"Buffy," she stood up. "What a surprise."

"Not really, I'm meeting ... ah, Angel," she greeted her husband, who came out of
his office and kissed her.

"You're early," he looked at his watch. "We said one o'clock."

"I know, but I had an annoying customer who was more interested in my parts than
in paintings," she sighed and sat down on the chair in front of Cordelia's desk.

"He didn't bother you?," her husband asked concerned.

"Not really, no. I think he understood the message. Mom's taking care of him now.
She's going to lecture him about art, I'm sure," she grinned evilly.

"Well done," Cordelia grinned as well.

"You're still busy," Buffy asked her husband.

"Only two more phone calls, then we can go," he answered and disappeared in his
office again.

"How do you feel," the brunette wanted to know, after Angel was gone.

"Good," Buffy stood up and got herself some coffee. "A bit busy with the
exhibition and all. I'm very nervous."

"Why? You're good, the other two times were a great success, you sold almost all
your pictures."

"I know, but this one is important for me, it's mostly about human faces and they
are very difficult to catch," the blonde sat down again, holding the cup in both
hands. "And what about you? Any news?"

Averting her friends eyes, Cordelia cleared her throat: "Actually..."

"What?," Buffy asked.

"I'm pregnant again," the brunette blurted out.

The blonde felt tears welling up in her eyes, but surprisingly for herself they
were happy tears only, she was happy for her friend: "Oh Cordy, that's great."
She put her cup down and came around the table to hug her friend.

"You really mean that?," Cordelia hadn't been sure about telling Buffy.

"Of course. It's great news. What did Doyle say?"

Realising the blonde really meant her words and didn't seem sad, Cordelia didn't
hide her excitement anymore: "He's on cloud no. nine. I told him yesterday and
now he's already planning for the room for the new baby," she grinned. "He's not
here today if you've noticed. He went shopping," she threw her hands in the air.
"Shopping. Imagine it! Usually you've to drag him into a store, but now he made
an early lunch break to buy a new crib. I said that Camille's old one would do,
but oh no, this is a new baby, he said, so it needs a new crib." She let out a
short laugh: "This morning Camille asked me, if there was something wrong with
Daddy, because he wouldn't stop smiling."

The same moment the office door opened and Buffy grinned: "Now if that isn't the
happy father," she greeted Doyle, who was carrying something big and obviously
heavy.

"God," he groaned. "I never thought a crib could be that heavy. Hi Buffy." He put
the wrapped object down beside the door. "I'm not sure it'll fit in our car," he
told his wife and gave her a quick kiss.

She rolled her eyes: "What do you think this baby is going to be: an elephant?"
She motioned towards the enormous thing standing near the entrance. "If it is I'm
refusing giving birth to that baby."

"'Delia, darlin', it's only all the parts. It's a swinging crib," he explained,
when Angel stepped out of his office the same minute.

"Buffy I'm ready now, we can ... good God, what's that?," he asked pointing
towards the door.

"That," his wife stood up and took his arm: "Is the crib for Cordy's and Doyle's
new baby. I think we leave it to them now, because I'm really hungry. By you
both," she turned towards the other couple and smiled: "Maybe it'll be twins,"
she joked.

Laughing she and Angel left the office and Buffy realised that for the first time
in almost four years she'd been able to laugh about the mentioning of a baby.
 

 Part 4

"To Buffy," Cordelia raised her hand holding a glass of champagne and ignored
the displeased looks she got from her husband, "the exibition was a great
success. Congratulations."

"To Buffy," the others said unison and everyone nipped at their glasses.

"To my wife, the greatest photographer," Angel whispered into her ear and kissed
her behind her earlobe.

She turned her head and smiled at him: "Thank you," then looked at her friends
who were celebrating with her. "Thanks to all of you."

"No need to thank us," Willow laid a hand on Buffy's arm. "You did a great job.
The pictures are wonderful."

"Yes, they are," Sheila Finnegan stepped forward and embraced her
daughter-in-law. "You're a genius."

"Oh, Sheila," Buffy blushed slightly. "I'm far from it. But I'm so glad you and
Daniel came to LA especially."

Mr. Finnegan cleared his throat: "Well it was a good oportunity to see our
grandson," he said.

"Stop it Daniel," Sheila slapped his chest playfully. "He just isn't one for
compliments. But he's very proud of you too."

Buffy smiled and leaned closer to Angel whose arm was wrapped around her waist
protectively. She felt great. The exibition had been a great success. The press
was impressed and she'd sold three quarters of the pictures. Joyce was thrilled
and Giles almost burst of pride. It was almost nine and they were all assembled
in the gallery which was closed since an hour. Buffy's mother had taken care of
some sandwiches and drinks and now she was celebrating her success with her
friends and family.

"Gavin bought one of your pictures," Georgie said when she and Buffy were
standing together in one of the corners. The guests of the little party were
scattered allover the gallery now.

"You didn't have to," her sister-in-law nipped at her champagne. "I would have
given it to you."

"Oh no," Georgie shook her head. "No way. You're an artist and you cannot just
give your pictures away." She grinned: "Angel's very proud of you. You're very,
very talented. The one Gavin bought for me is great. It's a mother holding her
child."

"Oh I know," Buffy's face lit up. "It's my favourite too. She's so desperate and
lost, but there's still so much love between her and the little boy."

"Yes," her sister-in-law nodded emphatically. "The love is almost palpable." She
sighed and leaned one shoulder against the wall. "It's an overwhelming feeling to
be a mother, it's very special..." suddenly she stopped and covered her mouth
with her hand: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..."

Buffy laid one hand on her arm: "It's okay," she smiled. "Really, it is. I'm much
better with his now. Somehow it just happened. I don't know why but when Cordy
told me about her pregnancy the only thing I felt was joy."

Georgie beamed: "Oh, I'm so glad. I was so sorry when you lost the baby. Angel
was devastated. You had a hard time after this I understand."

"Yes," the blonde nodded: "I ...," she took a deep breath, "I was very unfair to
him. Only because he didn't show the pain he felt all the time I thought it
wasn't hard for him too. But I was wrong, oh boy, how wrong I was."

"I'm glad you both got through this. I've never seen two people more in love than
you two, it would've been a shame if this would've separated you."

"But it didn't, it made us ... ohhh," Buffy reached for the wall to steady
herself, feeling dizzy for a moment.

Concerned Georgie took her arm: "Are you okay? Shell I get Angel?"

"No, no," the blonde shook her head and smiled. "I'm fine. I just, well I didn't
eat all day," she admitted. "I was so nervous and my stomach doesn't take food
then. And now all that champagne, it's just not the best combination."

"Agreed," Georgie said with a nod. "But that doesn't mean your husband shouldn't
take care of you. Excuse me for a moment," she said and went over to get her
brother, who was talking to Joyce and Willow.

He turned when he felt a hand on his shoulder: "You better get your wife some
food, she didn't eat all day and you aren't taking care of her," she teased.

"Buffy," he turned and looked at the blonde who was smiling at him and shaking
her head. "Is she okay?"

"Yes, now go and get her some food," his sister took his glass. "I'm going to
entertain myself with Mrs. Giles. Go," she gave him a little push.

"Are you alright?," Angel asked with the same concern Buffy had seen on his
sister's face before.

She smiled and nodded: "I'm fine. You know me, I was nervous and couldn't eat all
day. Then champagne on top of it...," she trailed off.

"I'll get you something," he gently kissed her hand and headed for the food.

"Now Buffster," a voice came from behind and she turned around to look into
Xander's grinning face. "You're getting famous."

"Well," she tilted her head and looked at Anya who was standing beside her
husband. The two of them had been married two years ago. "And you're getting very
busy soon," she said with a pointed nod at Anya's rounded belly.

"I'm cannot wait to get rid of this," she sighed loudly. "Being pregnant is
highly overrated. You know when I found out I was pregnant all my friends were
grinning and telling me how wonderful this would be but I feel horrible. Fat,
ugly and I'm walking like a duck."

Buffy grinned: "Poor Anya, but it'll be over soon."

"Another week," Xander's hand stroked his wife's belly gently. "I can't wait to
see him."

"It's a boy then?," Angel asked while he handed his wife a plate with two
sandwiches.

"Yes, a boy," Anya nodded. "We saw it on the ultrasound," a grin spread over her
face, "actually the doctor told us. Ultrasound-pictures aren't that clear, at
least not for me."

"Buffy," Xander looked at the blonde. "It was a wonderful evening, but we'll
leave now. Anya needs her rest."

"Of course," Buffy handed Angel her plate for a moment and embraced her friends:
"Thanks for coming. Thanks a lot. And tell me when the Baby's arrived."

"Of course," Xander grinned and the couple left the gallery.

"Hmmm," Buffy chewed her sandwich and looked at her husband. "That tastes like
heaven. I'm so hungry all of a sudden."

He smiled: "Of course you are. All this has been wonderful," he gestured around
the gallery, "and now you're relaxed. Time for your stomach to call out."

She sighed: "Yeah, you're right. I still can't believe everything went so well.
Mom said we earned a lot of money today."

Angel took her hand and kissed it's back: "I'm so proud of you. After all you've
been through in your life, you never gave up."

She looked at him for a moment: "But you didn't either. I mean, you were with me
through all the storms in my life, well, the important ones at least."

"Isn't that what marriage is about. To be with each other, to take care of each
other, to give each other strength?," he asked now kissing her palm.

"Yes." She leaned her head against his shoulder. "I'm really tired now. I hope
this will soon be over."

"We can push them all out," he offered. "I'm sure they'll understand."

"I think I'm going to sleep for 24 hours then," she sighed, then suddenly a
wicked grin spread over her face: "Talking about marriage, it reminds me of
something I want to do before I sleep like dead."

"Really, whatever could that be?," he asked innocently and raised a brow. Kissing
her hand again he added: "I have a better idea. We could go now and leave the
pushing-out part to your mother. I'm sure she'll understand." With this he went
over and talked to Joyce for a while. When he came back he simply took her hand
and pulled her with him while Buffy had to grin when she saw her mother winking
at her.

******

Paul Cook sat in his living room with a glass of wine and a well proportioned
blonde beside him who seemed to be a promise for a night of passion. He'd been at
the gallery today but Buffy had ignored him. He wasn't entirely sure that it was
only because she had to talk to the press.

The moment she had been free he had tried to approach her when he had seen her
husband entering the gallery. So Paul had left without even exchanging a word
with her. He had been furious afterwards and to please himself he had called
Denise, a girl working at his office who had tried to hit on him for weeks.

Now she was sitting with him on the sofa, the fingers of her left hand wandering
seductively over his arm, when he heard laughter from the hallway and two people,
a man and a woman talking to each other. He couldn't hear the words clearly but
even a fool would've noticed that they were heading for their bed, but not to
sleep in it.

He felt anger rising inside of him again and when he heard the door of the
opposite apartment shut he pulled Denise in his arms. She was blonde and not to
tall, maybe if he closed his eyes he could imagine she was someone else for the
night.
 

 Part 5

Buffy was dreaming a wonderful dream. She was laying in the arms of her husband
and his hand was stroking her rounded belly, gently, softly, and she felt good,
oh so good. She felt safe and protected in Angel's arms, she could see his smile,
they both were happy. Suddenly the scenery changed. Darkness was surrounding them
and she could feel a threatening presence somewhere near them. Her hand reached
for her belly, but the roundness was gone, it was flat again as if there'd never
existed a child. But there was blood, lots and lots of it. "No," she scremed and
bolted upright in her bed. She panted heavily, *a dream, it was only a dream*,
she thought and started when she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder.

"Buffy, my sweet, did you have a dream?," a beloved voice asked beside her. When
he realised her body was trembling he immediately wrapped her in his arms. "What
was it?," he asked softly.

"Oh, Angel. It was the dream, you know the one I always had after I lost the
baby," she sobbed in his arms.

"Baby, I'm so sorry. Shhh," he stroked her hair and back. "Please don't cry."

"I'm okay again," she sniffed and pulled back slightly. "It was just so ... so
unexpected. I didn't have the dream for over two years. I don't understand why it
now comes back to haunt me."

"Maybe all the stress because of your exibition," he suggested. "You were feeling
dizzy yesterday night." He kissed her softly on the forehead and then suddenly
looked a little bit guilty. "Maybe I shouldn't have distracted you afterwards."

"Nonsense," she replied with a smile. "It was wonderful and you know that. I love
making love to you."

"I love it too," he smiled. "In fact I love you," he then added. "Are you feeling
any better now?"

"Hmmm," she sighed and snuggled deeper in his embrace. "You're always great in
making me feel better," she yawned, "an expert actually," she yawned again and
her voice was already far away when she added, "Gavin bought Georgie one of my
pictures, did I tell you?"

He smiled and looked at her, she was fast asleep. But Angel wasn't able to go
back to sleep for a while. He wasn't usually a person who believed in
supernatural things, but he too thought it was strange she would dream that
special dream right now.

****

"Morning boss," Cordelia grinned when Angel entered his office two weeks later.
"You're early."

"Morning to you too," he greeted back and glanced at Doyle's office, "Is your
dearest husband there?"

"No, he's out already. Some research for the Cameron-case."

"I see," Angel nodded. Rebecca Cameron was a middle-aged woman who suspected her
husband, a well known director, to have an affair with a young starlet.

"And there's a new client in your office."

"Oh?," he raised an eyebrow.

"Hmmm," she made and looked at the computer screen. "Something about his
daughter. He wouldn't tell me, he wants to talk to one of the partners he said,
and as Doyle was out already..."

"Alright. Could you get me some coffee. Black, strong."

She grinned again, "Still tired my friend? You should really be careful about
your nightime activities. You don't get any younger you know," she teased.

"Sure," he grinned back, "You're the expert on sleep I say," he added with a
pointed look at her belly and then disappeared in his office.

******

Buffy closed the door and ran for the elevator. She was already late this
morning. After Angel had left Noel Lansing had called her and talked to her on
the phone for hours. He was the owner of a big gallery in New York and had also
been one of the guests of her photo exibition. Now he told her that he was
interested to have something similar in one of his galleries. He was a boring
man, but the opportunity to show her work in New York was too intriguing. So she
had to patient on  the phone and listen to all his stories about his children
before he came to the point.

Another glance at her watch told her she had to hurry, her mother had a business
appointment at ten o'clock and she had promised her to be at the gallery in time.
The doors of the elevator opened and she stepped it. Pressing the down-button she
gasped when at the last possible second Paul Cook slipped in.

"Morning," he said with a smile.

"Hello," she replied.

"May I say how beautiful you are this morning," he complimented her.

"Hmmm," she made searching in her purse for the car keys and not really paying
attention to him.

"On your way to the gallery I guess."

Her head shot up, "Oh sorry," she gave him an absentminded smile. "I'm really in
a hurry."

As soon as the door of the elevator opened she rushed out without looking at him
again. He on the other hand watched her leave the house and get in the car. The
chick was ignoring him. He would tell her... but then a smile spread across his
face, maybe this was her way teasing him. He wanted her and he would have her, he
vowed. Husband or not, he would have her.

*****

"Now, Mr. Benton," Angel took another sip from his coffee, "let me resume this.
Your daughter is 24, a single and lives in L.A. She's blonde and around five feet
high. Usually she calls you once a week, but for two weeks you have not heard
from her." He didn't like it. This didn't sound good, not at all.

Miles Benton nodded, "Exactly, Mr. Finnegan. And she's a very dutiful daughter.
Her mother is out of her mind because she didn't call. She moved to L.A. a year
ago. She had a hard time at the beginning." He smiled, "we tried to persuade her
to come back home. We're from a small town in Ohio, you know. But she was too
stubborn, she's always been stubborn. She wanted to go through with his." He
sighed, but his expression was full of love and concern for his daughter. "And
then she fell in love with one of her collegues. Obviously he didn't feel the
same, but it didn't bother her. She's always been a hopeless romantic. Like her
mother," he sighed again. "But then two weeks ago this young man seemed to notice
her. He invited her for dinner. She seemed so happy. Since that day we haven't
heard from her."

Angel looked at Cordelia who was writing down all the facts. Then he turned back
to his client, "Do you know the name of that man?"

"No," the older man shook his head, "Somehow it never came up, it wasn't really
important as he didn't seem to be interested in my daughter at first. I don't
know why he changed his mind." He reached into his pocket and then handed a
picture to Angel, "This is her. It was made a year ago. But she hasn't changed
much. She's been home for some days six weeks ago."

Angel's eyes widened for a moment when he saw the picture. The girl was a petite
blonde, with large hazel eyes and a nice smile. She reminded him of Buffy at the
first look. She didn't really look like Buffy, but she was a similar type. He
handed it over to Cordelia, who gasped a little bit. Obviously she had the same
first impression.

"Well, Mr. Benton," Angel gazed at the concerned father, "we will try our best.
Did you talk to the police?"

"I did," Miles Benton nodded, "but it wasn't very promising. She's an adult and
they mainly shrugged saying it was nothing special that a girl of her age would
disappear for a while. Some people would go on spontaneous vacations, they told
me. But Mr. Finnegan, my daughter isn't like that. She would've called us,
informed us where she would go. My wife has a weak heart and our daughter
wouldn't have done anything to upset her."

"Alright. Would you please leave any further information with Cordelia," Angel
stood up and looked at his client. "We need her postal adress, the adress of her
work and these things. Names of girlfriends if she's told you about them and so
on."

The older man nodded, "Of course. Mr. Finnegan you were recommended to me and I
trust you. Please find my daughter, she's all we have. My wife ... she wasn't
well and so she's our only child."

"I understand," Angel assured him and he did. He had to think about the baby he
and Buffy had lost. "We will try to get information as quick as possible. Oh
another thing. You never gave us the christian name of your daughter."

"Really?," Mr. Benton looked at him for a moment and then shrugged. "Obviously it
never came up. It's Denise. My daughter is called Denise Christine Benton.
 

 Part 6

Buffy sighed loudly and took the seat Dr. Sefton offered her. She hated doctors
and she hated being her, but her mother had almost forced her to go. Ever since
her exhibition she was having dizzy spells and so Mrs. Giles had insisted for her
seeing a doctor.

Dr. Sefton was a practical doctor, Buffy knew her almost all her life and she was
now smiling openly at her, "Now, Buffy, I'm glad you could come. I've got all
the test results now."

"I still don't know why you couldn't have told me on the phone," the blonde
muttered. "Alright," she sighed again, "what is it? Not enough iron? My blood
pressure is too low? Just tell me, I take some pills and..."

"Actually," Dr. Sefton interrupted her, "it's nothing that can be cured with
pills, only time will help in this special case." She grinning in seeing Buffy's
puzzled gaze, "You're pregant, Buffy."

The blonde paled visibly, "What?," she asked incredulously.

"Yes," the doctor confirmed. "You should be about 7 weeks pregnant. I'm surprised
you didn't notice it yourself. When did you have your last period?"

"My last ..., oh boy," Buffy rubbed her forehead, "there was so much going on, I
had another exhibition and all, but ... I can't really remember when I had my
last." Suddenly she frowned, "But I'm on the pill."

"And you take it regularely?," Dr. Sefton wanted to know.

The blonde smiled a sheepishly, "Yeah, well ... sometimes I forgot, being so busy
and all." She leaned back in her seat, "Wow," she said more to herself.

"Buffy, I understand that you had reservations about another pregnancy after your
miscarriage, but ...," she stopped when she saw a smile creeping over her
patient's lips. "What?"

"I'm happy," the blonde smiled, "God, I think it's great news and I'm happy. Only
some weeks ago my mom said I would know when I'm ready to have another baby. It
seems I am. Ready, I mean. Thank you Dr. Sefton," she jumped up. "I have to tell
Angel. He will be so happy."

She was almost out of the door, when the doctor's voice stopped her, "Wait!
Buffy, please call me tomorrow, I'll give you the number of a good OB. You need
to have some tests run."

The blonde looked instantly worried, "Is there something wrong with our baby?"

"No," Dr. Sefton shook her head, "it's just to make sure everything is alright.
You need to have ultrasounds later on and these things."

"Alright. I give you a call tomorrow, but now I need to see my husband. I hope
you understand."

"Of course," the doctore smiled at the closed door.

*******

"This is really strange," Angel frowned at the police report in front of him and
looked at Spike who sat in his office. "Did you read it?"

"Yes," his friend replied with a nod. "It seems Mr. Benton was right. They won't
do anything about his daughter. It just isn't priority. But this," he pointed at
another file lying on Angel's desk, "is what has me worried. Dru is talking to
the parents of the girl now that we speak."

"Hmmm," Angel made deep in thoughts. This morning they had learned that only
three days ago the police had found the dead body of a girl in an alley. She was
blonde too and about the same size and shape as Denise. "It can be a
conincidence," he said after a while.

Spike shook his head, narrowed his eyes and licked his lips, "I have a bad
feeling about this," he said. "I can't explain it, but they are too alike. I
mean, look at their pictures, they could've been sisters. Somehow my gut tells me
it'll be only a matter of time until they find another body. Denise's."

The dark haired man closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair, "Pray you're
wrong. I don't know how to tell her father if you're right." He opened his eyes
again, "I won't tell him about your suspicions, not now. Although they sound very
likely. We just have to look at the facts. Denise is a dutiful daughter, she's
reliable at work, visits her friends regularely and all of a sudden she's gone.
Tells noone, nobody has seen her ... this sounds too familiar, too damned
familiar."

"Yes," his friend nodded gravely, "I ...," he stopped when a motion at the door
caught his attention, "Buffy, hi," he greeted his friend's wife, who was beaming
at her husband.

"Buffy," Angel stood up quickly and walked over to her, "are you okay? I didn't
expect you." He rubed her arms in concern and looked at her.

"No, I'm fine. Actaully...," she gazed at Spike, "would you mind letting us alone
for a moment?" she asked.

"Sure, Angel, we talk later. I'm going to talk to officer Garvey about this," he
said and closed the door behind him.

"So tell me," Angel demanded. "What is the matter?"

"Angel," with tears in her eyes she slung her arms around his neck and locked
eyes with him, "I ... I'm pregnant."

He was speechless, he could do nothing but stare at her. "P...," he cleared his
throat, "pregnant?" Was that really his voice he was hearing? It sounded so
strange.

"Yes," she nodded happily. "I'm coming from the doctor right now. It's certain.
I'm seven weeks along, but with all the things going on I never thought about it.
Angel, are you okay?," she asked and touched his cheek, "You look so strange?"

He exhaled a breath he hadn't even realised he was holding and shook his head,
"I'm okay, just ... oh heavens, Buffy, you're pregnant," he began to grin, "we're
going to have a baby."

"Yes!," she said again. "Angel. I'm so happy. Are you happy?"

"Happy? I'm delighted, thrilled, exited," he laughed. Then suddenly he became
serious, "And you're sure you're alright. You need to be careful now, no heavy
lifting or anything, do you understand, and then you need to see a doctor
regularely, they have to do ultrasounds and ...," he was interrupted when she
pressed her lips on his'.

"You're very sweet when you babble," she said afterwards. "I'm calling my doctor
tomorrow and she'll give me the number of a good OB. And I will be careful.
Angel," her voice was suddenly thin, "you think this will be alright? I really
want that baby and I'm happy, but still..."

He held her tightly, "I'm sure. It was an accident the last time, my love."

"I know," she nodded and smiled again, "This is so exciting. Only some months and
then we'll have our baby. Oh Angel," she sighed happily and leaned her head
against his chest.

"Hey are you okay," Cordelia had opened the door and looked at the couple, her
forehead wearing a frown in seeing her best friends in tears.

"Yes," Angel nodded and tried to blink his tears of happiness away, "Actually,"
he looked at his wife and when he saw her aproving smile he said, "you can be the
first to know. Buffy and I are going to have a baby."

"Oh," the brunette smiled brilliantly. "That's... that's wonderful. Oh Buffy,
Angel," she walked over and embraced them in a group hug. "Congratulations. Oh
hell, now I'm crying too," she sniffed.

"I thought this was the office of a PI and not the 'Crying Game'," Doyle grinned
at the group. "What's going on?"

"Oh," Cordelia pulled back from her friends and looked at her husband who was
immediately concerned. But she smiled, "Buffy's pregnant, Doyle. They're going to
have a baby."

Her husband began to grin, "I see. God, this agency will be flodded with children
soon."

"It seems," Angel nodded. "You know, I think we've done enough for today. How
about a spontaneous celebration?" When he saw his wife and his friends nod he
grinned and took his keys, "then let's go. You're all invited."

 Part 7

Again all the faults are mine! Not Beta-ed.

"This restaurant is nice," Buffy sighed and smiled at her husband lovingly.

"And good food too," Cordelia informed her.

They'd started celebrating Buffy's pregnancy at afternoon with some drinks
(non-alcoholic for the expecting mothers of course) in a coffee-shop near by and
now continued with dinner in a four star Italian restaurant.

"And we can really afford it," Doyle grinned. "I mean it's a good thing we're
here to celebrate. Only some years ago we started the agency and were almost
starving the first months. And look at us now," he took his glas in his hand, "we
needed more staff because the work is almost too much, both our beloved ladies
are expecting," he winked at Angel, "aaand, Mrs. Giles is watching Camille for
the night," now he winked at his wife.

At Buffy's and Angel's puzzled gazes Cordelia explained, "Just recently she's
developed a thing for mommy's and daddy's bed. Preferably in the middle of the
night and between us. She insists that green monsters are following her to eat
her alive," she sighed dramatically. "It really cools down your love life."

Angel chuckled at that, "Must be something. Just imagine," he grinned at Buffy,
"to be in the middle of... and then the door opens and your daughter's standing
there."

"Yeah," Doyle didn't seem to share their amusement, "Now you know what's going to
happen to you soon."

"Never," Buffy shook her head emphatically. "Our child will behave her- or
himself." Gently she patted her belly.

"Ha, ha," Cordelia made, "wishful thinking, I promise. The little ones have a
talent for these situations. I can't even count the times anymore when Camille
interrupted a kiss or something like that. And the worst thing is, you can never
be mad at her, because she just smiles sweetly. At least that's what's she doing
now. I can clearly remember the time when she would cry 'kissy face' all the
time." She rolled her eyes but laughed at the same time. "Thanks to Doyle she's
too spoiled."

"Hey, not fair," he defended himself, but shut up when he saw his wife raise a
brow. "Okay, okay, what can I say. She's just irresistable."

They were interrupted by the waiter who brought their plates and soon they
started eating.

"Hmmmm," Cordelia closed her eyes in pleasure. "This tastes delicious. But then,
Angel choose the restaurant. Always trust a masterly cook to find his own kind."

"I could never produce something like that," Angel refused the compliment.

"Not true. Your catfish in cream-sauce," Buffy licked her lips. "I've never," she
gestured with her empty fork in the air, "never, I say, eaten anything that can
compare to that." Suddenly she narrowed her eyes and tilted her head, "I'm sure
you made it that first evening especially to seduce me. See, I've found out your
secret, Angel. Now there's nothing you can hide from me anymore," she grinned.

"Only fair. Husbands shouldn't have secrets with their wifes," the brunette took
another fork of her noodles.

"But wifes can have secrets with their husbands, am I getting this right?," Doyle
exchanged a look with Angel.

"Exactly," his wife nodded. "Women need to have secrets, that's half of the
fascination. Secrets make a woman attractive and mysterious. Just think about
Buffy and Angel. When they met ... well, there were certainly a lot of secrets
around Buffy."

"Not really," the blonde said looking at her husband. "I told Angel right away."
She gave him a smile and he took her hand to kiss it lovingly.

"Stop this," Cordelia scolded them. "No PDA in a restaurant of all places. We're
here to eat, not to do things better done in one's bedroom."

"Cordelia," Angel chuckled. "I was just kissing my wife's hand. That's certainly
nothing to make anyone blush."

The brunette pointed with her fork at him, "You never know. Things can get easily
out of hand. I've seen you two. I've got experience. You've always got problems
to keep your hands off her."

"That's mutual," Buffy muttered between two bites of her meat.

"I've heard that," Cordelia grinned smugly. "And let me tell you, comments like
these don't give you any points in my book. We're grown up adults, no hormone
driven teenagers."

"But hormones can be so very nice," Angel gave Buffy a mischievious grin and
pressed another kiss on her palm. She giggled in response.

"Oh God," the brunette groaned. "If anyone asks, we're not here together."

"Come on, 'Delia," Doyle squeezed his wife's arm, "They've just heard they're
going to be parents soon."

"Talking about parents and hormones," Buffy smiled sweetly at the brunette, "How
come you're already expecting your second if you never listen to your basic
instincts?"

"At least we're doing it privately."

"Oh yeah? That reminds me of all the times I found Doyle drooling over your desk
in the office or even one special time...," Angel trailed off, grinning
devlishly.

"Shut up," Cordelia gave him a murderous look. "You promised never to tell anyone
about that special incident or call it accident."

"Accident?," Buffy perked her ears and gave her husband a curious glance.

"Angel," the brunette warned.

"Hey, she's my wife and just before you said I'm not about to have secrets with
her."

"Hmph," Cordelia made and concentrated on her meal. For once she had no argument
against that.

"So here it goes," Angel said with a smug look in his eyes, "It was the second
year we had the agency. Cordelia was with us for about three or four months when
we had our first big case. A murder. Anyway, it was an ugly story. In the end we
found out that our client - whom our pretty secretary found deadly attractive -
had been the killer and just hired us as a distraction. Grant, that was his name,
mostly ignored Cordelia which made her furious. She couldn't imagine why he
wouldn't be attracted to her." He exchanged a short glance with Doyle who looked
amused, knowing exactly what was coming now.

"So that evening we found out about Grant, Miss Chase decided to take the matters
in her own hand and visited him at his hotel room. To her great luck, Grant
wasn't a man who would kill anybody. He'd only wanted to get the money from his
grandmother, the lady who had been killed. At the time Cordelia showed up in his
apartment he was already aware of the fact we knew about him and thought, she did
too, which wasn't the case.

"To make a long story short, he forced her to remove all her clothing and left
her in his hotel room with nothing to replace what he'd taken from her, cutting
the phone so she wouldn't tell or warn us he was leaving town. But Doyle, almost
insane with jealousy had spied on her and," Angel had to chuckle, "found her like
this only two minutes after Grant, he was gay by the way, had left. He brought
her back to the agency wearing nothing but a sheet around her body. He couldn't
bring her home because we'd agreed to meet at the office at a certain time.

"And Doyle was so angry with her that he yelled at her, one thing led to another
and when I finally showed up at the agency they were all over each other over
Cordelia's desk," he finished the story with a grin.

"That's a great story," Buffy grinned as well. "If you're ever going to write
your memoirs this has to be a special chapter, like I and the gay killer after
whom I lusted," she held her stomach she was laughing so hard.

"Ha, ha, this is so funny," Cordelia said and found great interest in her
fingernails. They needed painting, didn't they.

"I could've strangled her," Doyle said remembering that night. "Running right
into the hotel room of a suspect. She hadn't known he was the killer, but he was
after all a suspect and yet," he ran a hand through his hair. "I'm sure this
night costed me five years of my life."

"Poor baby," his wife had found her sense of humor again and patted his leg. "But
think about the fact you could play the white night in shining armour. I was so
glad when you came to that room. I honestly didn't know what to do. And about
Grant being gay. I was glad to hear it," her face wore a content expression now,
"because otherwise I'd thought I had lost my attraction for men."

"Still, thinking about Cordy in a white sheet running around in a hotel," Buffy
giggled.

"It wasn't fun," Doyle told her. "She was yelling at me all the time. First she
seemed really glad to see me, but then she was angry, because I had followed her,
then she almost hit me when I told her Grant was gay."

"But why were you jealous when you knew about him being gay?," the blonde asked.

"Because I couldn't imagine a man resiting Cordelia," he said honestly.

"Oh, I love you Doyle," his wife had tears in her eyes. "Did I ever tell you how
sweet you are?"

"You can show me later," he winked at her.

Their easy conversation was suddenly interrupted by the sound of Angel's
cell-phone. With a laugh he answered it but his face became instantly serious and
his eyes locked with Doyle's. "Yeah," he said. "Thanks Dru. See you then. Yes,
thanks again." He disconnected the line and took a deep breath, "Bad news. They
found the body of a girl. It's Denise."
 

 Part 8

Angel had hated mortuaries from the day he'd started to work as a private
investigator. The first few months his stomach would heave each time. It wasn't
the blood or the dead bodies but the despair and grieve of the people left
behind. Death was so final and there was nothing he could do anymore to change
the facts. All that was left was finding the one who'd ended a promising young
life and help justice being performed. Still it left you with a feeling of
failure and helplessness.

"God, I hate this," Doyle rubbed the back of his neck and leaned himself against
the wall.

Angel quickly glanced at him and both exchanged a short look of understanding.
Both turned when they heard a door open and shut and then saw Kate Lockley
heading their way.

"Angel, Doyle," she greeted both men. Over the years of Angel's marriage to Buffy
Kate had managed to get over her feelings towards the PI and now they were able
to act at least civil around each other. "I left the Bentons with their daughter.
They insisted on staying with her for another while," she told them. "My partner,
Barney, is with them. He'll take care of them." She took a deep breath and
motioned to the chairs.

When all of them were seated she shook her head, "As long as I'm working as a
police officer, I will never get used to this. She was so young, it's so
senseless." She locked eyes with Angel, "She was murdered brutally. But there are
some things you should know." When she saw Doyle raise a brow she gave him a sad
smile, "Mr. Benton told me he would hold on to you to help to find the killer.
And for this you should know the facts." She had to laugh, "I know it doesn't
sound like me, openly passing information on to PIs, but I want that bastard as
soon as possible. The way it looks...," she paused and rubbed her eyes. "Let's
get some coffee first. I had a long night and it's still early."

They all stood up and moved over to get some coffee. When they were seated again,
Kate continued, "It seems as if this could be a serial killer or become one. Only
some days ago we found another girl." When she saw the PIs nod she realised that
they'd already heard about it. "I should've known that nothing escapes you both,"
she had to laugh, "anyway. The girls are very much alike. If it was only that it
wouldn't give us a sleepless night, but there's more. Both were murdered the same
way, strangled with a scarf the doc says, both wore an identical mark on their
stomach. He tatoos them when they're already dead. Both had sex before they were
killed," she closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead, "but of course our killer
is smart and used a condom, so there are no traces. He even cuts their
fingernails and cleans their hands. This bastard it very clever. And he's
obvioulsy after a certain type."

"Yeah," Doyle nodded. "We already realised that. It was what made us wonder if
we'd find Denise alive."

"I see," Kate took a sip from her coffee. "Oh, there is another thing. The way it
looks Denise was killed before the other girl."

"Oh God," Angel leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. When he opened them
again he looked at the police officer, "so there'd be a possibility to find more.
Girls, I mean?"

"I don't want to imagine it, but yeah," she replied. "The moment we realised the
fact that the girls were killed the same way we hired a psychologist. At the
moment she tries to form a profile of the killer. So far she thinks he's after a
certain woman but couldn't get her. So he looks for look alikes. When his sexual
hunger is satisfied anger takes over that they aren't her after all and he kills
them."

Angel felt nausea rising in his stomach and he had to swallow hard. It wasn't the
first time he doubted this was the right job for him. "So he doesn't intend to
kill them at first."

"That's what the psychologist says," Kate confirmed. "What makes him even more
dangerous. I'm sure to the women he just looks like a charming date. The profile
even says that he might date some women and let them go. There's no way saying
what triggers the kill."

*****

"Oh Baby," Joyce Giles hugged her daughter tightly, then pulled back and smiled
at her with tears in her eyes. "This is wonderful news. I'm going to be a granny
soon."

"Yeah," Buffy smiled back. They were standing in her mother's office in the
gallery.

"What did Angel say?"

"Oh, Mom. He was struggling to keep his happy tears from falling. I think I've
never seen him so happy before." She had to smile at the thought of her husband.

"Where is he by the way," Joyce asked, finally releasing her daughter. "I'd think
he wouldn't let you out of his sight."

Buffy laughed, "You know him too well. But there's this case they're working on.
Obviously the daughter of the client they are working for was found dead last
night."

"How horrible," her mother shook her head, "I don't even want to think about
something like that. You being gone for six years was bad enough, but we got you
back. To think...," she had to take a deep breath.

"Yeah," Buffy nodded and unconsciously rubbed a hand over her belly. "They are at
the mortuary at the moment. He and Doyle. The parents of the girl are there ...,"
she paused remembering how her husband had held her close the whole night in need
of being near to her. She looked at her mother, "Angel took it hard." She sighed
and shook her head, "maybe that's the reason he's so good, but it throws him. He
feels helpless."

The two women were silent for a while, then Joyce cleared her throat and changed
the subject, "You should tell your father," she smiled at her daughter and then
had to laugh, "He will be happy for you. Oh wait," she clasped her hands
together, "we could have a baby-announcement-party. What do you think?"

"Mom," Buffy bit her lower lip. "I don't want to spoil your fun, but I don't want
everybody to know at the moment. Maybe a bit later when we can be sure...," she
trailed off, looking to the ground.

Joyce took her hand and cupped one cheek to make her look at her, "No heavy
thoughts, honey. Nothing will happen to your baby this time. I know there's
always a risk the first three months and I'm alright if you don't want to
announce it right now, but you have to think positive."

"I do," her daughter smiled again, "really I do. Still I can remember all the sad
faces and the condolences last time. It was almost as hard as loosing the baby."

Mrs. Giles squeezed Buffy's hand, "I understand. Alright, but you should tell
Rupert, because I can't keep it from him. I just feel too happy about it." She
grinned widely.

"I will. Can I use your phone?"

******

"Mr. and Mrs. Benton," Angel, Doyle and Kate stood up when they saw the couple
coming towards them. Mr. Benton had introduced his wife to the PI this morning.
He'd told them she had a weak heart but at the moment she was holding herself
together admirably.

"Mr. Finnegan," Laura Benton gave him a quick smile. "My husband and I have
decided to hire you further on. We," she narrowed her eyes at Kate, "lost our
faith in the police. They did nothing in the first place and we're not so sure
they're capable of finding a killer."

"Mrs Benton," Kate began but was stopped by the woman holding up a hand.

"Detective Lockley," she said, "I'm sure you will try, but I also know how busy
the police is. You won't tell us we aren't allowed to hire a PI, will you?"

"No of course not," Kate said with a sigh. She knew the couple had already made
up their mind and there was no way changing it.

"Mr. Finnegan. Denise was our only child. Some sick bastard killed her without
mercy." She had to take a deep breath to hold herself together. "She was the most
wonderful daugher, so talented, so bright ... I want him behind bars for the rest
of his life and I want him fast." Her voice was like steel now. "I don't want any
other parents feel the way we do right now." She reached out and took the hand of
her husband who hadn't said a world so far. "Nobody can imagine what it means to
loose a child that way. It's...," she wasn't able to continue because her rigid
control snapped and tears began to fell. With a sob she turned and burried her
head in her husband's chest, who held her tightly.

"Will you do this for us," he asked Angel and Doyle. "Will you continue working
for us and help finding her killer?"

"Of course we will," Angel assured him quickly. "I didn't have the pleasure
meeting your daughter, but you can be sure that I want him caught as well." He
had to think of Buffy's pregnancy and the baby they'd lost already. He hadn't
experienced the same as the Benton's but he could clearly remember his own
anguish. "But you should go back to your hotel now and rest. I'm going to contact
you in the afternoon."

"Thankyou," Mr. Benton held out his hand and Angel took it. "See you later than."

As soon as the couple was gone Kate looked at the two men, "Maybe we can keep in
close touch about this. They might not trust the police anymore, but I won't rest
until we have him." They exchanged a short look and she nodded. "Good. See you
then."
 

 Part 9

A week later they still hadn't found out anything. The Bentons had returned home,
Angel had persuaded them to leave L.A. plus Denise was to be burried in her
hometown.

Angel lived in a permanent rollercoaster of emotions. There was the fact he and
Buffy were expecting a baby, a fact that made him almost burst with happiness but
then there was still a killer running wild. When he returned home exactly ten
days after the police had found Denise he was particulary depressed because the
body of another dead blonde had been discovered. This girl seemed to have been
murdered after the others ... so the killer was still active.

Rubbing his tired eyes and fumbling in his pockets for his keys Angel looked up
when the door of the oposite apartment opened. Paul Cook, he thought groaning
inwardly. Buffy had told him that this man had made the moves on her, flirting
constantly and then more obvious in the gallery some weeks ago. He wanted to
punch him for this but knew it would be childish to act that way. Buffy had put
him in his place and there was nothing more to say about it. At least at the
moment, although Angel couldn't help but feel his fist itching.

"Hi Angel," Paul greeted him with a smile that didn't reach his eyes. They were
cold as ice.

"Paul," Angel nodded at him for a greeting. "Didn't see you for a while."

"Yeah, lots of work you know."

Angel didn't comment on this, but opened his apartment instead realising that
Buffy wasn't at home yet. Paul had noticed it as well.

"Buffy not at home?"

"No," Angel shook his head. "It's the late evening at the gallery, they're open
until nine tonight."

"Oh, I see. She seems to be very devoted to her work."

"Yeah," Angel said shortly. He didn't want to talk to Paul Cook. He was tired and
beat and in no mood for any small talk. "Have a nice evening," he said then and
just closed the door not waiting for an answer. Somewhere in the back of his mind
a thought stirred, but he couldn't get a hold on it. Too tired to evaluate he
pushed it away. If it was important it would come back to him, he thought. The
thing he needed now was a long shower and then he would prepare dinner for his
pregant wife.

*

Outside his door Paul Cook fumed. Not only that Buffy was treating him like a
bug, no now her husband was behaving all haughty towards him. Oh, he would show
them. They would learn not to treat him like that. Late gallery evening, he
thought. Well, maybe a short visit was in order.

*****

"Eileen?" Buffy looked around in the gallery and when she couldn't find the
secretary she gazed at her watch. Only 15 minutes to go. She hated these late
evenings. Fortunately it was only once a week and every other week her mother
would be here. The gallery was empty already and she was praying that nobody
would decide for a late evening shopping trip. People should buy art in
daylight anyway, she decided.

"Did you call me?," Eileen came around a corner and smiled. "I thought I heard
your voice."

"Oh, yeah," Buffy smiled back. "I just wanted to check if we're ready to close at
nine. There's nothing I forgot, is there?"

"No," the secretary laughed. "Nothing. I gave you all the correspondence to sign
it. Oh, but by the way. I made a date with Noel Lansing tomorrow. He'll be coming
to L.A. and wants to meet you."

The blonde rolled her eyes, "Oh no," she groaned. "He's the most boring guy in
the universe." Looking at Eileen she gave her a smile, "But it's alright. He
wants to exibit my photos in New York."

The secretary's eyes widened, "Oh, wow! In New York, Buffy you'll be famous in no
time."

"Stop," laughing Buffy held up her hand. "You're exaggerating as usual. He just
wants to make an exibition in his gallery. That doesn't mean anything."

"Oh but it does. Noel Lansing is one of the top gallerists in the country,
Buffy." Eileen couldn't help but look at the tiny blonde in awe.

"He wants me to do it in half a year and...," suddenly she stopped and slapped
her forehead, "Oh no, I can't do it."

"You can't?" Eileen looked puzzled.

"No," Buffy shook her head. "There's some really important family thing," she
said cryptically which made her secretary raise a brow. "Really, really
important," she went on. "I cannot run around shooting pictures. No way."

A slow smile spread over Eileen's face, "You're pregant, right?"

"What?"

"Come on, Buffy. I have two children of my own. I know this special look in a
woman's eyes. Are you pregant?"

Reluctantly the blonde nodded, "Yeah," then she laid a hand on the other woman's
arm, "but please keep it to yourself. After the last time I want to be sure
everything will be alright before I'm going to announce it."

"Sure," Eileen gave her a warm smile. "I understand," she assured her. "I never
lost a baby myself but the mere thought one of them could be...," she shuddered
slightly. "But I'm sure it'll be alright this time. I mean it was an accident,
Buffy. You were not ill or something like that."

"No," the blonde took a deep breath and put a hand on her flat belly. "I was so
afraid to become pregant again, you know. But now, all I can feel is exitement
and Angel is so happy. Each nicht he lays his head on my stomach and talks to the
baby. He's so sweet," she wiped a tear away and reached in her pocket for a
cleenex, "and I'm like a fountain."

"The joys of pregnancy," Eileen joked. "When I was pregant with my second child I
was crying all the time. It drove Greg almost crazy. I would cry without any
reason and he felt so helpless." She glanced at her watch, "Talking about
husbands, it's nine and ours are certainly waiting. Come let's go."

Laughing the two women left the gallery never noticing Paul who watched them from
a distance. He saw them climbing in their cars and drive away. He'd been near and
heard everything they were talking about. So the bitch was pregnant.
Uncontrollable rage rose in him and his foot connected with the door of a car.
She should've been his and now she was pregnant. He needed a drink and quick. And
then he had to think. He would have her, pregnant or not, she was his and nobody
was taking her away from him.
 

 Part 10

When Buffy opened the door to her apartment she was surprised to find it almost
dark, the only light was a candle burning on the low living-room table, soft
classic music reached her ears, the atmosphere had her sighing instantly. It was
coming home. Of course the smell of something coming from the kitchen added the
secenery up nicely. "Angel?", she asked into the dim light of the room.

"In here," came the answer from the kitchen.

"Where else," she muttered grinning and joined him where he was standing at the
oven and stirring something in a pot. She had to blink several times to get her
eyes adjusted to the bright light in the kitchen after gone through the
living-room.

"Hi," he looked at her and smiled, then reached out to pulled her to him for a
sweet kiss.

"Hmmm," she made after their lips parted. "Hi too. What's this?," she asked
craning her neck to glance into the pot.

"Minestrone," he answered. "It's late already, so I thought you needed something
not too heavy."

"Smells wonderfully," she commented and sat herself on the counter, her legs
dangling in the air. "How was your day?"

Instantly the smile was wiped from his face and his eyes clouded over. When he
didn't answer, she reached out and touched his shoulder, "Angel?"

"The police found another blonde woman," he replied, his voice tight.

"Oh God," she put a hand on her lips. "Was ... was it the same killer?"

"Yeah," he took a spoon-full of the soup and tasted. "It's ready, could you take
two spoons and two glasses with you. I'll bring the food."

"Sure," giving him an irritated glance she took the things and left the kitchen.
She'd known the case was hard on him but tonight it seemed worse. She watched him
while he brought the soup and placed a bowl in front of her. They ate in silence
for a while, then he asked,

"And you, are you okay?"

"Yes," she gave him a brilliant smile, "we're both fine. Eileen knows. She
guessed it, said after having two children of her own she knew these things."

He had to grin at that, but it was only for a moment then he became serious
again.

"I'm sorry," she said after a while.

His head shot up, "Sorry?"

"I can see how hard this is on you. The dead women, I mean. I wish I could do
anything," she made a helpless gesture.

"Oh Buffy," he reached out, took her hand and kissed it's palm. "You do by just
being there. Now, let's eat first and then sit down comfortably. I'll explain."

"Alright," she nodded and in silence they finished the soup. Angel cleared the
table afterwards and then joined her on the sofa. For another while they were
just listening to the music, but then she asked softly, "Maybe you could tell me
now?"

He didn't reply first, but then he took her hand in his and entwined their
fingers, "It's ... the women, they all ... they are all the same type."

"Well," she leaned her head against his shoulder, "you said he is a serial
killer, isn't it ... I dunno ... logical. That they're all alike, I mean."

"Yeah," he said, his voice hoarse. She could feel a soft tremble in his hand when
he continued, "But they ... you ... God ...," he cleared his throat and turned so
that he could look into her eyes, "they're all your type."

"What?," she whispered.

"They're all about your size, have your colouring, your weight, two of them even
had hazel eyes, only the last's eyes were green."

She stared at him for a long moment and then she began to understand, "You think
I might be in danger too?"

He shrugged, but his eyes were never leaving hers, "It might be. Nobody knows how
he picks them. The psychologist made a profile, but it doesn't help much."
Suddenly he pulled her to him, holding her close, "If anything should happen to
you," he mumbled into her hair. "I couldn't stand it."

"Angel," she gently stroked his head and back, "I'm here and I'm safe."

Another shiver run through his body before he slowly pulled back, "Promise me to
be careful. As long as we don't have him, you have to promise me."

"Don't be paranoid, Angel," she said with a shake of her head, but he grabbed her
wrists almost painfully, pinning her stare with his.

"Listen to me, Buffy. This guy is dangerous, he kills without remorse. Please,
promise me, to watch out."

"I will," she assured him quickly and rubbed her wrists he released now. "You're
really afraid, aren't you? And you have no idea at all what sort of person he
could be?"

"No," he shook his head and leaned back again, but held her close. "Kate says
they interrogated several men, but they haven't got a clue. All of them had an
alibi," he sighed, "it drives you crazy. And then Mr. and Mrs. Benton. I talked
to them today. They're so desperate, they try to go on with their life, but their
daughter was everything for them, Mr. Benton told me that his wife had a minor
heart attack. I don't even want to think what would happen if ...," he stopped
and closed his eyes.

Buffy moved closer until she was sitting on his lap, her upper body leaned
against his chest, her arms around his neck, while his arms encircled her waist.
"How can they bear it, I wonder? If it was my daughter...," she squeezed her eyes
shut. Loosing a baby she'd never seen had been like a nightmare, but how much
worse must it be to loose a daughter one had known for so many years. They had
certainly dreamt to see her happily married, maybe giving them a grand-child one
day and now everything was destroyed. She was dead and nothing could bring her
back.

What would happen when the police found the killer? It wouldn't bring their
daughter back. Would it bring some sort of peace to know justice would be done?
And how long would the emptiness Denise had left go on? Probably forever.

"I think I would go crazy, if you weren't here with me," he suddenly whispered
into the darkness.

"I'll be always with you. Remember what we said the night of our wedding. That
there would be bad and good times, but that we'll face it together," she covered
his lips with hers for a long, sweet kiss. "I love you," she sighed afterwards.
"And I'm glad we are able to share this."

"I'd rather not."

"I know," she replied softly. "And I agree. But I'm glad we are that close,
Angel. That our relationship is like that, that we trust each other, we rely on
each other. Of course I would prefer these things wouldn't happen, but obviously
they do."

"I love you too," he said then and held her even closer, while one of his large
hands came to lie on her belly. "You both," he amended and she could feel him
smile against her cheek. "I wonder what it thinks right now."

"That it's parents love each other very much." When she heard him chuckle, she
went on, "I read it in a book. Babies can feel their parents' emotions. They feel
love, anger, frustration."

Slowly Angel's hand began to stroke her belly, "Well then," he kissed her on her
cheek, "this baby is certainly swimming in love at the moment."

"Yeah," she sighed happily.

"Are you very tired?," Angel asked while he began to nuzzle at her earlobe.

She giggled, "No, not really."

"Good," he replied, rose with her in his arms and carried her into their bedroom.


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