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15 June 2006 @ 07:10 pm
Walking In My Shoes (Preface-Ch.1)  

Title: Walking In My Shoes (Preface through Ch. 1)
Author: Kelly and Mike (collaborative writing team)
Rating: Chapters range from PG-15 to NC-17
Chapter: Preface: PG-15, One: PG-15, Two: PG, Three: PG
Email: jjsoapchat AT yahoo DOT com
Content: Everything you can think of
Summary: Written for a challenge proposed on the Stranger Things message board. Challenge By rousedower. An AU/TT Challenge: Angel goes to another dimension, hence AU, somehow. And in this dimension he is married to Cordy and they have kids. But something happened to the other Angel (he's missing or dead), so there's mad tension and what not between this Angel and AU!Cordy. She knows he's not her Angel, but the kids (a boy and girl) are pretty young and think he's their father. I imagine a scene where their little daughter asks him to read her a bedtime story/tuck her in with Cordy trying to explain to her that he's not her father (really), and he does it.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution:
Notes: Cast List: Kelly writes for Cordelia, Gunn, Lorne, Lillian, Kat, Ian, Illyria/Fred, Lilah, Eve, Faith, Gwen, Harmony, random shop owners/demons. Mike writes for Angel(us), Connor, Wes, random filler chars.
Feedback: Yes, please. Tell us how we are doing!
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Preface:

The battle was raging around Angel. The smell of acrid smoke, of blood coupled with the screams of battle and death. Angel himself had dealt several killing blows the past several hours and yet the demons and vampires still came. He made it to Gunn's side and turned to get the man's back. "We need to find a retreat," he said. "A safe zone so we can regroup and rest." As he waited for a response from Gunn he swung his sword and took off the head of some lesser demon. The foul odor emanated from it as he did. "For once why can one of them smell like roses or, you know, home baked bread?"

Gunn was having trouble keeping up with the vampire. His hand was clenched around his side to prevent his bleeding while he fought with his axe in his other hand. His blows were wobbly and off mark but he did manage to kill a few of the seemingly infinite army. He wasn't going to live through this fight. He could feel that. His head was light and his fingers tingling. His vision had already started to blur with black closing in around him. He was going to go out fighting. He looked over at Angel, nodding his head. That distraction though, cost him, as a demon sliced clean through his arm. It separated arm from shoulder, his fighting arm falling to the ground with axe still in hand. Gunn sunk to his knees, too weak now to stand. The blood was pouring out of his shoulder wound. With his hand holding his side, he hadn’t the strength to move it to hold his bleeding shoulder.

 "GUNN," Angel yelled. Angel allowed his demon to come forth. He ran the killer demon through as he let out a feral roar of rage. When his sword was through the creature he pulled up, cutting the demon open from midsection up to its shoulder. It fell, crumpled. He turned to Gunn and bent down, picking his friend up so he could get him out of the battle.

Gunn was dying. He had predicted it from the moment he came into that alley. He had lost too much blood from the wound in his side and now his arm was gone. He looked at Angel, stopping him from picking him. It would only lose time. More than likely cost Angel his life. "Don't, man. Just...kick their asses." He fought hard. He fought long. He was dying a warrior's death and that gave him an odd sense of peace. He had a small smile of satisfaction as he thought that he would finally get to see all those that had died before him including Cordelia, Wesley, Fred. Even Anne might be there. He doubted she could have lived through this Apocalypse.

 "Gunn," Angel said still with that growl in his voice, "Don't die on me, man...don't...."

"I'll tell the girls...you said...hello..." With that, his eyes slipped closed. His body went limp as the life went out of him. His body fell back against the wreckage that was once a street in Los Angeles. The only burial he would get would be under ash and stone from the buildings crumbling around them. Or under another pile of bodies.

Gunn was correct in that Angel taking this time to comfort his friend was going to cost him. Seeing an opportunity, a demon with long, sharp talons sliced along Angel's back. The cuts were deep, slicing through that trademark duster, shirt, and skin.  The vampire felt that wound and Gunn dying in his arms just added to his ever increasing rage. He came up with another roar, despite the pain, the sword coming in a high arc with him. It came down on the demon's shoulder and went through it, slicing the creature in two very neatly. Letting his demon now seize the fight, he went for another demon. He'd lost too much the last couple years and he was pissed as hell about it.

Across the battlefield, Illyria stalked towards Angel. She needed to find the vampire amidst all this carnage. Spike had fallen and she felt the need to end this pathetic battle. She cleared her path as she went, her fist covered in demon blood and gore as it ripped holes through any that came in her path. She stopped in front of Gunn's body, her head tilting to the side as she examined the situation. "Another has fallen." She said dryly, lack of emotion to her voice. She looked up in time for her eyes to see Angel cutting down a group of demons.

Angel was too far out of it to notice the God King's approach. All he wanted now was blood of as many demons spilled as possible. He swung his sword at them in a blind fury. He grabbed one by the head and twisted hard hearing the satisfying sound of its neck breaking.

The frenetic pace at which Angel was fighting would be his demise. At least, this was Illyria’s thinking. It had been that way for Spike. She raised her hand. Despite the diminishing of her powers, she still had a slight ability to alter time. Something she had hidden from even Wesley. Her thinking was to slow the demons and keep Angel at the same wild pace. Another demon came at her from the side. Distracted, her offhand shot out to grab it around the neck and pop his head off with her extreme pressure on his neck. When she turned back from killing the oncoming demon, all she saw was the group now standing dumbfounded but still moving slowly. Angel, was nowhere to be found. "Vampire..." She called out. In her distraction, something had gone wrong. Angel was now lost. It could take centuries to find the dimension she sent him too. And her primary concern now was the approaching group of blood thirsty vampires. She was the last one standing.

Chapter One:

Angel turned for another demon but as he did all he saw was the courtyard of The Hyperion. It was filled with night blooming jasmine. The fountain was working and koi were swimming in the large part of it. It didn’t look as if it had been in an Apocalypse. His yellow eyes looked for the next attack. Trick...had to be. A psychic demon was putting images in his mind. Angel stretched out his senses. He smelled the air and listened. Despite the wound in his back, he slowly made his way towards the door that would lead into the lobby. He didn't open it though, he just looked in through the glass.

Laying on the floor of the lobby was a little boy. He was probably no more than three or four years old. Spread out before him was an entire large box of crayons, put in an order only understood by the little boy. His feet were up as he drew on his sketch pad, careful not to let the crayon go off the page. Then he has to clean it up. And he hates cleaning. He turned his head, calling out. "Ma! I wanna purple one!" as if Angel had interrupted some conversation.

Angel moved into the shadow of the tree to the side of the door, not yet entering. There were no children in the hotel, except when Connor was little. This boy was too old to be Connor. Angel hadn’t traveled back in time. His money was still on a psychic demon invading his mind.

The small boy paused as something caught the corner of his eye. He had really good senses, heightened like his brother’s. His Da had been teaching him to use them better. He got up to slowly make his way to the door, ever the more curious between himself and his sister and older brother. He could kill a big scary demon. His big brother even told him so. He slowly pushed the door open. The hotel was protected so even if it was a demon out there, it couldn't hurt him.

Angel quickly changed his features back to human. The boy would see him if he looked at the tree. Probably not the best hiding place but he moved to it quickly.

The boy’s head turned to look at the whole area of the courtyard. Something was out here. He could feel it. When his eyes got to that tree, his face lit up. He pushed the heavy door open all the way, crying out. "Da! Da!" He ran as quickly as he could with his small legs, stumbling a few times. He threw his arms around Angel's leg in a hug.

 "Da?" Angel questioned then looked down as his leg was glommed onto. He had to brace himself by the tree, the wound on his back starting to take its due on him.

 The little boy looked up at Angel with hazel eyes. Just a twinkle of mischief in them. He was the type that was always putting ants in the bed. He went back to hugging that leg once more before curiosity got the better of him. He looked up at Angel once more. "Why you outside?" He let go of Angel's leg only long enough to grab his hand.

Angel frowned. Was he dead? Was this some holding facility of the Senior Partners? "I...I just got here," he finally said to the boy.

 "Ma's been sad." The boy tugged at his hand, trying to get him to come inside. "I made a drawing for you. Come see." He was eager to show his father what he had done. Artistic talent at least ran in the kids. Didn't get it from their mother, that is for sure.

 "Ma?" Angel said. The vampire moved with the boy but his body protested. He hurt all over. His back felt like it was on fire. Probably some kind of poison in those talons that demon had. That could be causing this hallucinations.

 "She is getting posicles with Kat." He near had to pull his father to the doors and then struggled to get the door open on his own. He finally managed it so that he and his father could go inside. Once Angel was inside the doors, he let go of his hand to run down to pick up the paper. He rushed back to his dad, holding it up for him to see. "Its you and Unca Gunn and Unca Wes fighting a bad guy. See.." He pointed to the picture. "This is me and Connor. We are helping." He held the picture higher for Angel to take.

Another voice called out now, coming from the kitchen of the hotel, carrying all the way to the lobby. Cordelia had that mother's gift to reach her children no matter where they were in the hotel. "Ian! Are you talking to Taco again?" She had heard her child's voice but wasn't sure he was talking to. He had an imaginary friend, like most kids his age. She had no idea where the child had come up with the name ‘Taco’ from. Her guess was on Fred with her love for them. He did admire all his “aunts” and “uncles”.

Cordelia decided to check on him though, picking Kat up to put her on her hip. She was getting a little too old for her mom to carry anymore but that didn’t stop Cordelia from trying. Kat was quietly eating an orange popsicle, being very neat about it. Cordelia had two in her hand. A purple one for Ian and a cherry one for herself.

Angel reached down for the picture. He looked at it, studying it then he heard that familiar voice. His head came up to see who it belong to. "Cordelia?" he said.

Chapter Two:

Cordelia saw Angel standing there and was shocked to say the least. He had been gone for nearly a week. No phone call or anything. She was fearing the worst. She put Kat down, pawning the popsicles on her (which the young girl was all too happy to take). She rushed to Angel, throwing her arms around him. She wasted no time in crushing her lips against his in a searing, passionate kiss.

The pain hit him but the kiss...the kiss..He dropped his sword and brought his arms up around her. He lost himself in that kiss for a few moments then he started sinking down to the Hyperion floor.

 The kiss broken as he started to fall, Cordelia didn't panic. She took him as best she could within her arms and lowered him with her to the ground. She looked at the twins. "Ian...get the first aid kit please. Kat, make your dad a special drink." She spoke with an authority that they had done this before. Once Angel was on the ground with her. She looked at him. "Where are you hurt?"

 Ian turned his face away, nose wrinkled up in disgust as he saw his parents kissing. He even made an "ewww" noise. It was short lived though as mom barked out orders. He knew where the kit was. Right behind the front desk counter. He moved as quick as his little legs would carry him to get it. For her part, Kat, who had remained silent and staring at her father, trailed slower behind her brother. She didn't have the same sense of urgency he did as she got a container of blood out of the fridge.

 "My back," Angel said. "Demon...claw." Though it probably wouldn't kill him it was making for some very painful moments, not to mention having ruined his best duster and a $200 shirt.

Cordelia just nodded her head. She got to work quickly. She pushed the duster off his shoulders and then started to unbutton his shirt. She tried for a smile. "At least you were wearing your old coat. Not the new one Gunn got you." She moved behind him now, sliding against the floor of the lobby. She gently peeled the shirt away from his bleeding wounds. "Got you really good. Any idea what kind of demon it was?"

"Gunn?" he said. Gunn had never gotten him a duster and Gunn was dead. Angel had held his friend as he died. "Oww," he said as she worked, "Big claws, one big claw on each hand or paw or..whatever. Beak like face.”

Ian came rushing back with the first aid clutched to his chest. He held it out for his mother to take. He looked at the wounds in his dad's back with wide eyes. "Cool" He said almost breathlessly. He looked back to Angel, a ball of energy. "Didja get him good, Da? Kill him good?"

 "Ah, yeah," Angel said to the boy. Son...this was..."Cut him in two."

Kat watched as her brother bounced around like a rubber ball. She was cautious in her approach of Angel as she handed him the container of pig's blood. They weren't allowed to use the microwave. She watched Angel with large brown eyes, so deep and soulful, one could get lost in them. She turned to look at her mother. "He's not right."

"Mmmm...will have Wes check it out when he gets back with Fred." She finally got his shirt free of his skin. She took the first aid kit from Ian with a smile. "Thank you, Ian. How about you go get that jar of salve from Uncle Wes' desk?" She wanted to give Angel a moment to recover here. She leaned forward to whisper to him. "You do realize he will want to hear the whole story tonight before bed, along with re-enactments?" She kissed his shoulder softly before her eyes went to Kat. She was already getting out the bottle of iodine to clean his wounds. "We know, baby. Your dad got cut to ribbons."

Angel took the blood offered then after sniffing it, he drank. He looked at Kat and could tell she was a little afraid of him, he could smell it. "Its okay, lil' one."

Kat, however, had the same defiant look of her mother in her eyes. She didn't move any closer to Angel. "My name is Katharine. I am not little. I know that two and two is four." Even her tone was every bit as confident as her mother's was in her Queen C days.

Ian took off again like a shot to get the jar his mother was referring to. He knew the one. He had brought it to her before. He liked to feel helpful. He came rushing back out, holding it out for her to take. Once she took it, he was right back in Angel's lap, looking up at him. "Did you cut those two in two? That would make..." The child paused for a moment as he thought this through. Both of the kids, incredibly smart and not quite human. He held up three fingers. "This many?" He waited to see if he had the right answer.

Looking at the boy, he nodded. "Quite a few." He paused then said to Cordelia, "It feels like I'm on fire back there. Not a good feeling for a vampire."

"I have to clean the wounds out, Ace. Unless you want them to heal up with all this dirt and debris in them. Where on earth were you?" She set the iodine down to reach for the jar of salve. She opened it and then dipped two fingers in. She gingerly applied it to his wounds. It should help to cool his skin, take away the sting, and help his healing along. "Kat..." She warned. "Neither your dad or I is in the mood right now."

"I was at the ending of the world," the vampire replied. "I thought." He flinched at her touch now and then.

 "You are so melodramatic, Angel. You were not at the end of the world. Jeeze..." Cordelia shook her head at him. She continued to gently apply the salve to his back. "Did you lose your wedding ring...again? I am taking up Faith's suggestion and just leaving a box of them by the dresser."

Ian pushed the blood back up towards his dad since he barely took a drink from it. In his lap, he could do that. "You hafta drink. Then you will get strong again. I wanna hear the story! But...but you hafta wait for Connor to come home so he can hear it too."

So much is going on in his mind now. Cordelia, these kids...they were a family. Was he dreaming? Did he die and this was his reward?  "Okay, lad." Angel said as he smiled at the boy. He drank deeply from the jar.

 Kat hung out quietly near the front desk after her mother admonished her. She just watched this man. He looked like her father but something...she didn't know why but he was wrong. Something was wrong about him. Her innate love of her father though, caused her to slowly inch forward. "I don't want to hear that story." She spoke up finally.

 "Katty," he said the old nickname he called his little sister, "If you don't want to hear it you don't have too. I promise."

 Kat kept a good foot distance between herself and Angel. Unlike her brother, who had no fear or brains, just climbing into the man's lap, she was far more cautious. "I want to hear the story where you rescue the princess." Her tone was very matter of fact that she was going to get what she wants. Anything standing in her way would be demolished by her will alone.

 Ian was busy amusing himself by going through the first aid kit. He peeled a band-aid off and put it over a scrape on Angel's chest so he felt like he was helping. His nose wrinkled up. "Not the princess story AGAIN."

 "Is that the one where we all went to Pylea," he asked, keeping his tone soft. He looked down where Ian had put the bandage. "Thanks. I bet in 10 minutes you can take the bandage off and that mark is gone, huh?"

Cordelia leaned forward to speak to him. "You want me to half heal you? These wounds are pretty deep." She looked over at the kids then with a smile. "Guys, I think your dad is probably too tired for storytime but how about I tell Kat the princess story and I will tell Ian the story about Aunt Fred and the Duslar and the big bugs?"

Angel wrinkled his nose at the kids. "Eww, bugs," he said, "and there were guts too."

Ian's eyes got wide at the mention of that story. He looked like a kid on Christmas. He tried to get up, almost falling over a few times. "I like the part where Grandpa and Grandma Burkle runned over the bug. Tell that part again!" Not even realizing that he did just tell that part again. But his parents did it so much better.

Kat sat down with her legs crossed over each other about six inches away from Angel now. She started to put everything her brother spilled back into the first aid kit. "I like the Princess story better. Cause she got saved. And everybody lived happily ever after. And cause you had a funny face in that one." She looked up at Angel. She was, in fact, talking about the rescue mission to Pylea.

Cordelia waited on an answer from Angel. Not getting any, well she went ahead and did whatever she wanted anyway. She shook her head. He loved his children so much so she was so used to his ignoring of her sometimes when the kids were around. They had their alone time, which he never ignored. She rubbed her hands together and held them just over his back. Her hands started to glow a soft white, warming Angel's skin like real sun without harmful after effects. She concentrated on using her own energy and life force to merge with his, healing his back over.

That warm sensation caused Angel to sit up a bit straighter. This couldn't be something the Senior Partners cooked up, he so was convinced now. He closed his eyes at the sensation and a slight stupid smile played on his lips.

 Cordelia only had enough in her to heal the wounds over so they would no longer be open. He could heal the rest of the way with his own strength. It took about five minutes before she finally pulled her hands away from him. She bowed her head, resting back on her hands to recover.

 Ian reached up from where he was standing. He put his small hands on his father's face. He started to play with that smile, moving one cheek up and then the other. He laughed madly as he did so. Even louder when he mushed Angel's cheeks together.

Angel pulled his face away from the young boy’s hands then turned to look at Cordelia. He frowned in concern. "Cordy?" he spoke quietly.

Cordelia looked up at him, raising her head just slightly. "Yes?" She didn't look any worse for wear. She just felt as if she had run around the block. All she needed was five to ten minutes, she would be good as new. "You feel better or you need more blood?"

“No. I'm good. Maybe I need to go clean up now." Angel moved Ian away from him and worked on standing. It wasn’t as bad as it was but still he was sore and tender.

Cordelia watched him get up before she looked back down at the kids. "Well, daddy ruined popsicle time. So how about we go to the kitchen and pick out some new ones? I will even let you guys have the chocolate ones. And then, we can watch a movie upstairs with dad." She didn't yet move from where she was sitting on the floor. She figured the kids would go running off to the kitchen at the promise of chocolate, leaving her and Angel alone for a few moments.

 Ian seemed far more excited by this prospect than Kat did. As soon as his father set him down and away, he let out a whoop. "CHOCOLATE! I wanna watch Spongebob too! Spongebob movie." He took off for the kitchen, still letting out little victory cries. Kat watched the brief interaction between her mother and father before she got up quietly. She followed after her much more boisterous brother.

 "Now that is not right," he said. "Chocolate!" He called as the kids took off then he looked down at Cordelia. He put his hand out to her to help her up.

Cordelia slipped her hand into his and took his help in getting up. "Since the kids are gone, you think I could have a real hello kiss now?" She raised a brow as she waited for him to make his move.

"Cordelia," he started to say but then he looked at her and those lips. He leaned down to her and kissed her. He wasn't sure how she would accept it at first then he gave in to his own passion.

 This man was her husband, the father of her children, her best friend. And he had been missing for days. She was so worried that he was dead. Or worse. There were worse things than death. She wrapped her arms around his neck as his kiss went from hesitant to passionate. The children away and their parents could play. She gently pushed her tongue past his lips, not minding that he had just drunk blood. She was not phased.

 He accepted her tongue, how own caressing her's. He didn't care right now if this was some punishment from the SPs or reward from TPTB or another vision hitting him at this moment. All he cared about was now, this moment, this kiss. If only his heart could beat it would be pounding out of his chest right now. Though his heart remained as dead as he was something else was pressing and he was feeling the discomfort and the need. Angel finally broke that kiss and backed up a little. He can't have these feelings. Not him. Its not allowed. He could loose it. Is that what the SPs' want? They have been trying for years to bring Angelus back.

 She kept her eyes closed for a few seconds after he pulled away from the kiss. She opened them slowly to look at him. She gave him the smallest bit of a smile. "All these years and you can still take my breath away." She paused though as she noticed the discomfort on his face. She closed the distance between them. "Angel? Are you okay?" She reached for him in case he was about to take a knee to the ground once more.

He frowned slightly. "I'm...maybe it was the battle," he said his voice a bit hoarse. "Years, huh?"

She kissed his cheek very lightly and tenderly. "Why don't you go up and take a shower. Get to bed early. You need to rest to heal. I'll grab the kids and swing by to see Connor so you have the whole hotel to yourself. Nice and quiet. Need to get you another wedding ring anyway." She said with a smile as she gently poked him in the chest. She stopped short, raising a brow as he said the second. "Did you get whammied again? If your memory is starting to go again, we have to get Lorne to come back from his tour."

He looked down at his left ring finger, he then flexed his hand. "Rest might be good. I'm immortal, not indestructible."

She reached for his chin after he looked down, tilting his face so that he could see her now. "No matter what, just remember that I love you. As long as you remember that, we'll be okay. Nothing can be as bad as when you thought you were Liam and went around humping every girl in the office." She gave him a bit of a smile, waiting for him to return it with one of this own.

 "I did that?" he said with a raised brow.

She laughed. "Yeah. You chased Gwen around a desk. Cornered Faith upstairs. And stepped right into the shower with Fred. I am not sure Wes forgave you for that." She touched his face softly again, fingertips barely brushing his skin. "Get some rest, baby. Looks of you, you went through Hell these past few days."

Nodding, Angel turned and went up the stairs. Shower was a good thing. Then sleep, not likely. Being alone in the hotel he could do a little snooping and see if anything could tell him about what's happened.

 "Oh...baby..." She called out to him as he was halfway up the stairs. "In case you forgot, our room is past the living room and the kitchen. Its tucked in the corner after the kid's room." They had, when she found out she was expecting, expanded their room. Then, when they found out it was twins, expanded even more. When the kids each wanted their own room...well the entire third floor was now their family's.

 He paused and looked back at her. He smiled and nodded. "I think I can find it." Then continued on up.

Chapter Three:

Chapter Three:

The whole of the third floor now belong to the family. When Angel stepped inside, on first glance, it looked like any other home in LA. Save for the large, dark curtains covering the windows that faced out on either side of the hotel. In addition to the three bedrooms were two guest rooms in case the happy couple decided to have any more children. There was a dressing room for Cordelia, with a spacious walk in closet, vanity table, and a large picture window to look out over the city and let the sun shine in during the day. Angel had a room for himself as well. A place to escape to either read, as evident by the library, or to draw. Given the sketches littered around, he had been doing quite a bit of that lately. The other rooms were mostly unremarkable. Living room with a television, a large couch for all four to sit on and two recliners. The kitchen had been overhauled as well with all the most modern appliances. How they had managed to afford all of this with Angel's iron clad shut wallet was a miracle in and of itself.

Angel paused looking around the place. Then he moved through it and finding the master room, he started opening drawers. Finding his drawers, he got out clothes. Boxer shorts and a clean wife beater. Finding the bathroom, he stepped in and started the shower. Snooping would come after shower. The allure of a hot shower and soap was too much. Turning it on full, he let it run to heat the water as he started to undress.

Coming out of the shower nearly a half hour later, dressed in a bathrobe, he started checking out the apartment. He came to a door and opened it to reveal an immense closet when he flipped on the light. It was the size of a bedroom. Hell, it probably was one of the floor's rooms. He stepped in and knew these had to be all Cordelia's. She loved her clothes and shoes. He saw a wall of drawers and stepped over to them. Opening them he found, well, in one bras. One panties. One hose and socks. Seems each drawer held only one under garment item. He opened another drawer finding it to hold keep sakes things. He found a photo album and pulled it out. He found a seat in the closet, no doubt where Cordelia put on her shoes. He sat down and opened the album. He started looking at the pictures within it. Wedding photos...He swallowed hard looking at them. Cordelia, in a beautiful gown, looked like a princess from a fairy tale. Him in tux. Photo portrait of them looking at each other while on the dance floor. Her standing with her leg up on a chair, skirt pulled up and him taking off the garter.

Then a few pages past that, pictures of Cordelia starting to show with pregnancy. First, ultrasound pictures pasted among candid photos. Cordy again, huge with babies. Though, he would never tell her that. Then, in the hospital. Cordy, him, on the bed both holding a baby. This was the life he wanted, the dream he'd always had. He got up and putting the album away, he opened another drawer. This one seemed to have personal papers in it. Bank statements of “his” accounts, business accounts, a joint account with Cordelia. Other papers laid underneath. A graduation announcement for Connor from Stanford. Then he opened a business envelope. A school opened by Connor. Financial backing from himself and Cordelia and tax returns.

He had been caught by the little girl though. She had watched the entire thing. So much for going to visit Connor apparently. She was just as sneaky as her father and older brother were. Silent as the grave as she appeared in the doorway, watching him. He was far too engrossed in the pictures to hear her heartbeat perhaps. "Whatcha doin'?" Her voice soft and almost curious sounding. There was an underlying tone though, as if she had just caught him with his hand in the cookie jar.

Looking up at the sound of her voice, he put the papers up, not in haste though, just casually. "I was just looking at some old things." Angel said to the child.

She moved closer towards him, stepping into the closet. "Those are personal stuff. We aren't a'ppose to look at them without mom." She still didn't trust this man. He looked like her father but there was something off about him. She couldn't describe it, being so young, she just knew.

 "Yes, Katty, I know," he said, "but that is for you and your brother because a lot of this stuff is important. Important to your mother and.." he paused then finished, "...me."

Her head tilted just a little bit so that she could look at him more closely. She was near examining him now. "Connor is home. He is taking his doggie out for a walk." She relayed the message her mother wanted her to give. She was on her way up anyway to go to her room.

The vampire nods to the child. "Okay," Angel said to her. "I'll finish getting dressed and go down." Yes, he did feel like a microbe under a lab scope at the moment. "Katty, is something wrong?"

 There was something in her eyes that showed she was wiser than her years. Some sort of consciousness that other humans were lacking. "You're wrong." That is all she says. That is the only way she can think to describe it. Her vocabulary was too limited to describe the unsettling feeling she had.

 What could he say to that? He knew he was wrong. This was a dream life for him, a dream he wasn't meant to have. He knelt to get eye level to the child then reached for her hand.

 She let him take her hand. She looked down at her small hand in his large one and then looked back up to him. The examination of him had stopped with that touch. She was reading something about him now. Something about that touch. He wasn't bad. Not bad at all. Maybe just tired or sick. That is what was making him wrong. She still knew he was wrong but he was good. She relaxed. "Not bad."

"No," he said to her. "Not bad." He pulled her to him now that she seemed relaxed to hug her. He couldn't help it.

She threw her arms around his neck now that she felt he wasn't going to hurt them, despite being off. She whispered softly to him. "I missed you, Da." Her little face buried into his neck and she started to cry. At first glance, when he felt wrong, she thought it was a trick. Da had taught her that things aren't always as they seem. There are lots of tricks out there. He could have been a trick. But when she touched his hand, she felt no ill intentions.

 He stood up holding her as he did. Walking out of the closet, he carried her. He kicked the door shut with his foot. "I...I missed you too. Your brothers and mommy."

 "You went away after I said those mean things. I'm sorry. I didn't mean them. Honest. I won't fight with Ian no more." She had blamed herself for her father leaving. He said he was going out to take care of some demons but she knew the truth. He had left because she fought with her brother. And he didn't come home. As much as she didn't like her brother or him putting bugs in her hair, she'd be good now.

 "Hush that talk now." he told her as he sat on the couch with her. He pulled her back so he could look at her face. She so looked like her mother must have at this age. " You did nothing that made me want to stay away. Its just that sometimes things happen that we can't control and it seems its all in the hands of The Powers."

 She looked at him for a moment, her cheeks stained with tears, her nose running. She sniffled, trying to pull the snot back into her nose. She buried her face against his chest again. "Promise you won't leave again. Please."

Angel just held her for a moment trying to think of what to say to that. "I can promise you that no matter what happens to me you, your brothers and your mother...you are all in my heart and part of my soul. And you know how import a soul is, right?"

 She nodded her head against his chest. She turned her cheek to rest against his chest now. She was still sniffling though, barely crying. She was starting to calm down and get sleepy from her outburst. "Daddy...will you tell me a story now?" She was asking nicely, not demanding it like she was downstairs. And not demanding him to tell her a certain story. He could pick.

 "Hmmm, let's see now," he said trying to think of something. He wasn't very good at this. Did having kids change that in him here? "Once upon a time on a far off island, that was so green and beautiful it could make a man cry, lived a fair maiden. This maiden's name was Katharine..."

-TBC-

 
 
 
Sarahboy_named_susie on December 8th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
This is really good so far! Can't wait until I have more time to read the rest.