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22 June 2006 @ 10:35 pm
Walking In My Shoes (9/?)  

Title: Walking In My Shoes (9/?)
Author: Kelly and Mike (collaborative writing team) 
Rating: Chapters range from PG-15 to NC-17
Chapter: Chapter Nine rated R
Email: jjsoapchat AT yahoo DOT com
Content: Angel/Gunn/Faith friendship, violence, Angel/Lillian friendship, Connor/Lillian
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: While it might appear at first reading that we haven’t met the challenge, I promise that in later chapters, it will all become quite clear.
Cast List: Kelly writes for Cordelia, Gunn, Lorne, Lillian, Kat, Ian, Illyria/Fred, Lilah, Eve, Faith, Gwen. Mike writes for Angel(us), Connor, Wes, random filler chars.
Feedback: Yes, please. Tell us how we are doing!

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Angel was behind the wheel of the GTX, or what everyone else jokingly referred to as The Angelmobile. Tonight had been good. Everything good happened and no grrr. He had been nervous and it was hard to relax because he just had no idea if he was going to lose his humanity or not. But it seems that Cordelia was right. He could be happy now. He could love and feel loved. After this nest was taken care of, he was going back home to show his wife just how much he did love her.

The rest of the team was already assembled just outside the nest in Altadena. Faith flanked the left side with a group of slayers-in-training while Gunn had taken the left side with his own group. The nest wasn't a house. It was an industrial warehouse with a large underground floor to hide the vampires during the day. It didn't matter if they went night or day because either way, the vampires would have a place to hide. Gunn was about to gesture with his chin when he heard the noise. They had been smart enough to park a half mile away and hoof it in. He looked over at Faith, who was clearly agitated.

Cutting the engine and lights, Angel let the Plymouth roll on in. Another nice thing about the older cars. Try doing that with one of the new models. Finally, he stopped it then got out. Cordelia had given him perfect directions.

Faith hadn't seen Angel since he disappeared last week on the hunt for the demons that were attacking the Slayer Academy. She gave Angel a grin. Never hurt to have another body in the fight. Especially when that body was a well trained vampire. She motioned for Angel to come over to her, much to Gunn's chagrin. She just blew the big, beautiful, bald, black man a kiss before she grinned.

The vampire moved to her, carrying that infamous broad sword of his. Never leave home without it. He glanced at the building then to Faith. "They're in there," he spoke quietly. "I'm sensing them."

Faith nodded her head. "Yeah, close to fifty. You ready to jump back into battle or you think you need to go home and have a bubble bath?" She flashed Angel a smile that could be seen even in the dim lighting outside the warehouse.

Gunn had shifted position as he saw Angel move to Faith's flank. He was getting itchy for this and so were the girls. Angel could small talk later. He moved his hand over his head as he and the girls started moving towards the warehouse.

Angel caught Gunn's movement. "We better get busy before he gets hurt." With that, Angel moved a bit further down where he saw a fire escape but was drawn up. He leaped up and got the bottom rung. He climbed and as he did the lower half of the ladder lowered down.

Faith motioned for her group of girls to follow her. They already had worked out a plan at the school. Gunn's group would take on the front, full tilt. Her group would sneak in from the side entrance and come up behind the vampires. She was in charge of the sneak attack. She got to the side door and waited for one of the girls. Willow's big bang spell had activated all kinds of Slayers. From Homecoming Queens to street rats. And "Lucky" was one of those street rats.

The large Samoan Slayer, "Lucky", moved out from the group. She crouched down in front of the door. She worked quickly as she picked the lock on the side door. She heard Gunn kick the front door open and give some line about "daddy being home or something". It took all her willpower not to roll her eyes. She had to pick this lock so they could get inside. A turn here, a turn there of her tools and the mechanism clicked. She got up and reached to pull the door open quietly.

Inside, the vampires watched their leader up on the crate as he spoke. "Our town, my friends. It is our town and our right to claim what is ours!'" The vampires all nodded and mumbled to each other in agreement. "Yeah," one yelled. "We're tired of this shit and not gonna take it any more!"

That would be why the sound of the door coming down and Gunn coming charging in didn't register. Gunn cursed to himself as his great line was completely destroyed by the Vampire Hitler up there on the stake of crates. He watched the girls fan out. He moved fast, coming up on the side of one of the vampires. He chopped his head clean off, sending dust flying through the air. Distraction, it seemed, was going to pay off after all. Gunn went for another, elbowing her in the gut, then bringing his elbow up under her chin before he staked her. The Slayers in his team seemed to be doing well on their own, each fighting at least one, if not more, vampires.

"So much for the plan." Faith muttered to herself. She watched as the vampires scattered out in all directions. She got inside and went for the first one she could find. This on sight training was great for the girls. And this was a huge gathering. She just had her trusty stake. That was all she needed even though she knew Gunn was partial to his axe. She grinned at one of the vampires as he tried to get away. She grabbed him by the collar. "What? Leaving so soon?"

The vampire turned and brought a fist up to connect with Faith's face. He was happy as he watched the Slayer's head snap back. Faith righted her head and looked at him with a feral grin. "Don't you know the rules? No physical violence until the THIRD date!" She staked the vampire quickly, spinning around to catch another unawares.

The leader looked at the intruders, his yellow eyes wide. He leaped up for the rafters. He had no loyalties here. Actually, none of the vampires had. They just were tired of being staked every night and the number of slayers now was totally unfair.

Angel came to stand before the fleeing leader. "So, your team is losing and you are leaving the game early to beat traffic?"

The vamp knew who this was but it couldn't be. He had heard..."You're dead!"

"You know, seems like a guy like you would know that already," Angel replied and then brought the hilt of the sword up to catch the other vampire under his chin, which sent him down to the floor level again.

Gunn briefly glanced up to see the fight going on between Angel and Vampire Hitler. He barely had time to register it before he felt a blow to the back of the head. One of the smarter (and that term was used loosely) vampires had grabbed a board to smash Gunn upside the head. He stumbled and then turned around. Forgoing the line, he just laid into the vampire with his axe until he was just dust in the wind.

Angel followed the vampire down, his duster bellowed out almost like wings as he dropped. The vampire came up with a sharp piece of wood and tried for Angel's heart. The Champion blocked it with his sword and in the process took off the other's lower arm. Vampire Hitler screamed and as he did, the scream was cut off when his head went flying, thanks to that large broad sword.

Faith was keeping an eye on the girls. Some of them were taking in some serious blows but no one was dead yet. That was a plus from the last time they went out. They had lost Celia. She was a good kid and it was hell having to tell her parents. She staked two more vampires in rapid succession. There were way more than fifty vampires gathered here, that was for sure. She was going to have to go down and rough Nickels up. He gave them all wrong information.

Angel had engaged another vampire and he brought up a round house kick to him as a female rushed in on him. His left arm came up and just as the female was just inside arms length, he ran the stake in her. His attentions back to the other vamp now and again taking off another head and dust followed.

Gunn wanted to make sure that Faith was doing okay. He looked at her and she was holding her own against a circle of vampires. He checked on Angel. He just dusted another. Gunn gave him a nod of his head. However, as if it was deja vu, that nod of his head was enough of a distraction for a vampire to bring a crate up and break it over the man's head. Gunn went crashing to the ground under the weight of the crate.

Angel saw the crates fall on his friend. "GUNN," he yelled and then made his way over. With his free hand, he started tossing crates off him.

Gunn was dazed but other than that. He was fine. He was on his hands as knees, turning to face Angel. "Get that vamp, will ya?" It was more of a request than a demand. Faith was already sprinting over. She offered a hand to Gunn to help him to his feet.

Angel turned and his demon came to surface. The idea of losing Gunn again wasn't an option. Even if now he was convinced that was a false memory. He sprang after that vamp and grabbed him by the hair of the back of his head. He yanked him back hard. A human would have snapped a human's neck from the force.

Faith helped Gunn get to his feet. Her gaze went quickly to Angel and then back to Gunn. "Looks like he is letting out his inner rage." Faith motioned with her chin towards a group of remaining vamps. "I don't want the girls to have all the fun. You going to be okay, sexual chocolate?"

Gunn nodded his head and chuckled at Faith. She could turn a phrase sometimes. He moved off to the side, only looking at Angel briefly before leaning against a wall. He was still feeling a little dizzy but he would be okay. Faith and the girls could finish off the last of the vamps and then they would be done here.

Angel took down the last vamp finally but one of the slayers was just a bit excited. Just seeing the vamp face, she brought a stake at him. He managed to grab her arm in time.

The Slayer looked up at him. It was Sondra, one of the former members of Gunn's gang. Who knew that she was going to get activated when she was just a street kid fighting vamps to survive. "Sorry, all started lookin alike." She lowered her arm, pulling it slowly from Angel's grasp.

Angel nodded. He only hoped she meant that because he remembered how Gunn's gang felt about him and those feelings weren't the warm fuzzies.

Sondra rushed off to join the group of the girls that was now passing around celebratory high fives. They cleaned out the nest and most of them got out of it with a few bumps and bruises. No one was seriously hurt. All and all, a good night. Gunn leaned against the wall as he still recovered from the crate smashing on him. He gave Angel a smile. "Kind of takes the fun away, having all the girls here." Gunn said it and had only meant that there were less vamps for each of them to dust.

Angel made his demon recede and now his features were human again. Looking at Gunn, he nodded. “There was a time you and I handled a nest like this ourselves."

"Have to train them somehow. Most of them will be shipped off in a year anyway. Watcher's Council wants them as fast as we can get them. Every town has got demons." He pushed off from the wall. He moved over to Angel and gave him a slap on the back. "We are a dying breed, my man. Least you settled, got the family thing going on. Me, Faith, and Gwen...who knows. Keep training Slayers until we are in Depends."

"Only thing wrong with your statement there," the vampire leaned over to whisper to Gunn. He pointed at his own chest. "Dead guy already." He chuckled and started for the door. "I'm going home to let a certain somebody know I'm okay."

"What, you don't want to go out to breakfast with me and the girls? We can tell them to make the steak for your steak and eggs bloody rare." It was worth a shot. Gunn had a feeling that Angel could offer to cook them breakfast instead. Lot easier for him to be at ease when he was in familiar settings. And the windows at the local Waffle House weren't exactly the most shaded.

Stopping, he turned to Gunn. "Like old times, huh?" Angel paused then nodded. "Why not, with that big kitchen."

"Uh, well we usually like to hit the Waffle House. Only come over on Sundays for family breakfast. Ain't Sunday yet." He grinned at Angel. He knew it. "Go home. Cordy will kill me if we keep you out too long after the week she had."

"Sunday," Angel frowned a minute. He then nodded. "Yeah, sure, I forgot. Sunday. I'll just go ahead and go home and...well, go home."

"No prob. Your mind has been nothing but full of holes. Get to work on that. You are forgetting the best stuff. Like how I kicked your ass at Mario Kart." Gunn chuckled and then jogged off to meet back up with Faith and the rest of the girls.


Angel came in from the garden entry after leaving Altadena just before sunrise. He carried his sword to the weapons cabinet. Opening it, he reached in and got out the polish and the rag. He always liked to clean his weapons after a kill. He had respect for them and in turn, he felt they would have the same back. He sat down in the lobby to start to work on the sword and axe.

Lillian had been rooting around in the hotel kitchen while Angel was busying himself with his weapons. While she loved Connor, she didn't love the lumpy milk that was in his fridge. She always had trouble sleeping in a new place the first few nights so she had hoped a glass of milk would settle her down. Then she could get a few hours of sleep. She just about had a heart attack as she came out of the kitchen in her pajamas to see Angel sitting in the lobby. In her startled state, her milk shook and threatened to spill out of her glass all over the tile floor. And she couldn't help the little surprised noise that escaped out of her. It wasn’t that she was surprised it was Angel, she was surprised someone was in the lobby just before dawn.

Angel had heard her in the kitchen but cleaning the weapon came first. He didn't look up. "You must be Lillian." he said as he cleaned the polish off the sword, preparing for another coat.

She was having a little trouble finding her voice. She wasn’t scared. She was just half asleep when she came down for the milk and she was startled. Even slayers can get caught off guard. Of course, that is when they end up dead. "Connor told me that your memory isn't what it used to be. That you probably wouldn’t remember me."

Angel cleaned that second coat off and then stood to put the sword, rag, and polish away. He closed the cabinet and turned to her. "Yeah, I know." he said. "Cordy told me we met before. She also told me that you've moved in with Connor."

"Just yesterday afternoon. Haven't been here very long." She laughed softly as she rubbed her eye. While she looked over 18, the Supergirl pajamas she were sporting might have fooled someone. Something about a grown woman wearing a shirt with the Supergirl logo and cotton pants that were covered in them tended to point to a younger age.

He nodded, not really knowing what to say to the girl. That long quiet thing passed between them. Finally, he spoke. "So, you're dropping out of the school then?"

She laughed just a little bit. "Kind of had too. Unless we wanted a scandal. Dean of school shacking up with slayer student. Not exactly the kind of press a young couple needs. We aren’t Brad and Angelina."

"If you and Connor are happy," Angel said, "then I guess one can't argue. That's what I want for my son is happiness."

"I am not going to presume to speak for Connor. " Though by what they did after they put the twins to bed led her to believe he was really, really happy. At least now. She took a sip from her milk and then lowered the glass. "I know you don't remember me so I am fully prepared for the 'girl who stealing my son' interview portion of this morning. Just to refresh your memory."

He leaned on the front desk and looked at her. "I really don't think I need to get into that." Angel replied softly. "Everyone knows how I feel about my family. And my family just isn't my kids and wife but also the others. Family is more then blood."

"Huh...Cordelia took a WHOLE other attitude after she caught us. We got sat down and she really grilled the hell out of me. That is one tough chicka, I will give you that. Then again, totally understandable after what Connor's been through. She's just being a mom. And you, well you already knew me from the school. Not so much of a surprise cause you knew me from classes and all."

"Cordy is very protective," he said with a nod. "She can get into mama bear mode in zero seconds." A little chuckle escaped him there. "I remember when Connor was first born I wouldn't let any of them touch him and Cordy finally chewed me out about it. Said I was too protective."

"Looks like the two of you changed places then. She's probably got a background check around here someplace in addition to all my school paperwork." She leaned forward, seeming as if she was about to share a big secret here. "I am up to date on all my immunizations."

"Ah...," he paused a moment, "Okay that was a joke, right?" He wanted to make sure. He didn’t know this girl or her sense of humor.

She smiled at him. "Yes, that was a joke. I mean, I have all my shots but I was trying for a joke but I am starting to think it might be just a tad bit too early for me and late for you for my high comedy."

"I do like comedy, though." he tried reassuring her. "The Three Stooges, I mean they crack me up all the time." He said with a grin. "And George and Gracie..," Angel paused looking at her. "Sorry, that was just a little before your time, wasn't it?"

"My grandmother likes them. I do know who you are talking about. Wasn't raised in a bubble. Though, not such a bad idea. The bubble thing. Kind of like a defensive shield. Tough enough plastic, no vampire is getting through. Demon with big claws...yeouch. Rethinking the bubble thing now."

"Might be a good idea." he agreed. "Bubbles can be scary."

"And bubbles, not that easy to fight in. Sure, you can roll your opponent down but what do you do after that?" Her thoughts were always all over the place. It was a wonder that Connor didn't need a road map to follow them. She always had a slight case of nerves around Angel. Him being a vampire, her being a Slayer. It was only natural that she would slip into super-talkative mode. And these were the kinds of things she thought she should be thinking about. New means of defense and offense."How about a suit...made of fire? Not exactly livable but definitely better for the killing things."

"Hmmm, not a good look for a vampire." Angel said.

"No. But you are the enemy. Not you exactly, because of the soul and all but vampires in general. Thinking outside the box with the slaying. Like maybe make a special gun with wooden bullets for long range kills. Then again, have a crossbow for that but today's former gang member slayers really want the comfortable familiarity of a gun."

"I think you and Fred are going to get along." Angel nodded at the girl with her mile a minute speech and tangents. "But now if you'll excuse me, as you pointed out it is late for me. And although its myth we are catatonic in the daytime, we do feel the need for rest like most creatures when we've expended mass amounts of energy."

His mind really WAS fried if he couldn't remember that Fred taught at the school too. Someone had to teach these girls science. Especially the girls who were barely in high school. "Have a good night or morning or just...yeah. I will be seeing you around, no doubt." Again, not that she didn't already at the school. But he didn't remember that.

Angel headed on up the stairs from habit, rarely did he use the elevators. Shower and bed, maybe a warm meal. Then falling asleep with Cordelia in his arms. He wished he could have remembered this girl if she was this important to Connor. On his floor, he entered what was now home and headed right for the bathroom and a hot shower.

Lillian watched Angel climb up those stairs. So sad. Hopefully one of the mental giants like Wesley or Fred could figure out what was wrong with him. Then again, might be better if he doesn't remember certain parts. Connor and Angel's relationship was tense on a good day, she knew that. Anyone could see it. She made sure to wash her glass out and put it in the drying rack once she was done with her milk. She didn't want to wake the rest of the hotel so running the risk of using the elevator was out. She climbed up the stairs to the fourth floor and slipped back into Connor's apartment, which was really just three suites renovated into one. She tired to be quiet as a church mouse as she slipped back into bed with him.

When Lillian came back to bed, he rolled over and his arm went around her, a movement that was new but seemed natural. His hand came up to her breast to hold her there. "I missed you." he said in a hoarse whisper.

She smiled as she felt Connor's arm around her. She turned her head so that she could look at him over her shoulder. "I wasn't gone that long. Like fifteen minutes. Your milk was lumpy and it smelled like a men's locker room.”

"Sorry," he said, "I don't eat up here much." He kissed her shoulder.

"Because you are the take out king. I saw that pizza box under your bed. I think it was growing hair. Speaking of hair, I think your dad's memory loss has affected his styling choices. His hair looks more gelled than normal."

Connor let out a sigh. "He'll be okay," he said. "Always is." Angel was not really a subject he wanted to talk about.

"Is something wrong? The sigh? The tensing up?" She turned herself on her side so that she could be face to face with Connor now. She hated to go to bed when she was worried about him.

"Can we talk about something else besides my father?" he said. "I make nice to him for Cordy. I'd rather just...go for a bit without somebody bringing him up in a conversation."

She was quiet for a moment. "I'm sorry..." She said softly. She didn't want to tell him that she had run into Angel downstairs if he was so anti-Angel right now. Some days were better than others when it came to his dad.

"Its okay." he told her. "Let's just..." He trailed off and put her on her back. He looked down at her, "think about us. When that door is closed, there is nothing else in his world but...us." He lowered to kiss her.

She giggled as he kissed her, pulling her face a little away from him. "Cooooonnooor..." She drew his name out. His above average sex drive was going to make it so neither of them ever left his apartment.

"What?" he asked. His hand moved under the covers to slip over her body until he had reached her sex. He watched her face.

"You are so crazy horny! You have to go to work in a few hours and I am tired out. Some of us aren't children of prophecy who have super stamina" She moved his hand away from her groin and put it on her stomach.

"You didn't mind that stamina an hour ago." He slipped under the covers and down her body. He nipped at her thighs through her clothing.

"I am serious! I need some recovery time. Even Slayers have to heal!" She moved her body. Her leg moved over his head as she laid on her side. She curled up, trying to keep as little of herself exposed for him to attack.

Stopping his attack, he came back out from under the covers. "This is hard you know."

"What is? Aside from the obvious?" She turned her body and her head just enough so that she could look at him. She was smiling though. If they hadn’t been at it all night, she would have given into him easily.

"Self control, is what!" he said as he looked at her.

"I see this as an opportunity. We don't have to sneak around anymore. We can go out like a real couple. We can have late night conversations, just holding each other. We can snuggle on the couch while watching old movies. It doesn't just always have to be about the sex."

"You mean act like a mature couple and not a couple of horn dog kids ready to hump anything that moves?" Connor asked, deepening his voice just slightly. He tried looking at her seriously.

She couldn't hold back the giggles so she was forced to cover her mouth with her hand. It was the deep tone and the serious face that was causing her such a problem. She nodded her head for the simple reason that there was no way she could speak and hold off the laughter.

"Yeah, right, and the moon is made of swiss cheese!" he said. "You haven't seen how the lord and lady of the manor here act."

"And who says we have to act like them? We are Connor and Lillian, two different people. We can do what we please with our relationship." She turned her body more to look at him more fully. "Its not a competition between you and your dad. Who has the better woman. Who can have more sex. Who can do this or that."

"I already know who has the better.." He leaned forward and tried to kiss her again.

She moved her face away from his kiss. "I am really worried about you sometimes. This strange competition you have. Your dad just wants you to be happy. And you are your own man, a very special and amazing man."

Connor sighed and his eyes looked up. He fell on his back, head on the pillow. "I'm not competing with him," he said, "and I thought we weren't going to talk about him."

She wasn't one to press an issue, even if she accidentally started talking about it. "I'm sorry. Like I said, I am just worried about you, baby."

He laid there a moment, then reached up and pulled her to him to hold her, wrapping his arms around her. "See, I can cuddle."

She closed her eyes and settled herself against him when he pulled her in for that snuggle. This was nice and more than that, it was reassurance that she was more than just a good time. After a few minutes, she tilted her chin up, opening her eyes to look at him. "You know I love you, right? Like...a lot. As in I would do almost anything for you. I say almost anything because there are some things, like stuff on Fear Factor, I just can't do for anybody. Like eat weird stuff."

“Oh, you mean you wouldn't eat the eyeball soup or the maggot pie?”

Her nose crinkled up and her body tightened just a little against him when he said that. "Ewww...that is disgusting!" She laughed though. "I am trying to be all sweet and tell you I love you and your only response is to talk about fly pie? I have so much work to do training you!"

“Actually, you'd be surprised what I've had to eat or deal with. You've just been at the books and school training.”

"Yes, the fuzzy pizza under the bed. That is some scary stuff." He was such an oblivious boy sometimes but that is part of the reason she loved him. She moved closer against him, closing her eyes once more. "I am going to try to get a few hours of sleep. I need the energy if I am taking the twins to the park today."

He chucked at her. "Sure you don't want to go back to school?" He closed his eyes and kissed the top of her head.

"No. I am exactly where I want to be." It was only a few moments before she was sleeping in his arms, where she felt the most safe and the most loved.

-TBC-