September 24, 1998
Angel crouched next to the old fireplace in the lobby of the old mansion. This place didn’t hold many fond memories. It was here that he, Drusilla, and Spike tried to unleash hell on earth.
It was in this very room that Buffy told him to close his eyes. Then she buried the blade in his chest. It was with that blow that Angel’s destiny was sealed.
The memory of the vampire with a soul could have faded into a distant memory. The ally and lover turned enemy could have been dismissed as a battle fought in the past, long since won, having no more effect on those who survived. But that isn’t what happened.
He was released from the hell in which he was housed, for reasons he wouldn’t understand until much later. He was to be a warrior. He was to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves. Funny how at one time they would have all needed protection from him.
For so long he had believed that his goal had been redemption with the promise of humanity. But now Angel saw it clearly. This child he sought to protect was his reward. She was not only his redemption, but also all of humanity.
Angel carefully removed a pair of bricks from the back of the fireplace. He dipped his hand into the hole and removed a rag-covered object. It was the palm pilot. His ticket back to his family. With a sigh, he stood up to make his goodbyes.
The Scoobies all lined up to say their farewells. Xander was first in line. After a quick handshake and a muttered “Goodbye”, Xander stepped a more comfortable distance away. Buffy gave him a quick hug, all the while trying to hold back the tears. “Go back to your family,” she said.
“Buffy, I’m sorry things won’t…”
“No,” she said. “When you go, all this will be forgotten. And for a while, at least, I can hold on to the fairy tale.”
“You were my first love,” Angel said.
“And you were mine.”
Angel smiled at her before moving on to Willow. The redhead looked adorable in pigtails and overalls. Angel thought back to when he first woke. A relationship with this girl would have been a lot healthier for him.
After a moment of debate, Angel made his decision.
To say Willow was shell-shocked when Angel laid the deepest, most passionate kiss she’d ever experience on her would be an understatement. Right before Willow could actually summon up her wits to do something, like slap him or go with the flow, Angel broke the kiss off. Angel grinned wickedly as Willow stared into space in a daze.
Oz was the next in line. “I’m sorry,” the vampire said. “I had to do that. But on the bright side, in a few minutes you won’t remember any of it.”
“And that’s your only saving grace,” Oz deadpanned. He shook Angel’s hand before turning to his girlfriend. “Willow, baby, you okay?”
Giles was next. The Watcher wore an amused look as Oz tried to give Angel an evil glare. The young werewolf looked constipated. “Good luck to you, Angel,” Giles said. “Take care of Cordelia and the little one.”
“I will,” Angel said as he shook Giles’ hand. “I’ll do whatever it takes to protect them.”
“Yes,” Giles said, “so I’ve seen.”
Finally, it was Cordelia’s turn to say goodbye. Angel would have to convince his Cordy to grow her hair out. The young teenager wore a look of contentment on her face. It was the look of someone who knew good things would be in their future. If Angel could look in a mirror, he was sure he’d see the same expression on his face.
“I’m not real sure what to say,” Cordelia admitted. “Goodbye doesn’t sound right, because we’ll see each other when you go home.”
“How about ‘See you in a few’?” Angel smiled.
“That’ll work,” Cordelia smiled back. “We’re going to be good parents, aren’t we?”
“Are you kidding? We’ll kick ass.” Angel leaned in and softly kissed her cheek. Giving her hand a light squeeze, he then unwrapped the palm pilot. He then walked into the center of the lobby and took a deep breath.
Angel pressed the necessary buttons to begin his journey. A cold wind began to flow throughout the mansion. Electricity began to crackle along the walls and moved to converge at a spot above the center of the room. A loud tear was heard, as the fabric of time was ripped open. Angel tucked the palm pilot into his jacket.
“Time to go home,” he whispered. With a running start, Angel leapt into the vortex. Like a rubber band, the vortex snapped shut.
The timeline was preserved.
October 19, 2003
Papers were whipped from Cordelia’s desk as a cold wind picked up in the hotel. Cordelia shot up from her seat and rushed into the lobby as fast as she could. “He’s coming home!” she shouted in glee.
In moments everyone had raced to the lobby. Fred and Gunn were the last to arrive, but they did so in time to see the vortex open up. Angel dropped, this time to his feet With a slight smile, he greeted the room.
December 8, 2003
I remember when Connor was born. I was so nervous, so fearful, that I couldn’t appreciate the magnitude of the miracle before me. So concerned was I in the threat to my son’s life, that I couldn’t marvel in the tiny bundle I helped create. It took some time before I would fully understand what Connor’s existence meant.
He was a life. A tiny, miraculous life. In my existence, I had excelled in destruction. Particularly, the destruction of life. But in that moment of realization, it struck me. I had created life. A beautiful, pure life. He was something that I devote all of my love, and I discovered that I had the capacity to devote my soul to a being.
And when I held my little angel in my arms, I discovered that feeling again. My beautiful Aileen. My second miracle. With her mother’s perfect eyes, and her mother’s perfect mouth. My beautiful Aileen.
Looking at the scene before me, my heart swells with a pride more powerful than I’ve ever felt. Resting gently in a rocking chair, my love holds OUR miracle to her breasts, singing a lullaby slightly off key. She smiles sweetly down on our little creation.
She feels it too. That overwhelming sense of love. Not the blazing, inferno type of love. The type that burns and consumes, leaving nothing but ashes in its wake. But the warm, enveloping type of love. Like a comforter surrounds you on a chilly night. Surrounding you with warmth, and safety, and contentment.
“What are you thinking?” she asks me. I smile as I walk over and place my hand gently on her cheek. She leans into my touch, as I kneel to place my other hand by the head of our child.
“I’m thinking about Aileen,” I say. “About all the good things she will do. About all the hope she will bring. Can you feel it?” I ask Cordelia. “Can you feel her soul? Can you feel the love that she already holds?” I can see that she does.
“I do,” Cordelia said. “She will bring love to the world. She won’t hesitate to make the needed sacrifice. The sacrifice to save us all.”
I silently agree with her. I lean down to kiss Aileen gently on the forehead. The tiny life yawns as sleep tries to overtake her. I then kiss my Cordelia softly on the lips. Even though we know that our daughter’s destiny is the sacrifice of her life, we accept this. Because we can feel that she does.
“I love you,” I say softly.
“And I love you,” Cordelia answers.
“Sleep well,” I whisper in our miracle’s ear. “Your destiny awaits.”