'I'm just not sure that breaking into Miss Chase's apartment is at all a good thing to do.'
Angel looked up at Wesley and the ex-Watcher saw the angry concern in his face. He stepped back a little.
'Miss Chase? Bloody Hell Wesley, you've probably had her in every position in your head and you still call her Miss.
'Not helping, Spike,' said Angel, turning the handle and breaking the lock. 'Cordelia?'
'Angel's right man,' said Doyle, 'We've called her twice and she's still not answering. Even Cordy wouldn't come into work this late.'
Spike looked at the half-demon and raised an eyebrow.
'Wasn't it last night that you two Casanova wannabes fucked up on the great Miss Gobby mystery?'
Angel stepped inside and started looking about. He turned round to Doyle and gestured towards Spike. Doyle stared puzzled and then clicked.
'Come on in, Spike.'
The vampire walked in and sniffed as Dennis' presence floated past.
'Bloody Ghosts get everywhere don't they?'
Wesley turned back to Spike, realising something.
'You just called her Miss!'
'Yeah? Well I haven't thought about bumping uglies with that.........'
'Angel?' came the quivering voice.
They opened the bedroom door.
'Oh my.........' began Wesley.
Doyle moved forward and sat on the bed, taking Cordelia's hand and stroking it gently.
'Bugger me, Pet. You've done some damage there!'
Angel walked up to the bed and pulled a chair round, looking at the heavily pregnant girl.
'Cordelia, we're here.'
She wouldn't look at him.
'Do you want to tell me what happened?'
Spike snorted and Wesley pulled him backwards out of the room, seemingly suddenly more aggressive than he had ever been around the vampire.
'You sir, are trying my patience.'
Spike pulled back, amused by the demon hunter's concern.
'You really do care about her don't you, ducks?'
Wesley pushed his glasses up on his nose and shot Spike an empiric gaze.
'And what if I do? I'd rather have some compassion for that poor girl in there than laugh about her unfortunate situation.'
Spike frowned a second.
'Hit the nail on the head there, mate. That's no human baby she's lumping about.'
'Indeed,' said Wesley, 'And she's going to need all our support whilst we try and decided what's to be done.'
Spike smirked at him.
'You're not telling me that I have to turn on the sugar now are you?'
Wesley sighed and shook his head.
'No, I suppose that's not going to happen. But at least you could keep quiet instead of upsetting her further.'
Spike looked at Wesley's determined face and winked.
'I'll be a good little demon, then, ducks.'
Wesley paused, then stretched to his full height, which was several inches taller than Spike's.
'Good, see that you do. Or I'll be forced to.........to.........'
'Kick my arse? Asked Spike with a suggestive grin.
'Something like that,' Wesley wearily accepted.
Angel walked out of the room, a familiar disgruntled expression across his face.
'Can't get hold of the father.'
'No? You do surprise me,' said Spike. 'He's well out of the picture by now. His work's done!'
Angel looked at his lover wearily, but Spike didn't show signs of being all that eager to tease Cordelia to death, so he made ignored it.
'He might come back for the baby.'
'Which could be at any time now,' pointed out Wesley. 'If she's that pregnant in one night.........'
'Yuchhh!' said Spike, 'Don't fancy cleaning up demon placenta.'
'I don't know what to do yet, we have to know what it is exactly first.'
He looked at Wesley.
'You and I are going to try and get some answers about where this Wilson and his friends are.'
'What about me?' asked Spike, 'Don't I get to beat up Daddy?'
Angel shook his head.
'We don't know that it's definitely demon yet, and if it's not, then you're just in for a hell of a headache.'
Wesley laughed and then stopped at Spike's cold glare. Angel looked back into the room and saw Cordelia resting her head on Doyle's shoulder, her swollen belly visible even under the bed covers.
He turned to the others.
'Spike, you and Doyle get her to the doctors and get them to do a pre natal exam. We have to know what we're up against.'
'And if it's a big hairy arsed demon I can come and kick it, right?'
'Right,' agreed Angel with a small grin. He thought about Cordelia again and frowned. 'We have to be quick though.'
'Yeah,' agreed Spike, 'Don't much fancy dealing with demon toddler tantrums
in a couple of years.'
Angel and Wesley walked into the bar, both wondering why Cordelia had been there. From what Angel knew of her party likes, she wasn't exactly one for hanging out in quiet places. And this was definitely one of those. Maybe it got more lively at night.
The barman was cleaning glasses and looking very bored. Angel reached into his pocket for his wallet and wondered if he was making a big mistake. This guy probably dealt with guys who thought they could buy anything they wanted all day and night. Maybe it would take a gentler approach.
'Hmmm?' asked Wesley.
'Why don't you ask the bartender. I have a feeling I come off as intimidating and you might get more out of him.'
'What? Oh, right,' said Wesley, pleased. 'I shall start my inquiry now.'
Angel hung back as Wesley braced himself, thrusting his shoulders backwards and marching forwards as though he was in a parade. Angel winced, thinking perhaps that it might take a gentler approach than that.
The bartender looked at the ex-Watcher, mentally cataloging him as 'in desperate need of a drink and a good woman' and cast his tired smile on the man.
'Good afternoon,' said Wesley brightly, 'I was looking for someone and I wondered if you could help me.'
Make that several drinks and maybe a good man instead.
'What kind of someone?'
Wesley looked around and leaned over the bar conspirationally.
'My friend was here last night with a man, and I need to find him.'
The barman raised a tired eyebrow.
'I don't get involved, okay, I just serve the drinks.'
Wesley looked surprised.
'Oh no, I'm not her boyfriend, it's just, well, he.........he left her in rather a bad state and I'd like to have a word.'
'Who is he then?'
'Well,' said Wesley, 'I believe his name is Wilson and he left here last night with Cordelia. She's very beautiful, with raven tresses and a very warm smile.'
The bartender looked at him.
'Sure you're not the boyfriend?'
Wesley looked abashed and the tender nodded slowly.
'Okay, so Wilson Christopher, yeah, I know him, but I don't know where he is.'
'Well do you know who he's friends with, where they like to go.........'
'Pretty much wherever Serena tells them.'
'Yeah, you know her?'
Wesley inclined his head.
'Well, sort of. You were saying?'
The bartender nodded.
'They travel in packs. The guys have the money, the girls have the pretty. The girls decide what club's the flavor of the month and Serena rules the girls.'
'Thank you. I'll just.........er, go and ask Serena if she knows where he is.'
The bartender gave him a bog standard bar smile and started cleaning his glasses again.
'Sure you're not her boyfriend?'
'Er, no,' said Wesley, shaking his head. He gestured to Angel and the dark vampire came over with a congratulatory smile.
'I see,' grinned the tender, 'takes all types I guess.'
Wesley looked at Angel and then back at the bar.
'What? Oh no, oh, you've got quite the wrong end of the stick there, I can assure.........'
'Come on Wesley,' said Angel and dragged the demon hunter out.
Cordelia sat in the corner of the waiting room, her eyes fixed on her stomach, still unable to take that it was a part of her. Spike sat next to her, looking more like a thug than ever in the stark whites of the hospital. He wasn't exactly happy that he'd lost his duster, but the fire, vodka and foam had rendered it completely unwearable. Which sucked.
And now here he was with an irrational pregnant woman in the middle of a hospital. With Doyle playing Daddy and faking names up to get her examined. It was bothering him slightly that he didn't like to see Cordelia crying. He kept telling himself it was because tears were noisy and unpleasant, but he found himself fighting this weird urge to hug her.
Spike didn't hug humans.
He didn't do hugging full stop, at least, he hadn't.
Being with Angel had changed him and he'd already noticed how he was thinking of the others as people, and worried about that. Now it seemed that he was actually considering their feelings and that couldn't be right. He looked about in the room and was relieved to find that aside from Cordelia and Doyle, everyone else just seemed like lunch. So that was a little better, but he really didn't like the idea that he was coming to care about more than just Angel.
Maybe they were putting something in the blood?
Doyle came back over.
'They said you could go through in a minute, Princess.'
Cordelia nodded and accepted Doyle's hand as he sat next to her. Being pregnant seemed to have shocked most of her dialogue away and she was uncannily silent as Doyle stroked her hand. The woman next to them tried to talk to her and Cordelia freaked before the stunned female turned away. Minutes seemed to drag and Doyle excused himself to go to the bathroom.
Spike nudged Cordelia and she looked up at the receptionist.
'Doctor will see you now.'
She struggled to get her feet and Spike sighed, then got up and pulled her upright. She smiled a worried thanks and moved toward the door, waddling as she tried to cope with her new figure. She paused before she went in and turned back to Spike.
'I don't want to go in there alone.'
Spike raised an eyebrow.
'Doyle'll be back in a moment.'
Cordelia blinked away a tear.
Spike huffed and then gestured for her to go through. The receptionist cast him a disgusted glance and he stuck his tongue out at her before closing the door behind them.
The doctor was short and balding, with a weak pulse and a completely unappealing neck. Spike imagined he'd die in a few years and amused himself by imagining his death, all tortured and painful. The nurse was more his type of meal and she looked at him strangely as he shot her a seductive grin. She would make one hell of an entrée and she blushed under his gaze before remembering that he was in there to support his 'wife'. She turned away and busied herself preparing the ultrasound.
Still, she couldn't help smiling. He was a sexy man after all.
'So, Ms Murphy. You're what, eight and half months along?'
Cordelia glared at him, but he carried on feeling her stomach, oblivious.
'You left a lot of blanks on the patient information form. It would help to have the name of your previous doctor.'
'You're the only doctor we've been to.........'
'.........in California,' finished Spike, 'We've just moved here from England.'
He turned to look at Cordelia, who stared at him incredulously.
'Isn't that right, Pet?'
She nodded slowly, a threatening look on her face.
'Lovely country,' said the doctor. 'So, how are you feeling?'
'I'm as big as a house, everything hurts, I.........'
'That's all normal at this stage. And once your little one comes out, which will probably be in no time, you'll feel a lot better.'
'Will it stop the bad moods too Doc?' asked Spike, 'Cause she's not been herself ever since William junior was conceived.'
'William junior?' asked Cordelia.
The doctor laughed easily.
'Every couple argue over names. It's usually the most difficult part.'
'Not in this case,' murmured Spike and ignored the look Cordelia shot at him.
'Well then, Ms Murphy, if you'd just like to lie back, we'll see what's baking in the oven, okay?'
Cordelia reached out her fingers and Spike took them, before they both stared at their hands, then each other and sprung apart, disgusted. The doctor stared at them a moment before looking at the monitor and moving the scanner over Cordelia's belly.
'Hmm, looks like somebody's expecting twins.'
'Twins?' exclaimed Cordelia and Spike in unison. She reached out her hand again and Spike took it this time, his eyes focussed on the doctor's face. It was growing more worried with each pass of the scanner.
'No, I can see another heartbeat.........and another.........'
'There's one, there,' pointed out the nurse.
'And a sixth,' said the Doctor breathlessly.
He looked up at the very nervous Cordelia and back at the monitor.
'Oh my God.........'
'What? What is it?' asked Cordelia.
'I'm sure it's nothing,' said the Doctor shaking his head.
Spike let go of Cordy's hand and prodded the man in the white coat.
'Look mate, you don't go saying that and leaving her in the lurch. She asked you what was wrong.'
The doctor took in Spike's aggressive stance and looked back at the monitor again. Spike gave off threatening vibes even in human form and some primal urge told him that he'd better come up with some answers quickly.
'I - I'd like to withdraw - a little of the amniotic fluid just, just to make sure that everything is, ah.........shipshape.'
He turned to the nurse.
'If you could just prep Ms Murphy?'
Serena wasn't quite what either of them had been expecting.
For one thing she was exceedingly drunk and she was also as pregnant as Cordelia. It transpired that she had suspected something was wrong, but, unable to put her finger on it, and enjoying the wealth of their lifestyle, she had ignored her misgivings.
LA could do that to a person.
Although she couldn't reach any of the guys in question, a group of whom she'd known little about, Serena did manage to give them a hint. Apparently all the guys were interested in guns and hung out together in some private gun club. Angel reassured her that they'd get whoever it was that was doing this and they headed back to Angel's apartment.
As they entered they could hear Cordelia crying and Wesley was past him before Angel could react. He followed him into the bedroom and was amazed to see Spike hurrying down the stairs with Cordelia wrapped in his arms. He lay her down in the bed before noticing that Angel and Wesley were there. Doyle brought in a cup of coffee and sat next to her on the bed, stroking hair off her face as he nodded to the others.
'Hey,' said Angel softly, 'I think we've worked out where Wilson and his cronies might be.'
Cordelia sobbed and buried her head into Spike's chest to almost everyone's surprise. Angel raised his eyebrows to Spike and his lover shrugged back, before scowling at the smile which emerged on the older vampire's face.
'So where is it then?' asked Doyle, 'Cause that man needs his face rearranging in a big way.'
'It's a gun club,' answered Wesley, 'I'm afraid that all the men you've been seeing are involved.'
'What?' asked Cordelia from the vampire's chest, 'What does that mean?'
She turned so she could see Wesley and saw the worried look on his face.
'Why won't anyone tell me anything?'
'It's okay, Princess,' said Doyle, 'Angel and I will sort this out.'
Angel nodded and picked up the Yellow Pages.
'Serena's in the same position as you, Cordelia, and there's at least two others we know of. Maybe more. You just sit tight here whilst Wesley has a look for something that could do this, and Doyle and I will go have a word.'
'Oh,' said Spike, 'So Irish here gets to go beating folk up and Spike has to stay home and babysit?'
Cordelia let out a scream and bent double in the bed. Spike got up as Wesley and Doyle tried to comfort her and walked over to Angel.
'Come on, Peaches, you can't tell me that we're not dealing with some kind of demon now?'
Angel shook his head.
'We still don't know. And if it's something else.........I don't want you getting hurt.'
Spike snorted and glared at his lover.
'I don't need your permission to go beat people up. I can just walk out of here myself.'
Angel smiled and ran his hand up his cheek.
'I know that, and I promise, if it turns out to be demonic, I'll hold off until I can get you there, okay?'
Cordelia screamed again and they turned back, watching as she held on tightly to her belly. Wesley and Doyle tried to calm her down, but her eyes sought out Spike. He groaned and walked back over to her, sitting down as she grasped his shirt and buried her head into his chest once more.
Angel looked at him.
Spike rolled his eyes.
'Yeah, I'm fine, go find these gits.........give them a big ass kicking from me.'
He passed Wesley the ultra sound scan and sat back on the bed as Cordelia braced herself against him. The demon hunter looked disbelievingly at the tableau and then headed upstairs to his books. Doyle kissed Cordelia on the head and headed out to Angel's car.
'You sure you're okay?' asked Angel.
Spike waved his hands.
'Go on, I'll babysit, till Weasly works out what's going on.'
Angel smiled and left the room.
'They're talking to me.'
Spike looked at the dark hair against his chest.
'What? The babies?'
She looked up at him.
'They're talking to me, but I don't know what they're saying.'
'Demons can be like that - unhelpful at the whole conversation lark.'
She sat up, her eyes wild and staring.
'Doyle.........Wesley, they were afraid, afraid of what's inside me.'
'Well it's not exactly a happy event is it, Love?'
She looked at her belly.
'You don't know what it's like.........to be a partner in creation.........'
Spike looked at her. She wasn't exactly acting like the woman he knew, and with what he'd seen inside her body, he didn't fancy her chances of survival much. The Cordelia he knew wasn't afraid of anything, and this version was clinging.........to him. And wasn't that whacked?
She was staring and he recognised the smell of fear, before coming to a decision.
'Yeah, I do know what it's like.'
She looked at him and saw the vampire was deadly ha, ha serious.
He shook his head.
'I know what it's like to make a kid.
She squinted at him.
'What? That whole vampire siring thing?'
Spike shook his head.
'Nah, this was back when I was human.'
Spike looked at her and saw the wild uncertainty in her eyes before lifting the cover and wrapping her up. Cordelia leaned back against the pillows, but concentrated on Spike. He tilted his head to the side and thought back to that time. It seemed like a world away, and he snorted to himself as he realised it was.
'I was only a kid, but some things never change. Tell them they can't have sex and the little buggers'll be shagging away like rabbits soon as you turn your back.'
'Yeah, nothing changes.'
'Some things do. Back then if you knocked a girl up, you either had to marry the silly cow or face her family.'
'Sensitive, weren't you?'
'You could say that. Only form of birth control we had was cross your fingers or cross your legs.'
'Sounds like fun.........not.'
'Oh I dunno, I always had a laugh.'
He grinned at her and she squirmed as something moved within her belly.
'You were saying, about this girl?'
'Yeah, well she was my mate's sister. Pretty girl, long brown hair, curvy ass, big tits.'
'Okay, enough with the description please?'
Spike smiled at the memory.
'Anyway I was young and horny, so I talked her into bed and she turned out to be as near to innocent as I was. Right sexy little thing, but her family thought she was the virgin Mary.'
'Oh I know THAT role.'
He looked at her and she shrugged.
'So she turns up at my gaff after this job I was doing and says she's late. Could've knocked me down with a feather. I thought she was sorting out that side of things.'
Cordelia laughed dryly.
'Believe me, that attitude hasn't changed.'
'Yeah, human nature is a bugger to cope with. Anyway, I wasn't exactly ready for marriage, but she said she didn't want that, she'd give the baby to her Auntie, cause she couldn't have one.'
'Used to happen a lot back then - kids being raised by Aunties and Sisters and folks. No one paid much mind to it.'
'So what happened?'
Spike sighed again and leaned back against the pillow next to her.
'Kiddie was born, went to the Aunties house and I never got to see her. Her brother and I went on being mates, but I never hooked up with her again. Never gave much thought to it after that.'
'So there could be someone out there related to you?'
Spike shrugged again.
'Demons usually feed off their families. It's the first thing they want to do, Pet.'
She looked at him.
'You didn't though, did you?'
'You're brighter than you look, aren't you?'
'Umm, Spike? May I have a word?'
They turned to see Wesley with a pale face and a leather tome.
'You've worked out what it is?'
He nodded and tried to gesture for Spike to come out of the room. He remained sitting on the bed and glared at the demon hunter.
'I think she can cope with the truth, ducks.'
Wesley looked at Cordelia and his shoulders sagged.
'Very well then.'
He walked over to the bed and laid out the open pages.
'I ask that you not overreact. Keep in mind that oft times these 16Century engravers tended to exaggerate.'
Cordelia looked at Spike. He nodded. Wesley sighed in relief and continued.
'I.........I know it seems dire, but now that we've identified the species, there is every chance that we will be able to stop what's happening to you.'
She picked up the book and looked at it carefully. The she stood up and closed it.
'That's right, we mustn't lose hope.'
Cordelia turned and Spike saw the look on her face.
'Wesley, I don't think she's upset.........'
Cordelia swung the book and knocked him out. He slumped forward over the bed. Spike got to his feet and moved away.
'Now Pet, there's no need to hit me with that, it's not like I can do anything.'
She kept towards him and he backed up, cursing the chip in his head as he edged toward the bathroom door.
'Look, just go, I won't stop you, I just don't fancy being bashed with that.'
'You're not going to hurt my babies.'
'Fine, Pet. Go have your demon spawn.'
An idea occurred to him. Would it count if he was trying to hurt the demons inside her?
He swung out at her belly and before he could connect, the chip triggered and sent him sprawling to the floor as agony swept his brain. He growled at his mistake.
'No one is going to hurt my babies.'
Doyle chased towards the phone box.
'I feel better.'
Angel walked behind him, pulling bullets from his chest.
'I hate when they shoot me.'
Doyle opened the door and began to dial.
'Yeah man, but we kicked some serious ass in there. I don't think they're going to go around impregnating any other girls with demon spawn anytime soon.'
Angel raised an eyebrow.
Doyle laughed, embarrassed.
'Right, we kill the big bad guy and no more babies full stop. Wesley?' he said into the phone.
'She hit me!'
There was a groan in the background and Angel recognised it as Spike.
'Is he okay?'
Doyle rolled his eyes.
'Are you both okay?'
Wesley put his glasses back on.
'Yes, I think so, but Cordelia's gone. She became insanely protective when I identified the Hacksaw as the father of her.........her, ah.........I fear she may have gone off to rendezvous with it.'
'She has. Miliken Industrial Park in Reseda.'
'That's where they built their shrine.'
'Oh,' Wesley looked at the book and saw Spike getting ready to leave. 'How does she know though?'
'She's telepathically linked to its unborn. That's how it's controlling Cordelia.'
'Ah, a psychic umbilical cord, hmmm, that's what's sustaining these pregnancies.'
'You mean we kill the demon and no more babies?' growled Spike.
'Right then, tell that poof there that I'll be along shortly. I've got some
payback wants delivering.'
Angel climbed down the steps with one hand on the barrel.
It had been a struggle to find liquid nitrogen this late at night, but Doyle had a sweet tongue and there was one service girl who was a whole lot happier now.
Spike jumped down after him and Angel winced as the barrel clanged on the floor.
'Surprise entrances just aren't your style are they?'
Spike grinned at him.
'Look, Love, there's a demon in there who's just aching for yours truly to kick the shit out of it. You're lucky that I've agreed to this ass kicking - free version of it.'
'If I didn't know better, I'd say you were doing this because you felt sorry for Cordelia.'
'But you know better, right Peaches.'
'Well, I thought I did. But that was before I saw Cordelia snuggling up to you like you were best buddies.'
'Look, it's simple. Weasly and Irish gave off big fear signals that that Demon Mum to be could pick up on. I didn't.'
'Cause you're that hard?'
Spike wiggled his eyebrows.
'For you, Peaches, always.'
'You'd better keep that promise tonight. Right now we have a baby shower to bust up.'
'Is there any other way?'
'Well occasionally you could try getting invited somewhere, but I think you like being illegal.'
Angel pushed the barrel to the beginning of the ramp and prepared to let it roll.
'Go on and have your fun, just remember that there's a vampire back here with the hardest cock you've laid your hands on.'
Angel chuckled and leaned over to kiss him.
'Plan to do a lot more than just lay my hands.'
'Gah, go on, you'll make me blush, Love.'
'You Will? Never!'
'I put chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the ice box,' said Doyle.
'I've got her favourite magazines,' said Angel, plopping them on her desk.
'I've just tidied that,' groaned Wesley, moving them into order.
Spike chuckled as the three men hurried around, excited because Cordelia was coming back into the office.
'You lot look such twats!'
Angel stared at him amiably.
'And this coming from the person who insisted on choosing which magazines I bought.'
Spike stuck his tongue in his cheek.
'Yeah, well, I don't think she would have liked Twinkle, or that other kid's one you picked up.'
'Nothing, Spike. Just occurs that you're looking forward to her coming back as much as any of us.'
'Right, cause little Miss Gossipbox and I are such good mates.'
'Well she did turn to you when she was in trouble,' pointed out Wesley.
'Yeah, and it was your shoulder she cried on,' smirked Angel with relish.
'So! That was cause I was the only one of you that didn't wuss out!'
'Yeah, Spike,' said Angel, 'Whatever you say.'
The door opened.
'Hello Cordelia,' said Wesley, 'I must say, you're looking quite lovely.'
'Radiant,' murmured Spike with a grin.
Angel grabbed his hand and squeezed it tightly.
'Be nice,' he whispered.
'I'm always nice,' came the reply, 'I just have my own view on nice, Pet.'
'And what's that then?'
Spike ran his finger along Angel's thigh.
'If you let me have some of that ice cream, I'll show you later.'
Angel chuckled, then heard Cordelia say 'all I have to do is let him impregnate me with his demon master's seed, and I've got the part.'
They looked at her.
'Guys, I appreciate all the concern, but I'm *okay*. I mean, it was an ordeal, but I got through it, - and I'm a lot stronger than those loser demon surrogates thought.'
'I knew that, but these nonces wouldn't be stopped from pampering you.'
She grinned at him.
'I learned something, too. I learned, umm.........men are evil? Oh, wait.........I knew that. I learned that LA is full of self-serving phonies. No, had that one down, too. Uh............... sex is bad?
Spike grinned and felt Angel's hand against his ass.
'Wouldn't say that exactly,' murmured Angel.
'Oh, I don't know,' grinned Spike, 'I'd say we could be pretty bad.'
Cordelia looked at them all.
'Okay. I learned that I have four people I trust absolutely with my life......... And that part's new.'
Wesley sighed and turned away.
Doyle chuckled and Spike frowned.
'Did she say four people?'
'If I wasn't.........with the chip and everything, I'd kill you in a second.'
'She knows that, right, Peaches?'
'With a caesar salad wasn't it?' asked Cordelia.
'Right,' said Spike. 'Still the Big Bad, remember.'
Angel bit down lightly on his ear.
'Still big.........' he chuckled, 'And very Bad.'