Xander found Angel in their bedroom which usually wouldn’t be a bad sign. No, far from it. Finding Angel in the bedroom usually lead to them locking the bedroom door and …well.
But Xander immediately sensed that something was wrong. Maybe it was the way Angel’s shoulders seemed to be hunched. Maybe it was the fact that Angel didn’t notice Xander enter the room.
“Hey,” Xander said cautiously not wanting to startle the man. Angel looked up and smiled sadly.
“Hey,” Angel echoed and looked back down at the photos in his hands. Xander sat down on the bed. The two men’s thighs touching. Xander reached out and took one of the pictures. His breath hitched and his fingers suddenly felt numb.
“Sorry,” Angel said and tried to take the picture back. Xander wouldn’t let him, the tips of his warm fingers holding Angel’s wrist. The picture hovering between them in Angel’s hand.
“Why?” Xander breathed deeply “Why are you looking at those pictures?”
“I…I was just,” Angel seemed to look through the picture ”I forgot what he looked like.”
”Oh,” Xander let his fingers rub small circles on Angel’s wrist.
”I’ve,” Angel started ”I’ve been thinking a lot about…about Connor and the kids.” Xander didn’t move, he just watched Angel. ”I…I worry that I’ll have to stand by and watch them grow up, grow old and then…”
”Angel,” Xander took the pictures and put them on the bed.
”Me and you, Xander...” Angel turned so he was facing his consort. ”We’ll live for a very long time. Just look at you,” Angel shook his head ”You’re thirty-six and you still look twenty. As my consort you could live as long as me. But the kids…We don’t know about them.”
”You…You’ve been thinking about that for some time haven’t you?” Xander asked and stood up, the picture of Connor in one hand.
”Yes,” Angel admitted ”I once…Angelus once wiped out an entire family. Killed the children first. The youngest first, a little girl not much older than a year or so, and then the rest of them. Leaving the parents…forcing them to watch,” Angel closed his eyes and ran a shaking hand through his hair. ”The father…before I killed him, he said…He said the worst thing a parent can experience is to survive their own children…He said it wasn’t natural. Not the way it was suppose to be.”
”Oh, Angel.” Xander knelt in front of the vampire.
Angel took Xander’s hands in his and shook his head ”I wonder if that’ll be my punishment…that I’ll have to watch my own children grow old and die.”
”Haven’t we been punished enough?” Xander said and put the picture of Connor in Angel’s hand ”Liam, Kathy and Jesse they’re half vampire half…whatever I am. They might live for hundreds of years or they might walk out of the hotel tomorrow and get hit by a speeding car. There are no guarantees.” Xander stood up and looked down at Angel. ”You could get dusted next time you go out to help someone…and then what would happen to me?”
”Don’t, Xander.” Angel begged.
”I’ve read the Watchers’ Journals I know what happens to me if you get yourself dusted…I’ll go mad, stop eating…eventually I’ll die.”
”No,” Angel said ”No, if Spike is still alive, he’ll claim you.”
”Angel, I…” Xander began only to be interrupted by a loud furious scream. They both looked over at the open door, through it they could see part of the hallway.
”I’ll fucking kill you, Jesse!” Liam screamed from somewhere down the hall. Jesse ran past the bedroom door holding something in his hands. The fourteen year old boy’s dark hair hanging in his eyes, obscuring the grin Xander knew was plastered all over the boy’s face.
”Aaarrrggghhh!” Liam growled.
”What the hell?” Angel said as Liam ran naked past their room with nothing but a shower curtain draped around his body.
A loud shriek could be heard. ”Kathy.” both Xander and Angel said.
”OH MY GOD! You’re butt naked.” the girl laughed.
”Shut up and help me catch Jesse.” they heard Liam plead, just as Jesse ran past their door again only to turn back and dash inside.
”Quick Dad. Hide me!” the lanky kid with the cheeky grin huffed.
”Nope,” Xander said and started pushing the protesting boy out of the bedroom ”You made a mess. You take care of it.”
”But Daddy!” Jesse whined and made big puppy dog eyes. Angel smiled, Jesse was almost an exact copy of Xander. Both physically and mentally.
”Better do as your told, boy.” Angel said ”Or you’ll have toilet cleaning duty for a month.”
”Oh man! So not fair. Much with the unfairness,” Jesse moaned.
”Liam!” Angel yelled ”Jesse is in here.” Jesse turned and looked at Xander.
”Daddy…please. Liam is gonna kill me.”
”Well, you should have thought about that before you stole all his clothes and his towel, now shouldn’t you.” Xander pointed out.
”Fuck.” Jesse mumbled when they heard Liam’s heavy footsteps on the stairs.
”Watch your mouth.” Angel said.
”Um…sorry. Darn it?!” the boy looked from Angel to Xander.
”Good,” Xander nodded ”Now out you go.” he pushed the resisting kid out of the room.
”He’ll kill me and then you’ll all be sorry! You’ll be all with the crying and the wailing over my broken body.” Jesse protested as Xander closed the door in his face.
”Think he’ll survive?” Xander asked when they heard a loud battle cry and a heavy bump.
”Fuck, that hurts, Liam!” Jesse cursed from the hallway.
”Watch your mouth!” Angel and Xander yelled.