Author: Dark Star
Summary: They have far to go.
Warning: Contains pregnancy hanky-panky.
Thanks to Becks for the beta
She loves apple pie. The crust is crumbly and golden and the apples are succulent and juicy; the taste is divine, and the pie melts away to nothing in her mouth. She is sitting on a blanket in a field of green, beautiful flowers waving in the breeze and birdsong filtering through the trees. There is fruit and sandwiches and big chunks of cake in the picnic hamper beside her. She closes her eyes and feels the warmth of the sun flow through her. A buzz beside her right ear tells her a bee is investigating the flowers, and she turns to watch its busy antics gathering the pollen.
“Are you happy?” he says, and she gives him a delighted smile. “Yes,” she says. “This place is perfect.”
“So are you,” he says, and when he kisses her, she knows that everything is right with the world.
She’s walking through the field and his hand is warm in hers, his blue eyes are sparkling with fun. She blinks, and he’s not holding her hand any more. He’s standing over on the other side of the field; he’s shouting something she can’t hear and is frantically waving a small yellow bear at her. The previously clear blue sky is darkening and the clouds are rolling in fast. She has a sense of dread clawing at her gut and she calls to him, but her voice is lost over the rumble of thunder and lightning strikes down, highlighting his frightened face and hurling him six feet across the grass. Then she’s running, running as fast as she can, but she knows before she reaches him it’s too late and she skids to a halt by his side and drops to her knees in the pouring rain. She doesn’t notice the yellow toy sprawled next to his lifeless hand and half hidden in the mud, and she doesn’t care that her knee presses the bedraggled bear deeper into the sludge until it disappears from view altogether.
She opens her eyes and she is lying on a grubby blanket in a wooded area, and her face is wet with tears. She lies motionless for a while, listening to the crackle of the bonfire and she wipes away the tears with her hand and sits up slowly. Her shoulder hurts from the awkward position she’s been lying in, and her back aches. She struggles to stand up, makes a half-hearted attempt to smooth her hair down and walks over to the fireside where she sits down heavily next to the shimmering heat. It’s so cold, and her teeth are starting to chatter. She hears movement behind her and the blanket she’d been lying on miraculously appears at her side and she takes it without comment and wraps it around her shoulders.
“Same dream?” Angel asks and she nods.
“A field,” she says, “and lightning.”
“I’m sorry,” he says.
She says nothing. Every night the dream is different, yet it always ends the same. Richard dies, and her heart breaks. It’s been six months since evil took him from her, and seven since the powers changed the world. It feels like an eternity.
Angel is gathering their supplies and packing them away. They’ll need to get moving soon, and her heart sinks. She’s so tired, and they have such a long way to go.
He puts the bags down in a pile, and sits on the other side of the fire to wait for her.
She sighs, and stands up. It’s getting harder to do even the simplest tasks these days. He’s watching her in silence, and suddenly she needs to say something, anything, to break the damned silence.
“I don’t bite,” she says, and her voice has a bitter edge to it.
“You should eat,” he says, and she doesn’t want to have that conversation again so she turns away, starts to fold up the blanket and shoves it inside one of their bags. Her jacket is retrieved from the pile and she puts it on while Angel extinguishes the fire. She’s trying to get one of the backpacks on but it’s difficult, and he helps her slide it up and over her shoulders.
“Are you sure you’ll be all right?”
“Give it a rest will you?” she snaps. “I’m pregnant, not incapable.”
He wisely keeps silent but he is worried about her. The life they lead would be difficult for anyone, but her baby is overdue and it’s difficult for her just to walk, never mind anything that involves any bending or climbing.
They need to make the most of the night hours and travel as far as they can. They are on the alert all of the time, for danger, for things they can salvage, and, when dawn approaches, for suitable places to shelter. That night they are lucky and find a small cave hidden in the rocks high over the valley. At least they will have a roof over their heads tonight.
They’re huddled together for warmth close to the fire, and his arms surround her. But she can’t get comfortable and she squirms onto her back. Her baby squirms with her and she’s looking down at her huge stomach and places her hand across it. “You know you want to,” she says.
Angel lays a hand carefully next to hers and the baby immediately wriggles and kicks at his hand. It happens every night, and Buffy chuckles tiredly. “I think we have a miniature slayer here.” Her tone sobers, and she says, “I wish it was over, Angel. I feel tired and fat all the time, and I can’t remember the last time I saw my feet.”
“They’re still there,” he reassures her, and gains a glare. He knows she’s worried about the birth and whether she can cope with a new baby in these circumstances.
“Is there no way you can… hurry things up?”
Buffy shrugs. “We’ve walked miles, and I thought that might do it.” She moves her legs so that she can lean against him. It feels good. “There is a belief,” she says hesitantly, “that orgasm is supposed to help.”
“Are you going to try it?”
“I don’t have anything to lose, so I might as well. It’s just a bit awkward to… reach everything…”
“Do you need a hand?” he asks hopefully.
Buffy blinks. “Do you mind?” She waves a hand over her stomach. “I know you… probably don’t fancy me looking like this, but I’d appreciate your help.”
He can’t believe he heard that right. On either front. “I always fancy you,” he said incredulously. “And I always will. There is something very feminine about being full of child, and there is nothing I’d like more than to make love to you.” He pauses. “Right now, if you’ll let me.”
A little taken aback, she looks down at her body doubtfully and mumbles, “I’m not sure we can do that…”
“Yeah we can,” he says. “But that’s not what I meant. If you need an orgasm, I’m your vampire.”
Buffy frowns. “Man,” she corrects, and then adds, “okay.”
That’s not an invitation he’s going to turn down and he knows she hasn’t said he can undress her, but she lets him gently slip her underwear down without comment.
He pulls the blanket up round her waist again to keep her warm and leans down to kiss her. She pulls him close and loses herself in the kiss. His hand slides under the cover and rubs against her covered breast. She shivers, and it pleases him that she grips him tighter. He’d love to play with her breasts to arouse her but her skin is already cool and he’s afraid she will catch a chill. His hand moves down over her swollen stomach and between her legs. She feels swollen there too, and it turns out she is very sensitive. She responds fast, moaning and squirming, and he has her climaxing in minutes. He thinks about leaving it there, but he figures that if he is going to do the job he’s going to do it well, and he makes her come twice more. Then, as she is panting heavily, he moves downwards, pulls the blanket away and settles between her legs. He pulls the blanket up over them to keep her warm.
From somewhere, Buffy remembers that it is supposed to be dangerous to have oral sex during pregnancy. Something to do with blowing air into the vagina, she thinks. “Angel,” she whispers with a frown.
He looks up questioningly from the woollen cocoon and she belatedly realises, ‘Vampire. No breath’.
“Nothing,” she says.
He gives her an encouraging smile and ducks his head. Christ, she tastes sweet. Her clitoris is puffy from her orgasms, and she rocks her hips as he takes it in his mouth. His fingers are back inside her, feeling and fucking, and his mouth and tongue are working hard on pleasing her. Her hands slide into his hair, her hips shudder and buck and her legs find purchase on the floor and help her push up to meet him eagerly. She comes again and again, over and over, and finally, exhausted, she falls into a deep sleep. Angel stays awake longer, just watching her. She’s carrying another man’s baby but he doesn’t care about that. She’s here with him, now, and that’s enough. He just hopes he can keep them both safe.
When he wakes, he is alone on the blanket. Alert immediately, he sits up and looks around for her. She is crouching against the wall, her eyes are red and her arms are round her stomach protectively.
“I think the baby is coming,” she whispers and she looks frightened.
He’s up and by her side in seconds. He hesitates to hug her but she turns to him instead; she has to turn sideways so that she can reach him properly and he wraps her in his strong arms and promises everything will be all right. He hopes he is telling her the truth.
He’s standing in the cave entrance and looking out over the valley. Buffy has been in labour for hours, and they are staying in the cave until the situation has resolved itself. There is something happening down in the valley, but he’s not sure what. He’s feeling distracted by the restless movements of the woman behind him and he can’t keep his mind on what’s happening outside the cave. Back in his day, many women died during childbirth, and he knows Buffy is strong but accidents can happen. Darla’s death in the alley hadn’t helped that fear, either.
Buffy is pacing, moaning occasionally and stopping every so often to rub her back, and she is upset and agitated. He’s doing his best to keep her calm but she’s never had a baby before and she knows that if something goes wrong there is nobody to help them, and she is understandably scared.
She drops to her knees and holds her stomach. She’s trying not to scream but it hurts and there is nothing to mute the pain. The pain seems to be coming in waves, and she shrieks. He goes to her side and rubs the base of her spine. It seems to help, and there is nothing else he can do. He feels helpless.
Her pains are getting closer together, lasting longer and hurting her more. He has no watch to tell the time, but he counts the seconds and guesses they’re coming about every three minutes apart. Even he knows that that means something is happening.
She’s frightened and distressed and he almost misses the sound from outside. He hurries back to the cave entrance and shades his eyes from the daylight to look down over the valley. An army of Mrkesh are filling the valley, and he frowns when Buffy shrieks.
“Quiet!” he snaps, and she glares at him.
“You try shoving something that size out and see how fucking quiet you are!” she sobs, and he instantly feels bad and he apologises. He tells her what he’s seen in the valley and he watches her face drain of what little colour she had. He hopes she isn’t going to faint.
He feels awful to add to her stress but she nods, biting her lip to stay quiet but her subdued cries still sound alarmingly loud in the cave. He watches the Mrkesh slowly cross the valley and thinks that if she can hang on just a little longer it will be all right.
Then he smells blood. He looks back at her, and she’s on all fours and her scream is louder. Fuck, too loud. He glances back at the passing army and he breathes a sigh of relief that they don’t seem to have heard.
“Angel,” she sobs, and he hurries to her side. “I can’t. It hurts.”
“I know,” he soothes. He kisses her damp forehead, strokes her hair, her back, anything he can reach. And then she tenses and he knows the scream is coming and he does the only thing he can think of, and clamps his hand down hard over her mouth.
The muffled scream lasts for a long time. Her eyes are wild and she’s bearing down and straining, and then the scream dies away and he releases her. She’s panting hard and trying to focus on her breathing to help her. She’ll be all right for a couple of minutes and he hurries back to the entrance. Most of the Mrkesh have passed, and he tells her she only needs to hang on for a few more minutes. She’s exhausted but she nods and then tenses, and he’s back by her side, hand over her mouth and he feels her breath hot against his hand as she shrieks and pushes down hard. She’s shaking, and somehow she twists her head and she’s biting down hard on his hand and then it’s his turn not to cry out, and he thinks that he hadn’t expected childbirth to be painful for him.
The baby is coming, he can smell it, and he goes to crouch behind her.
“Pervert,” she whispers and he can’t help but smile at her poor attempt at humour.
She clenches her teeth and grunts then, and he waits. He knows that if he misses this catch, his life won’t be worth living.
They’re leaving the cave behind them. Angel is leading the way and Buffy follows carefully, her newborn daughter carried in a makeshift sling across her chest. Angel has most of the bags now, knowing she is beyond tired but they can’t stay here any longer or they will be found.
She doesn’t know what the future holds. Sooner or later they will find somewhere safe to stay and she supposes Angel will leave her with her own kind and disappear again. In the meantime she has both Angel and her as-yet-unnamed child, and for a short while the broken world holds a little piece of love.