Beautiful

“How are you feeling, my love?” 

Angelus moved to Buffy’s side of the bed, lifting her out of the plush comfort and cuddling her against his chest. She looked wonderful, glowing, beautiful…his. His lips trailed down her neck, caressing the raised scar there, smiling at the catch in her breath. She burrowed deeper into his arms, sighing in contentment. 

“Horrible,” she answered and refused to move when he wanted to turn and question her. “I can barely move, I can’t ride, I can’t fight, I can barely even get out of bed!” She turned her head, looking into his slightly amused eyes and pouted. “Don’t make fun,” she warned. 

Wisely, Angelus’ eyes took on a concerned look, his hands caressing the bulge of her belly as he leaned down to kiss her. “Is there anything you wish of me?” 

“Hmm,” Buffy hummed as his hands continued their caressing along her body, up to her sensitive breasts. “Keep doing that.” 

Their babe was due sometime within the next two weeks and Buffy couldn’t be happier. With Ariana she had had too much going on to truly hate the symptoms of her pregnancy. The nausea, the cravings for Angelus’ blood, the aches and pains. It all seemed so insignificant when her kingdom, her life and her child’s life were in danger. Plus, she had to worry about her illness from Angelus’ absence. Now, with Angelus hovering over her constantly, her duties to the Lands and the Continuum severely limited, every ache, every craving seemed multiplied. 

Or maybe she was just spoiled. 

“You’re the only one who can help,” Buffy whispered as her husband did his best to ease her discomfort. 

He wasn’t exactly sure that making love to her wouldn’t be bad, but she, the High Priestess, Willow, Tara, and various Elfin Healers all assured the Ancient that it was perfectly normal and healthy during the pregnancy. Besides, it was a long year to be separated from his wife and their intimacy now that they were reunited again. Still, for her and the sake of their child, he’d have done it. Angelus was just as happy he hadn’t needn’t to. 

“We have to meet Ariana and Andre for breakfast this morn,” he reminded her but didn’t stop his worship of her body. Lips trailed over neck and shoulder, hands caressed straining nipples. 

“Okay,” she responded but didn’t stop her responses from Angelus’ ministrations. 

When he laid her on their bed, spreading her hair out around her, Buffy simply sighed his name and allowed him to do whatever he pleased with her. Teeth scraping along breasts, tongue bathing each nipple in turn. Her legs spread for Angelus, knowing that without him within her completion wasn’t complete, that any orgasm he brought her to was only half of what they could be when they were physically joined. 

“Open your eyes, love,” he ordered in that soft, seductive, adoring voice. 

She did so slowly, as if doing so was a labor she’d rather not, so content was she to simply enjoy her husband and what he did to her. 

“Do you know what you do to me?” He asked, positioning himself at her entrance, careful of her belly. “Do you know what seeing you so lost in your passion does to me? How I lose control each and every time, how the mere thought of you succumbing to me makes me hard, makes me want to yield to you as well, knowing that it’s always good, always so good together.” 

Buffy’s eyes glazed purple, her hands reaching for his, her legs wrapping around his waist as her hips moved forward. Entering her quickly, fully, Angelus hissed her name, stilling almost immediately. He loved this, loved savoring her tightness around him, loved how she clenched and rippled and held him, only him, within her body. 

Moving slowly, Angelus rolled so Buffy rose above him, her breasts heavy with need, with the impending birth of their babe, her belly large with his childe, sensual, erotic, his. Moving over him, his beautiful elf caught his hands, twining their fingers together and bringing them to her breasts. Moving their hands together, she pinched her nipples, and then gasped when his larger, cooler hands did so, nails scraping the engorged peaks. Tossing her head back, Buffy moved faster, taking him deeper within her body. 

“Bite me,” she whispered, eyes closed, hair trailing down her back and over his thighs. 

In the ten years since their reunion, their addiction of one another hadn’t abated. Their addiction to each other, body, mind, the other’s very being. Their blood. It was something each worried about, not for themselves, but for the other. It was something neither could escape, withhold, stop. 

Rearing up, supporting his wife with his powerful thighs, Angelus kissed her fiercely, hands gripping her hips as she continued to slam above him. His face shifted but Buffy didn’t notice, not caring, so used to his vampiric nature, so accepting. It was who he was and she loved that, so it was natural to the both of them. His tongue tasted the side of her neck, purring at the flavor of lust, love, and need that spiced the skin there. Of her impending child birth and, most distinctly, her imminent orgasm. 

Angelus feared taking too much blood; Buffy needed his blood for her and the babe both, but he could – he believed – last the year without tasting her if it meant that in doing so he harmed her. His darling wife would hear nothing of it and Angelus was just as happy with that. He needed her blood just as she did his. Taking the first taste of her, the strong magickal blood flooding him with scents and sounds and feeling, Angelus emptied himself within Buffy, a constant growl rumbling from his chest as she lost herself in the bliss of her own orgasm. 

Long, long moments later, curled around his wife, Angelus repeated his original statement. His hands still caressed her belly, their legs tangled together, hands brushing every so often. “We’re still meeting Ariana and Andre for breakfast.” 

“I know,” Buffy sighed and nodded. 

She was hungry and didn’t want to keep her daughter waiting. But it’d been so long since she and Angelus could lounge in bed together that she wanted to savor every moment of it. This past year without Continuum duties was just what she needed after so long traveling between Lands, between the various Vampire Kingdoms, firming their alliances, their commitments to each other. 

Standing from their bed, Angelus carefully lifted Buffy into his arms, quelling her protests with a light kiss. He didn’t know why she bothered to protest, he’d been doing this since she announced her pregnancy. Still, Buffy insisted that she wasn’t an invalid and had already been through one pregnancy. Angelus didn’t care and ignored her protests. 

“Bathe, love,” he said as he set her in the shower. “I’ll be back shortly.” 

“You’re leaving me?” Buffy grabbed his hand and tugged him into the shower. “Don’t you want to wash my back?” 

Smiling wickedly at her Angelus decided that his orders to Gunn could wait. After all, the First was the best at what he did and could no doubt figure it all out himself. Still, Angelus worried about the Portal to the Mortal Realms. There were reports of suspicious activities around there this past week. His First assured him it was nothing more than curious children from the Hunter Land, but Angelus didn’t want to take the chance. 

Buffy was going to have his child soon, and nothing could go wrong. Not even curious Hunter Land children. 

“Just your back?” He asked and turned the water on. 

“Well,” Buffy laughed, “I suppose the rest of me needs washing, too.”
~~~~~~~~~~
Ariana stretched in bed, sighing in satiation and wondering how it was her bones hadn’t completely melted into a big pile of goo. It’d been years since she and Andre became lovers and still the Princess was amazed at the level of need she felt for her husband. Husband, what a wonderful sound. 

Said husband was currently lying on his back, one hand on Ariana’s stomach but too spent to move any more than that. “We have to meet your parents for breakfast,” he said but his voice was husky with love and momentarily spent passion. 

Summoning the energy to roll over, he pulled his wife closer and promptly forgot about moving again. Who would want to when he had the most beautiful passionate woman in his arms and his bed? He no longer wondered about those times from long ago when he heard of how Angelus acted around his wife; the way he catered to her needs, the way he looked at her, the way he spoke to her. Andre never thought to be the same but couldn’t thank the Priestess enough for finding Ariana. 

“Yes,” his wife said and Andre forced his attention back to her words. What were they talking about? Oh, right. Breakfast. “I’m sure they won’t mind if we’re late.” 

“Still, we should get ready; I hate to keep your mother waiting. She gets this look on her face and I’m afraid that she’s going to curse me or something.”

Ariana laughed. “It’s the babe that makes her moods so unpredictable. You know she’d never do anything to harm you, Andre.” 

“I know, but that isn’t the point. The point is that she’s pregnant and I don’t want to be the cause of her having the child early because she got mad at me one time too many.” 

Ariana snorted and rolled from the bed, her body still too liquefied to stand on her own. Andre caught her and carried her to the shower, kissing her all the way. He loved how she fit into his arms, despite her height. She was the perfect size for him and weighed less than she thought. 

“If anyone,” Ariana said when she caught her breath and the shower water beat down upon them, “Is going to drive momma to distraction, I think its daddy.” 

In the ten years she’d had to know her father, Ariana realized that Buffy’s description of her and Angelus’ relationship was dead on. They fought, true, and often. But it never disrupted the basic fabric of their relationship. It wasn’t anything like her marriage with Andre, the ease between then, the knowledge that they thought alike on so many of the same things, and Ariana could accept that. But she still had that worry that something would happen to make her parents split apart again.

Honestly, she needn’t have worried. Their marriage was stronger than ever and even their frequent petty arguments – Ariana had heard her father on more than one occasion complain and threaten Buffy about her choice of clothing – mattered little in the overall foundation of what they built together. 

Kissing her own husband, Ariana smiled against his lips as her hands slipped over his body, the water running down between them. 

“I love you,” she said with a smile, her eyes glowing brighter when he returned the words and the kiss. 

“Always,” he promised.
~~~~~~~~~~
Gunn stood outside the Informal Dining Room and watched breakfast between the Royal Family. He and Oz had already eaten, discussing the day’s assignments, Angelus’ concern about the Portal, and the readiness of their troops. Both were fully prepared to spend the next couple of weeks – or however long before their Ancient had her childe – beside her. 

Angelus had spoken to Gunn earlier and the First assured the Master that everything was already covered, that he and Oz were completely ready for the arrival of the child. Gunn did not, however, go into detail about their contingency plans, their contingency, contingency plans, nor that they even had so damn many to begin with. But hey, it was their jobs and it always paid to be prepared for any eventuality. 

Willow had smiled, amused, during dinner several weeks ago with Gunn, Gunn’s latest lover, Ruth from the Hunter Lands, William, and Drusilla as the three vampires and Oz told the human and Hunter of their readiness. She accused them of being nervous fathers, even more so than Angelus. And Ruth had simply laughed at the stoic Firsts and their attention to detail. They hadn’t disagreed. 

Still, it was nice, Gunn reflected now as he watched the family dine, to have Angelus here. Where he belonged and with whom he belonged. Cora, the High Priestess, was arriving this day and Rupert, Tara, and Kynan were due in before nightfall. 

William’s bet was that Buffy had the child before they made it. Noting the horror on Oz and Gunn’s faces, the vampire shouted with laughter, quickly accepting their counter bets; the Firsts’ theory, shaky as it was, was that if they bet something else, and quickly, then William’s bet would nullify. 

Inside the dining room, Buffy’s goblet clattered to the floor the same time Angelus rose from his chair to crouch at his wife’s side. 

Gunn sighed, already moving forward with Oz. Buffy clutched her stomach as Angelus stood, gathering her in his arms and striding towards the advancing Firsts. His face was set in a worried scowl, Buffy’s head tucked into the crock of his neck. Arriving at their side, Oz and Gunn pivoted on their heel and escorted their charges towards their rooms, already planning their next move. 

“Looks like William won,” Gunn groused as he called over a guard, ordering him to find the High Priestess and hasten her arrival, then send a messenger to ride to King Rupert, Prince Kynan, and Princess Tara to rush their arrival. 

“He usually does,” Oz agreed as they took their place outside Angelus’ and Buffy’s door. 

William took that opportunity to walk down the hall. “I was looking for Angelus,” he said, “What’s he doing in here? I thought he was having breakfast with the family.” 

Scowling, Gunn looked to Oz. “It’s your turn,” he told the Elf. 

Looking at the vampire, Oz said in a monotone voice, “Her majesty is having her babe now.” 

Hooting in laughter William smirked and clasped both men on the back. “Pay up boys.” The Firsts stared at him and William laughed again. “After the grand event, of course.”

“She hasn’t had the child yet,” Oz said, “And The Priestess is on her way.” 

Scowling, William shook his head. “Doesn’t matter.” 

The argument continued outside, though really, each man refused to leave the door. Just in case they were needed. 

Inside, Buffy clasped Angelus to her. “I’m glad you’re here, baby,” she said in a voice laced with pain. “If I ever have to go through this alone again,” she warned, “You won’t live to see the next sunrise.”

Angelus couldn’t help it and smiled down at his wife. “I love you, my Eternal.” 

Smiling through the next wave of pain that swept through her, she kissed his. “I love you as well.”
~~~~~~~~~~
Placing his large hands on his wife’s stomach, Angelus sent all his love, support, and protectiveness through his bond with Buffy and towards their child. It’d taken a while, but eventually Buffy had told him of how Ariana was born. It was simply one more debt he owed his sire and one he’d never be able to repay despite his firm belief that it was Darla’s duty to see to her mistress. 

Her body relaxing, her pains easing, Buffy grasped one of Angelus’ hands and leaned against his chest. The hours slipped by, both Buffy and Angelus lost in their bond and their bond with the child when suddenly Buffy screamed once more. Tara and Cora moved to the end of the bed, as Buffy shouted Angelus’ name. Within minutes, their queen pushed, following the directions of the women before her. Angelus never moved from his position, whispering soothing words to his wife, calming her when the pains began again and kissing her when they receded. 

Another push, then another, and one more. Then suddenly the baby was in this world, quickly cleaned and already wailing for her mother. Buffy collapsed into Angelus’ arms and he held her close to him as he struggled to recover from such a long and intense trance. Tara held the child a moment more, cooing to her, before handing her to Buffy. 

Katrina Aurora was born with a wail that echoed throughout the room, silenced by the spell King Rupert cast to protect his daughter’s privacy. 

Immediately Buffy brought her daughter to her breast, watching in fascination as the girl latched onto her nipple, sucking voraciously. Just as with Ariana, the instant daughter touched mother, all the protection magicks in the room snapped into a brilliant ball of gold and surrounded the child before entering her. Angelus watched in amazement as this happened, and pulled Buffy closer as if he could protect her from these magicks. 

Angelus looked down at his daughter in awe, tracing a finger over her fine features, staring in shock that something so tiny could be born from him and his beloved wife. He watched as she suckled at her mother’s breast before Buffy’s nipple slipped from her mouth and the child dozed off held in the safety of her parent’s arms. 

Holding Buffy in his own arms as she held their second daughter, Angelus finally felt that he was forgiven. By Buffy, by Ariana, by the gods and by the Priestesses. 

Ariana knelt beside the bed and clasped her father’s hand, her eyes glued to her sleeping sister. 

“She’s beautiful,” Ariana whispered and turned large liquid eyes to Angelus. 

“Yes,” Angelus replied with a kiss to Ariana’s forehead, “She is.” 

Buffy smiled, knowing that he meant all three of his girls. Dropping her head against his shoulder, Katrina still held securely in her arms, Buffy fell to sleep, the exhaustion tugging at her too strong to ignore. 

Kissing the top of her head, Angelus handed Katrina to her sister and carefully lifted Buffy while the bed sheets were changed. Laying his still sleeping wife back in their bed, he kissed her slightly parted lips, hands brushing her hair off her face. 

“I love you,” he whispered aloud, “Thank you for such a beautiful daughter.”
~~~~~~~~~~
Gunn, Oz, and William, having been joined by Nicholaus, Kalman, and Drusilla, were still in the hall ever vigilant, but still arguing over the logistics of Katrina’s birth and their bet. Ariana, Andre, Angelus, Rupert, Tara, and Cora were inside with Buffy as she labored to bring her next child into the world. Willow watched over her own children, the newest still too young for her to want to leave him alone despite wanting to be with the rest of the group. 

Angelus suddenly strode out of the room and all conversation halted. He looked at his guards and childer, the only friends he could have, even if they’d never be as close as they seemed to be with each other. That was the curse of ruling, even his most trusted guards weren’t considered friends, his closest childer kept at arms length by necessity; but he trusted them with his life. 

More importantly, he trusted them with Buffy’s life. 

“Make the announcement,” he commanded, “Katrina Aurora of Aurelius, Daughter of Angelus, Ancient and Master of Aurelius and Buffy, Ancient and Master of Aurelius, Sister to Ariana, heir of Aurelius and Andre, heir of Rezov has been born.” 

They grinned at him as if Katrina was their own; the smiles widened at the sappy look that came into their Ancient’s eyes. Wisely, none called Angelus on it and Drusilla went to find Theophilus to announce the official proclamation. Spinning on his heel, he reentered the room, leaving the remaining five to wonder what the newest Aurelius looked like and what her place in their world would be like. If she was anything like her sister, there wasn’t going to be a dull moment in her life. 

They continue their argument on whether William really did win the bet until Drusilla returned from speaking with Theophilus, Kaspian beside her. He was Katrina’s First and needed to make his vows to the young Princess before her presentation to the rest of the Kingdom. Usually that waited for several days, but Kaspian didn’t want to waste any time in his duties. It was one of the many reasons Oz, Gunn, Nicholaus, and Kalman chose him. 

Bowing to Gunn and Oz, he knocked once on the door and waited while Rupert opened it. Bowing to the King, Kaspian entered the room and strode to the bed. Kneeling he said, “My Ancients, I bid you congratulations on the birth of your child and swear my allegiance to her, and through her, to you for all the days of my existence.” 

Rising, he placed a hand on Katrina’s head and vowed, “Mistress, I swear to you that wherever you go, so shall I follow until I am but dust in the wind. I pledge my life, my sword, my mind, and my loyalty to you.” 

Katrina opened her eyes then and looked into the faded blue of her First as if accepting him then and there. Bowing to the child, Kaspian bent and took her hand in his, kissing the back to seal the pledge. As soon as he did so, he turned and walked out of the room to take his place with the other Firsts and Katrina fell back to sleep. 

It was long minutes later that the room finally emptied in preparation for the Birthing Celebrations that would commence for the next week. When they were alone, Ariana and Andre having lingered longer than the others to coo over the child, Angelus lay down next Buffy. 

Carefully pulling her against him, he propped his head on his chin and watcher mother and daughter, his earlier awe etched clearly on his handsome features. 

“She’s so beautiful,” he whispered as if afraid to wake the girl. “Just like her mother.”

Buffy tiredly turned her head to look at her husband, one hand reaching behind her to bring his mouth to hers. “We make beautiful children together,” she agreed. 

“Yeah,” he grinned and tugged her back again, Katrina in Buffy’s arms and Buffy in Angelus’. “I love you Buffy.” 

“And I love you, my Angelus.” 

And Katrina Aurora smiled in her sleep at the words.

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