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by Gypsy Gray

Xander and the blonde vampire had been in L.A. for two weeks now. They settled in easily and quickly. Xander had gotten over Angel's paternal attitude toward Spike, and Spike had accepted the fact that Xander and Cordy were friends. Real honest, give a damn about each other friends. Doyle had been immediately liked by both. The half-demon was not only a friend, but he was also Angel's mate. The devotion the two of them shared was familiar to Spike and Xander, they shared it as well. 

They had become a family. The Brit. and the boy had already helped solve two separate cases. Xander was talking about going to community college thanks to Doyle, and Spike and Angel were repairing the burnt bridges between them. There were only two clouds hanging over their new life together in L.A. Spike's implant, and the fact that no word had come from Sunnydale. 

Angel watched as Xander got up and put his plate in the sink. He brought back a now familiar bottle and refilled Spike's mug. The mortal had picked this one out for his lover a couple of days ago. It was black with red letters that read "I don't do mornings!," Spike had laughed and rewarded Xander with a kiss that ended in a raspberry being blown on the side of the boys neck. It had taken Angel a moment to realize why the blonde's behavior toward Xander didn't surprise him. 

It was Wil. It was the young man he had meet so many years ago. The boy who had confessed to someone he thought of as a friend that the 30 men on the spikes had already been dead. It had been a clever trick to give an advantage to a group of outmanned fighters. But the trick had earned him a reputation for viciousness and cruelty that he didn't deserve. It had been Angelus' goal, once Spike was turned, to make his chosen heir live up to that reputation. 

And all it had taken to undo Angelus' worst intentions was a few weeks of Xander. The boy had brought out all the hidden parts of Spike. The kindness and charm that the blonde had learned to carefully hide from Angelus. It had taken along time and alot of soul searching for Angel to accept the truth about himself. Angelus and Angel were the same person. The demon provided the teeth and the bloodthirst, but the evil murdering part had been all him. That was the reason Darla had chosen him. It was the reason most vampire's were made, an older vampire saw the potential for darkness in a mortal's soul and decided to develop it. All the gypsy curse had done was give him the conscious he had lacked probably since his birth. 

Wil, on the other hand, had not been an evil or cruel person. It had taken two decades under Angelus' hand to turn him into Spike. And even then the Brit. had managed to charm him. The young man had gone from being just another vampire Angelus had sired, to being his son. What few people understood was that there was a real difference. A vampire sired underlings, toys to play with when ever they chose. But when a vampire made a child, they created an heir for themselves. A bond of affection and caring was formed. But it was a familial bond. No vampire would ever use their child for any of the things they did to those they sired. Darla had sired Angelus, but Angelus had fathered Spike. 

Nearly two centuries later, Angel was discovering that fatherhood suited him. He couldn't remember being happier. It was a good thing that the happiness clause in the curse had been total crap. The truth was simple, if Angel ever again performed an act that he would of before the curse, the curse was broken. The sad part was that he hadn't even realized what he had done until it was all over. He had honestly believed he loved Buffy. Of all the things he had done in the past, lying had been one of his favorites, and self-deception was possibly the worst kind of lie there was. 

But now it was time to get down to business. It wouldn't be much longer before the Slayer figured out where Xander was. His son was incapable of defending himself or his mate right now. Something had to be done to correct that problem. Then he and Wil would have to have that talk. When Doyle had first told him about the vision two months ago he had been sure that it was impossible. But now...