Soldiers and Dolls
Characters: Angel, Cordelia, Fred, Gunn, Wesley
Summary: Angel’s son gets a name.
“can’t stop what’s coming
can’t stop what is on its way.” –Tori Amos, Bells for Her
The bitch is dead.
Can’t say that I’m sorry about that. If we’d staked her ass a year ago, we wouldn’t be in this mess with magical babies and blown-up bars and a shitload of consequences we can’t even guess yet.
Wesley’s sitting there and I know my boy Wes ain’t thinking about how precious new life is. I know him. I can see the wheels turning in his head: is it dangerous? What will Holtz do next? He blew Caritas up; what next? How do we stop him? What do we do if the baby is evil?
He’s probably also thinking about how good Fred looks wet, but that ain’t none of my business.
“What are you gonna call him?” Fred asks Angel.
“I don’t know,” Angel replies.
Cordy’s not happy either, and it’s killing her because she wants to think that it’s just a baby. She wants to love Angel’s souled human baby, but she can’t. I can tell from the way she’s sitting, hugging herself and not looking at any of us at all. She’s thinking that we may have to kill it and she can’t love something she might have to kill.
Course, we’re all thinking it. Even Fred and Angel, who looks enthralled because it’s his son, the son that survived his momma staking herself through the heart. It’s his miracle baby. We have no idea what’s being cradled in Angel’s arms and it’s freaking me out. I look over at Wes and he immediately looks away.
I know how he feels. Plotting murder already? It should at least have a name before we feel this way, yo, but that’s how it is.
The hotel is squeaky fucking clean when we get there, and the scrolls are gone. For a second we panic, thinking that Mr. Badass Motherfucker Holtz has changed his mind and we’re all dead, but that’s crazy. He wouldn’t have had time to beat us here.
“Wolfram and Hart,” Cordelia says, twisting her mouth so that it looks like she ate something nasty.
“They took my notes along with the scrolls,” Wes says in this pinched, pissed-off voice. “That’s absolutely wonderful.”
And because our night hasn’t sucked enough, the baby has to start screaming at the top of its lungs. I suddenly feel kind of bad for it. Four of us probably can’t even keep a houseplant alive and his daddy can’t even decide on a fucking name for him yet. He hasn’t got a chance even if he is evil.
“I think he’s hungry,” Fred says apologetically. “Do we have any milk?”
“Does nonfat dairy creamer count?” Angel asks. We ignore him because that’s what we do best when Angel’s being a dumbass fool.
“He needs baby formula anyway,” Cordy says. “And diapers. And clothes. And bottles and blankets and a bodyguard to protect him from Holtz–”
“I’ll go,” Wes says, cutting in on her list of what the baby needs. We all need a bodyguard to protect us from Holtz is what I’m thinking.
“And I’ll go upstairs and find some blankets,” Fred says, sounding way too happy that we have to take care of a baby and still act like demon slayers. The baby keeps howling. At least it knows it’s doomed. “Shh, honey-lovin, shh-shh. Auntie Fred’s gonna get you a nice binkie and Uncle Wes is gonna get you some food–don’t cry now, baby, shh shh shhh–”
I figure it out. This is hell and I forgot the way out. Wes practically runs out of the hotel, cuz he knows shit from shinola, and Fred scampers upstairs to find Baby some blankets. This leaves me, Cordy, and Angel with the nameless baby and I don’t think any of us know what to do. I sure as hell don’t.
Cordy sits down and sniffles.
“If you ever call me Aunt Cordy, you die,” she says. Neither Angel or I know who she’s talking to. Angel goes back to holding it close and I’m standing around like a total dumbass cuz I don’t know what to do. I want to know what its name is. If we’re going to keep it–and I can tell from Angel’s face that the baby could be Satan himself and he’d do it all over again–it needs a name.
“Hey Angel,” I say, pretending to check out the weapons.
“What’s his name?”
Angel’s real quiet. He still doesn’t know.
“The baby’s gonna need a name,” Cordy says.
“I know, Cordy,” Angel says. “But a name’s important. I’m not just going to give it a name.”
“Please. The love of your life is named Buffy,” Cordy points out. “He’ll survive even if you give him a crappy name.”
He stares at it real close, like it’ll tell him its name if he looks at it enough. Meanwhile, Fred comes back with blankets and looks totally weirded out about how quiet we are.
“Maybe Darin, then,” Angel says to nobody. “Darin Francis.”
It’s not a bad name, really, and Darin stops howling long enough to sorta approve. Cordy’s kinda choked up and I don’t know why. Fred starts wrapping the baby in towels, but it doesn’t stop crying. Darin’s obviously pretty hungry.
“He looks like you,” Fred tells Angel, petting its head.
“Let’s hope with better hair,” Cordy sasses, but it’s a sad-ass sass and you can tell she’s not feeling it at all. Actually, she’s still pretty soaked and I realize that I am, too. I’m cold, wet, and I feel sick because I still half-wish that the baby was already dead so that we don’t have to kill it later.
Angel’s got this big stupid smile on his face now and I don’t think he heard either of them. Names and bounty hunters and baby formula can go fuck themselves far as Angel’s concerned–he’s got himself a son. It’s all his–and he even gets the special bonus prize of Darla being noble enough to die for his son and get the fuck up on out of their lives forever.
I suddenly really hate him and it.
“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?” Wesley mutters behind me, looking at the touching father-son moment with this look on his face. I know the look. It’s that same slightly nauseated but completely ruthless look he had when he told us he’d sacrifice people on Pylea to get Cordelia back. I realize that Wesley will be right there with me if we have to kill it– and Angel, too, if we have to. Wes is a scary motherfucker when he has to be.
He walks forward after a minute, looking like he’s genuinely concerned and worried about the baby’s welfare.
“I have the formula,” he says. “Bloody expensive, too–”
Fred takes it from him and goes off to fix Darin food. Wesley moves back to where I’m standing, trying not to speak, his eyes still fixed on the baby. We’re thinking the same thought. There’s nothing we can do because Angel’s his father.
The baby keeps crying.
There’s nothing we can do.