The Charmed Angel


Angel woke from another dream of Buffy. He’d been dreaming about her a lot the past week, and he wasn’t sure why. He missed her always, and would have dreams of her once every couple of weeks on a regular basis, but this past week he’d had four of them. He looked at his clock, which said it was 8am. Early for him to get up, but he didn’t think he would be sleeping any more that day. He sighed and got up.
He got in the shower and stood under the hot water for a while. When he was done he went upstairs to the kitchen. He got some blood out of the refrigerator and drank it cold so he wouldn’t wake anyone else up with the noise of the microwave. Ten minutes later Spike showed up in the kitchen. Angel said, “Did I wake you?”
“Noisy as a bloody elephant you are.”
Spike got out a mug and got himself some blood and microwaved it. He got out the cereal while it was cooking and got out a handful to crush into the blood. Angel muttered, “How can you drink it like that?”
Spike having heard this many times ignored him. Angel walked over to his office and started going through some papers. A few minutes later Connor went into the kitchen and said grumpily, “If we’re gonna get up this early every other day could we at least go to bed sooner?”
Connor got out the cereal and said, “Shoulda stayed in the dorms.”
Angel didn’t look up from his work as he said, “We all moved to San Francisco so that you could live with us and help us with cases while you went to college.”
“I know, but tell me again why we can’t get another hotel, or at least a bigger place.”
“Money. You wanna call your parents and tell them you need more money? They seemed pretty happy when I told them you could live here for free as part of your work-study program. Just go back to bed if you’re tired.”
“Like I can sleep with you guys making all this noise. At least Gunn can’t hear us.”
Then Connor turned towards the hallway as he heard Gunn stir in his bed. Connor could hear him groan and said, “Sounds like he’s almost up too. His shoulder must be hurting again.”
Spike said, “He’s lucky to still be alive.”
They were all silent thinking about Wesley and Illeria who had not survived the big fight with the evil forces that Wolfram and Heart had sent after them two months ago.
Angel, trying to change the subject said, “We need to hire another secretary. Maybe we’ll try the temp service again.”
Spike said, “We’ve gone through eight of them in the past month. I keep telling you that you should call Harmony.”
Connor said loudly, “No way. She betrayed you guys.”
Spike said with irritation, “At least she could answer the phone and take a message without screaming and running out the door.”
Angel said, “Quite down. I’m gonna call the temp service right now, and see if we can get someone in today.”
Connor finished his cereal and said, “I’m gonna get ready for school.”


While Paige was trying to get Wyatt to eat his oatmeal she heard the phone ring. She didn’t answer it, because she figured one of her sisters would. Piper heard the phone ring, but she was busy changing Chris’ diaper and couldn’t get it. Phoebe had just gotten in the shower and couldn’t hear the phone, and Leo was away with one of his charges. After ring number five, Paige left Wyatt in his high chair with his oatmeal and went to the phone. She said to herself, “Do I live here alone or something?”
“Hello?
“Paige Matthews please.”
“Speaking.”
“This is Marie from the temp agency. We have a job for you today if you’re available.”
Paige said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I forgot to call you guys to let you know. I have a permanent job now, so I won’t be able to.”
There was a slight pause and Marie said, “Darn.”
Paige said, “Is something wrong?”
“No, sorry about that, it’s just that we have down here that you sometimes take odd jobs that other people wont take, and I’m not sure who else to try. But thanks anyway, and I’ll make a note in your chart to make you inactive.”
Paige was now the principal of Magic school, but she knew that going to the temp jobs had worked out to always be someone who needed help, and she hadn’t gotten a call since she’d been working at Magic school. She hadn’t really thought about it until now, but that was odd since she had been working there for about a month, and before her job with the school, the temp agency was calling her at least three times a week. Before Marie could hang up Paige said, “Um….hold on just a minute okay.”
“Sure.”
Paige put the phone down and orbed to her office at Magic school. No one was there yet, but she looked at her day planner that was on her desk. She didn’t have any pressing appointments, so she orbed back to the Halliwell kitchen and picked up the phone. She said, “I could do it for today while you keep looking for someone else for tomorrow.”
“Really? I mean, that would be great. I would really appreciate that.”
Paige said, “And instead of inactive, could you put down something like ‘will only take problem jobs’.
Marie sounded skeptical as she said, “That’s highly unusual, but….I guess I can.”
“Great. So what’s the job for today?”
“It’s secretarial work for a private investigation company called Angel Investigations.”
“Sounds good let me get something to write with and you can give me the address.”
When Paige got off the phone, she cleaned up the oatmeal that Wyatt had tossed on the floor, and also cleaned him up. Then she took him upstairs to Piper and explained the situation. Piper said, “You really think these people are going to need your help?”
Paige sounded irritated when she said, “Yeah.”
Piper said, “Okay. Let me know if you run into any kind of problems and need some help.”

An hour later Paige was knocking on the door of a very large house that was in-between two office buildings. It was a new business area in the city, and the house looked to be older. She assumed it was the only original house left on the block, and was most likely renovated into an office. A tall good-looking black man with a bald head answered. She said, “Hi, my name is Paige. The temp agency sent me.”
“Hi Paige, I’m Gunn. Come on in.”
“Thanks.”
She went into the house and thought it was awfully dark inside. She wondered why all the drapes were closed with the lights on when it was bright and sunny out. Gunn called out, “Angel, the temp girl’s here.”
Angel came out of his office and held out a hand to Paige. He said, “Hi, nice to meet you….”
“Paige.”
“Nice to meet you Paige.”
Paige said, “So, what do you need me to do today?”
“Mostly answer the phone.”
“That’s it?”
Angel nodded and said, “Yes, but….some of the calls might seem odd. You just have to….try and keep your calm if something sounds strange, and even if it sounds completely ridiculous or unbelievable, still take a message and don’t tell anyone you don’t believe them.”
Paige now knew she had made the right decision to go there. She nodded and said, “No problem.”
Angel’s eyebrows went up at that. This was usually the starting point of problems and lots of explanations with other secretaries. He said, “Um…Okay then….Great.”
For the next half an hour Paige stuffed flyers in envelopes. Angel Investigations was trying to get the word out that they had moved to a new town and were open for business. Paige thought the line ‘we help the helpless’ was a little corny, but she didn’t say anything. Then she got her first call. She answered, “Angel Investigations, how can we help you?”
“Hi…um…I want to hire someone to find out if my husband is having an affair.”
She said, “Okay, hold on just a minute, and I’ll let you talk to Mr….to Angel.”
She put the woman on hold and turned to see Angel smiling at her from his office. He said, “No Mister. Just Angel.”
“Okay. The woman on the phone wants to find out if her husband is having an affair.”
Angel nodded and picked up the phone to talk to her. As Paige sat there she thought maybe she was wrong, and she wasn’t needed here. Things seemed pretty normal. When Angel was done talking he called out, “Gunn.”
Gunn came upstairs from the basement where he was working out with Spike. He was breathing hard when he said, “Yeah?”
Angel handed him a piece of paper and said, “Got a job for you. Surveillance. Possible cheating husband.”
Gunn took the address and nodded. He said, “I’ll grab a shower and head out.”
Spike came upstairs shirtless and leered at Paige. He said, “Hello sweet.”
Angel rolled his eyes and said, “Put some clothes on Spike.”
Spike shrugged, and walked by Paige, as he said, “No need to get your knickers in a twist just cause I look better without a shirt then you do.”
Angel said, “I’ve got a job for you too. Since you’re out of shirts, it must be your turn for laundry.”
Spike walked off without saying anything. Angel smiled apologetically to Paige and said, “Sorry about that.”
Paige shrugged it off. A few minutes later there was another call. Paige answered with, “Angel Investigations, how can we help you?”
“I…I need help.”
“Are you in danger?”
“No, but my friends….I think they may be dead. They’re not moving.”
“You need to hang up and call 911.”
“NO! I mean….I can’t….someone told me I could call this number, and someone would help me.”
Angel having heard Paige talking about 911 picked up the line in his office and said, “It’s okay Paige, I got it. Hello?”
Paige overheard Angel’s half of the conversation. She was truly shocked when Angel said; “It was probably a Bolarious Demon. Don’t let anyone in before I get there. It’s gonna take me a couple hours to round up the stuff I’ll need to revive them. Just don’t touch them, and keep them in the dark.”
“I’ll be there soon. Don’t panic, they should be just fine as long as we get them the antidote within 24 hours.”
“Remember don’t let anyone in but me, Angel.”
Angel hung up the phone and looked over at Paige who was staring at him. He gave a small laugh and sound unconvinced as he said, “Prank call?”
Paige narrowed her eyes and said, “What are you?”
“Busy. Very busy. Will you please stay and get the phones while I go run an errand?”
Paige knew she had to stay and figure out what was going on, so she nodded. Angel looked grateful and yelled, “Spike!”
From somewhere down the hall a voice yelled back, “Piss off!”
“It’s a case!”
“I heard. I’m busy with the wash.”
“The laundry room is in the other hall!”
“I’m gettin’ to it.”
Angel looked down, and Paige thought that maybe he was counting to ten in his head. Angel looked back up and said, “Excuse me.”
Angel walked to the back, and a few minutes later came out pushing Spike in front of him. Angel smiled at Paige and stopped at the desk to write down a number. He said, “That’s my cell number. If anyone calls and you think it’s urgent, give me a call and tell me about it.”
Paige nodded. Spike gave her a smile and said, “I like a woman who doesn’t go running at the first sign of strange things.”
Angel gave him a push towards the basement door. Paige looked at the front door and said, “I thought you were going out.”
Angel opened his mouth to try and come up with something to say, but Spike said, “We’re taking the sewers pet.”
Angel just gave Spike a look of disbelief. Spike smiled again and said, “Cause we don’t want anyone to follow us.”
Angel gave Spike another shove and they headed down to the basement. Paige waited fifteen minutes, and then called Piper. Paige said, “Look up a Bolarious Demon for me in the Book of Shadows.”

In the sewers Angel said, “I can’t believe you Spike. I think you’re the reason we’ve lost so many secretaries. Have you ever heard of sexual harassment?”
Spike shook his head, “She’s different that one. Couldn’t you tell?”
“Different how?”
“Just different. It didn’t phase her. We didn’t phase her.”
Angel said, “Well, the temp place said she was only available for one day, so don’t get attached.”
“Who said anything about attachment mate? I was just looking for one night.”
Angel felt a headache coming on, and wished he didn’t need a second pair of hands for the job. He said, “Can we concentrate on the case please?”
Spike nodded and they headed to the nearest magic shop to get supplies.

Piper called Paige when she found the demon in the Book of Shadows. She said, “Bolarious Demons are your standard low level demon. They feed off human’s happiness, so they usually are found at parties. It says that after the demon feeds on a human, that human may appear dead, but is actually in a kind of coma. They will die after a day or two without treatment. Why did you want to know?”
Paige said, “Is there a vanquish for it?”
“Yes, and also a potion to get the humans out of the coma.”
“Make some of each for me please.”
“What does this have to do with your job for today?”
“I don’t know, but I’m gonna find out. Call me when it’s done.”
Paige spent the next half an hour looking through files and desks to figure out who these people really were. She did find some unusual case files, and wondered if Angel was a witch too. As she was in Angel’s office looking through his desk she heard someone clear his throat at the office door. She jumped up straight at being startled. She gave the kid who was standing there a slight smile and said, “Hi there, can I help you?”
“Who the hell are you, and what are you doing going through my father’s desk.”
Paige gave him a big fake smile and said, “Your father? Oh….I’m the temp secretary for the day, and I was…..looking for a new pen. Mine ran out of ink.”
Connor walked over to the desk Paige was using and opened the top drawer to reveal three other pens. Paige said, “Oh…I didn’t think to look there.”
Connor glared at her and said, “You’re fired. Get out.”
Paige said, “Fired? Um…are you sure? I mean does your Dad have someone else to answer the phones for the rest of the day?”
“That would be me. Get out before I toss you out.”
Paige gave him a glare and said, “Fine.”
She went and got her purse and went out the door without saying anything else. She walked around the block and looked around to make sure no one was looking as she orbed home.

Piper had just finished the vanquishing potion when Paige arrived. They talked about what had happened. Paige and Piper got the potions together, and Piper said, “Do you know where they were going?”
Paige, “No, but I have this.”
She held up a piece of Angel’s hair. “Found it in his office, and thought we could scry for him.”
Piper nodded and said, “Let’s try.”
They normally used blood to scry, and they weren’t sure if hair would be strong enough. It did work, but it took longer then usual. An hour after they started, they had a location. Piper yelled, “Leo!”
A few seconds later her husband appeared in front of them. Piper said, “I need you to watch the boys for a while. Paige and I have a demon to vanquish.”
Leo said, “No problem. Are they napping?”
“Yeah, but Chris should be waking up any minute. There are bottles in the fridge.”
Leo nodded, and Paige took Piper’s hand. They orbed to the area they knew Angel would be. They ended up in front of a frat house at the local university. They went to the side of the large house, and looked in the windows to see what was going on. They couldn’t see much, so Paige said, “Front door?”
Piper nodded. They went to the front and noticed the door was ajar. Piper pushed it open, and both women went in. They heard some noises towards the back of the house. It sounded like yelling. As they got closer they heard, “Because going after it won’t do us any good if we don’t have a way to kill it.”
“But it would be fun to try. The best demons are the ones that are hard to kill.”
“Spike, if you go try to kill it, you’ll probably just end up hurting it, and then it will have to feed again. Then we’ll have to go through this again.”
“Don’t see why you won’t call the witch.”
At this point Paige and Piper gave each other looks of surprise. “Her name is Willow.”
“Yeah, and I know her better then you, and she wouldn’t take offence. She is a witch. You just don’t want to have to talk to Buffy.”
“Oh, but you’d be just fine opening those old wounds?”
There was silence for a few seconds and then Angel said, “Wes was our magic expert, with Fred and Lorne good substitutes. We need someone on our team who’s good with magic.”
“So call the witch.”
Angel sighed and said, “Okay. You’re right, I know. Let’s go home and I’ll call her.”
At that point Paige and Piper came through the door. They looked around and saw they were in a kitchen. Angel said, “Paige?”
Paige held up her potions and said, “Did I hear someone say they needed a witch?”
Angel and Spike just stared. Spike was the first to snap out of it and said, “Told you she was different.”
Angel was wary and said, “How did you get here?”
Angel waved a hand towards Piper and said, “And who’s that? And come to think of it, who’s answering the phones?”
Piper said, “We can get to the stories later, right now we need to know where the people are who were attacked by the Bolarious demon, so we can give them a potion.”
Angel decided he liked her. Straight down to business was good. He said, “Already taken care of. They’re all sleeping it off upstairs. We got here in plenty of time.”
Piper not trusting said, “I want to check them.”
Spike said, “Pushy witch.”
Piper in no mood, especially after hearing about the things he had said to Paige earlier, waved a hand and froze Spike. She looked back at Angel who stared at Spike for a few seconds. Angel said, “That better be temporary.”
“It is. If you don’t let me check the people you claim to have helped, I’m gonna show you what else I can do.”
Angel said, “Go ahead and check. We’ll wait down here.”
Piper turned to Paige and said, “Keep an eye on him.”
Once Piper was out of the room Angel said, “So what’s your story?”
“My sister’s and I are witches. We protect innocents from demons. When I overheard you talking to that guy about a demon I figured he could use some help. What I haven’t decided yet is if you need help. I can’t decided what you are, or if you should be trusted.”
Angel said, “Trust is a tricky thing. Did you follow us here?”
“No.”
“Some kind of locator spell?”
“No. We scryed for you.”
Angel glared and said, “I don’t know much about magic, but I know you needed something of mine or his” Angel indicated Spike “to find us.”
Paige said, “You’re right.”
“Whatever it is, I want it back.”
Paige shrugged and said, “Just a piece of hair. I promise I’ll toss it when I get home if it makes you feel better.”
Angel said to the ceiling, “Why can’t my secretaries just answer the phones?”
“Hey, I did answer the phones.”
“Yeah, until you left.”
“Oh yeah….”
“Oh yeah what?”
“I met your son. Cute kid.”
Angel cringed and said, “What happened?”
“I guess it’s not really his fault. He caught me looking through your desk when I was trying to find out where you had gone. He fired me.”
“He did?”
Angel thought Paige sounded a little like she was pouting when she said, “I’ve never been fired before, and he threatened to toss me out if I didn’t leave.”
Angel said more to himself then to her, “Interesting. I never know what he’s gonna do. Why didn’t he call me?”
“I think it’s my turn to ask a question. How do you know about demons and witches?”
“Because I am one.”
“A witch?”
“No.”
Angel saw Paige shift her weight to a better fighting position and said, “And what kind of demon are you exactly?”
“The good kind.”
“There are no good kinds.”
At that point Piper walked in and said, “Oh there are too, and you know it.”
Paige said, “Good demons like Cole?”
Piper glared at Paige and said, “We’ve had this argument, and now isn’t the time.”
When Piper looked at Angel he indicated Spike and said, “You mind?”
Piper waved a hand in Spike’s direction and Spike said, “They’re upstairs, but there’s no need to check. They’re fine.”
Angel looked over at Spike and said, “That could be handy.”
Spike gave him a blank look and said, “What?”
Piper looked at Angel and said, “You did a good job with the potion. They all seem to be doing fine, and I don’t know how you got that guy who found them to believe your story, but good job.”
“Thanks. But we still don’t know how to kill the demon. Do you?”
“We can vanquish it.”
Spike interrupted with, “What the hell just happened?”
Everyone ignored him and Angel said, “Will it be permanent?”
“Pretty much.”
“Sounds good. Need help?”
Piper looked at him closely and said, “What kind of demon are you?”
“Vampire.”
Paige, having been almost turned into one of them once, immediately tossed a vial of vanquishing potion at him. The vial broke open on his jacket and dripped down his shirt onto the floor. He said, “Well that’s gonna stain.”
Piper said, “You’re not a vampire. I’ve seen them before.”
Angel said, “I’m not a normal vampire. My soul was put back in.”
Spike still confused, but not wanting to be outdone said, “Me too, except I fought to get mine back. He was cursed.”
Piper just shook her head and Spike changed face to prove it. Paige gave a small yell, and Piper sucked in her breath. Angel said through clenched teeth, “Stop it Spike, or I’ll have her freeze you again.”
Spike looked over at Angel as he realized what had been done to him, and changed back as he said, “Bloody hell.”
Angel said, “Look, I want the demon killed, and so do you. We can work together, or separately, but I think it would be better if we worked together so we don’t get in each other’s way.”
Paige said, “Just stay out of it vampire. Go back to the underworld where you came from, and leave the demon hunting to us.”
“Actually I came from Ireland, and as for demon hunting, well, it’s kind of what I do, and now that I’ve moved here, you’ll just have to put up with me.”
Paige said, “Or kill you.”
Piper yelled, “Paige! Stop it. This isn’t getting us anywhere.”
Piper turned to Angel and said, “We have a way to kill it, can you find it for us?”
Angel nodded. Piper said, “Then lead the way.”
Paige said, “No way! You know what those vampires almost did to me! How can you even think about working with them?”
Piper sighed and said patiently, “Do you have a way to find the demon?”
Paige yelled, “I’ll find a way.”
Paige orbed out before anyone could say anything else. Angel said, “Wow. Impressive power.”
Piper yelled, “Paige! Paige get back here!”
Spike smirked and said, “Don’t think she can hear you love.”
Piper glared at him and flashed her hand open and blew up the toaster that was on the counter beside Spike. Spike shut up. Angel said, “Can you kill it by yourself if I take you?”
Piper nodded and he said, “Then let’s track it.”

An hour later Piper had had enough of the sewers. She grumbled, “There has to be a better way to find it.”
Angel said, “It must be moving between dimensions, because I track it to a spot, and then when I get there, the scent just ends.”
Spike said, “We could let the kid have a go at it.”
Angel nodded and said, “Not a bad idea.”
Angel looked at Piper and said, “My son is a pretty good tracker. Better then me actually, but don’t tell him I said so. I can give him a call and see if he has any better luck.”
Piper looked at her watch and said, “I have to be at work in two hours, and I have to wash this…”
Piper looked around at the sewer and at the dirty water she was standing in as she said, “…smell off. So you have an hour left to find it. If we can’t, then my sisters and I will find it tonight or tomorrow.”
Angel nodded. Over the past hour they had talked a little, and they were feeling more comfortable with each other. Angel got out his cell phone and called home. Connor answered with, “Angel Investigations, we help whoever is desperate enough to call.”
Angel said, “Is that what you’ve been saying for the past few hours since you fired Paige?”
Connor laughed and said, “Yep.”
Angel tried to be patient when he said, “That’s really not good for business Connor.”
Connor laughed and said, “Oh come on Dad, please tell me you know about caller ID.”
Angel had only been around this new Connor for a month, and he was never sure what to expect. Connor had two sets of memories, the ones from his actual past which were ugly and full of pain, and the ones from his made up past which were happy and full of love. Angel knew he tended to bring out the ugly memories for Connor, and when Connor had said he wanted to help Angel in his work, Angel had been hesitant. But the more he knew this Connor, the more he thought that working together was a good thing for both of them. Angel smiled and said, “Knowing about it doesn’t mean I know how to work it.”
“I’ll show you tonight. So what’s up?”
“Is Gunn back?”
“Not yet.”
“Darn. Okay, can you set up the answering machine and come meet us in the sewer under Rafael and 49th? We need help tracking a Bolarious demon.”
“Sure. Be there in a few minutes.”
Angel hung up and said, “He’s on his way.”
Piper sat down on a small pipe that was jutting out from the sewer wall to wait. She said, “So how is it you have a son? I didn’t think vampires could….have children.”
Spike rolled his eyes and said, “Here we go again. Like I want to hear this story again. I’m gonna have a smoke.”
Spike walked off a few paces and lit up a cigarette. Angel sat and told Piper all about Connor. Piper felt an immediate connection with Angel when she heard the story. She wasn’t sure why, but as soon as he was done, she told him about her son Chris who had come back in time as an adult to save his family. When she had given him the basics she said, “It’s strange isn’t it. To see your child, your baby, as an adult so fast. It’s…it’s….”
Angel said, “Sad.”
Piper looked at him and nodded. Piper said, “I think you have it worse then me. At least I get to see him grow up now, and I can build happy memories and try to fix the future.”
Angel said, “Building happy memories now is the only thing that keeps me going.”
They both looked up as they heard the manhole above them move. A few seconds later Connor was standing in front of them. He said, “Hey.”
Angel said, “Connor, this is Piper. She’s a witch. Piper, this is Connor, and we aren’t sure what he is, but he can hold his own in a fight.”
Connor held out his hand and said, “Nice to met you.”
Piper shook and said, “Nice to meet you too Connor.”
Connor looked excited and said, “Let’s track it.”
Angel held up a piece of cloth that he had taken from the frat house. He said, “Here you go.”
Connor took it and smelled. Spike put out his fourth cigarette and walked back to the group. Connor sniffed the air and said, “This way.”
Connor led the group for the next half an hour. Then he held up his hand and they were all quiet. Connor said, “He’s close. I think he went up. Is it dark out yet?”
Angel nodded. Connor headed up towards the manhole. Angel grabbed his shirt and said, “Me first.”
Connor just nodded and stepped back. Angel went up and found that he was right in front of a large house in a suburban neighborhood. There was no one around, so he gestured for the others to come up. Connor sniffed around and walked up to the house closest to the manhole. He said, “It’s in there.”
Angel said, “I’ll go first.”
Piper said, “I thought you had to be invited, or is that just in the movies?”
Angel said, “I do have to be invited, but only if there are any humans in the house. This way we’ll know if it’s alone.”
Piper nodded. “Good idea.”
Angel tried the door and found it open. He walked inside with no trouble. The whole group followed. Spike was the last one in, and he closed the door behind them. The second it shut, the lights went on. There on the other side of the room was a small dirty man who looked to be about fifty. He said, “Why are you following me?”
Angel said, “Why were you….”
Spike interrupted him with, “Frank? Frank, is that you?”
The man tried to look around Angel, and as soon as Spike had come to the front of the group the man said, “Spike? What are you doing here?”
Angel hissed at Spike, “You know this guy?”
Spike smiled and said, “Used to play cards with him in Sunnydale.”
Spike turned to Frank and said, “I’m living here now. How about you?”
“Oh, you know me. I like to travel.”
Frank gave Piper a glare and said, “You didn’t bring a Slayer with you did you?”
“Nope.”
Frank sighed with relief and said, “Good. So why are you following me?”
Angel said, “Were you at a party last night with some college kids?”
“Yeah. They were all very happy, so it was a good night for me. You would have thought they were tasty Spike….I mean, you know, if you could eat them that is.”
“I don’t do that anymore, and not because of the chip either, that’s gone.”
Frank glared at Spike. He said, “Did you turn good Spike? That’s a shame. You still owe me four kittens you know.”
Piper and Connor both gave Spike appalled looks and said, “Kittens?”
Spike got defensive and said, “That’s off topic now isn’t it.”
Frank said, “Well, if you’re working on the side of good, and you’ve brought friends, it must be time for me to move on. I’ll be out of town tomorrow.”
Piper flicked her hand and froze Frank. She turned to Angel and said, “Can I vanquish him, or is that rude since you guys know him?”
Angel said, “We’ve let some demons go if they’re willing to leave town, but he’s a nasty little guy with a bad habit of killing lots of kids at one time. I say let’s be rid of him.”
Angel looked at Spike who nodded his agreement. Piper said, “Good.”
Piper tossed the vial of vanquishing potion, and just before it hit Frank she unfroze him. Frank saw the vial and said, “What the…”
Then Frank burst into flames and screamed. A few seconds later he was gone. Angel said, “Are you sure he’s gone, and not just in another dimension or something?”
Piper nodded and said, “He’s gone.”
Angel held out his hand and said, “Well, it was nice working with you Piper.”
Piper shook his hand and said, “Same here.”
Angel pulled out one of his cards and said, “Let me give you one of my business cards, and maybe we can work on another case together. You know, help each other out when we have problem cases.”
Piper nodded and went to take the card. Angel pulled it back and said, “Oh, this is the old address. Connor, do you have a pen?”
Connor nodded and handed a pen to Angel. Angel walked over to the small table that was in the room and started writing the address. While he was writing Paige orbed into the room. She was standing a few feet away from her sister. She glared at Angel who had turned to look at her. She said, “You…you monster.”
Piper said, “What?”
Paige said, “This thing has an entire page to himself in the book of shadows. It’s name is Angelus. There’s even a side note about this one, William the Bloody.”
Spike said, “What do you mean a side note?! He gets a whole bleeden’ page, and I get a side note?! Who wrote that rubbish?”
Piper said, “Let’s just calm down and talk about this like rational adults.”
Paige glared at her sister and said, “No. You don’t know the things he did Piper. He’s much more of a monster then the Bolarious demon.”
Paige held up a vial and said, “The other one didn’t work. Let’s see if a ball of fire kills you.”

Paige threw the vial, and the other four people in the room all had different reactions to it. Spike knew Angel could easily move out of the way, and rolled his eyes. Angel stood still at first planning to move out of the way at the last second. Piper wanted to get more of the story before anyone got killed, so when the vial was halfway to Angel she raised her hands to blow it up. Connor saw Paige throw the vial, and all he could think about was that the whole situation was wrong. He remembered when he believed exactly what Paige had just said, but he knew she was wrong. He ran and dove in front of the vial just as it got half way to where Angel was standing. Piper saw Connor out of the corner of her eye, and stopped herself from blowing up the vial and possibly him just in time. Connor felt the vial smash on his chest, and heard Angel yell “NO!”
The flames started on his chest, but before he hit the floor from his dive, he was engulfed in fire. Paige just stood there with her mouth open as she heard him scream. Angel yanked off his coat and ran to Connor. He threw his coat over Connor to smother the flames. Spike was a millisecond later with his jacket covering Connor’s legs. It took a couple of seconds to get the flames all out. By the time it was out Connor had stopped screaming. Angel and Spike pulled their coats away and when Angel got a look at Connor he whispered, “No, no, no. Connor? Connor can you hear me?”
Paige got a good look at Connor too. Some of his skin was charred black, and some was bubbled. His clothes were mostly gone, except for the areas it had fused with his skin. His hair was burnt off, and his face was not very recognizable. Paige felt like she was going to throw up.
Angel had gotten his face close to Connor’s and had repeated his name. Connor’s eyes flickered. He said, “Dad?”
Angel had started to cry and he said, “I’m here”
“Tell my parent’s I love them.”
Angel wanted to tell Connor he would be fine, but he had been around too long, and seen too much death to believe that. He said, “I will.”
“Love you too, in a way.”
Angel leaned down and kissed Connor’s forehead as he said, “You know I love you. Are you in pain?”
“Can’t feel anything.”
“Why Connor? Why did you do it?”
“Couldn’t let her kill you. I tried twice, so I owed you.”
Angel just shook his head. Spike looked away from Connor, and looked over at Paige. She looked at him with panic and fear. Spike said, “You’re gonna die for this witch.”
Piper was the first to come to her senses. She stood in front of Paige and said, “No. No one is going to die here. LEO! Leo we need you NOW!”
A second later Leo orbed in with one child in each arm. He saw the boy in front of him on the floor and handed the kids to Piper without a word. He rushed to Connor and put his hands above him. Angel just stayed where he was kneeling on the ground with Connor’s hand in his.
Angel could see a bluish light coming from Leo’s hands and going into his son’s chest. Two minutes later some areas of Connor’s chest were back to normal skin. Then Leo moved his hands up to Connor’s head. Angel just stared at the miracle happening in front of him. His tears stopped, and he held Connor’s hand tighter, clinging to a thread of hope that maybe his child would be okay. Two minutes later Connor’s face looked normal and his eyes popped open. He looked over at Angel and said, “Am I dead?”
Angel started crying again, but this time he was smiling through his tears. He said with disbelief, “No.”
Connor started to sit up and groaned in pain before he got an inch off the floor. Angel said, “Lie still. You’re being healed.”
Connor darted his eyes over to the man whose hands were above his right arm. Leo looked at Connor for a second and smiled before looking back at the arm and concentrating.
Everyone was silent while Leo worked. It took Leo a total of ten minutes, but when he was done, Connor was completely healed. Leo had even healed Connor’s hair, and the clothes Connor had been wearing.
Leo put his hands down at his sides and said, “All done. How do you feel?”
Connor sat up and said, “Normal.”
Leo stood up and offered Connor a hand. Angel was still holding Connor’s other hand, and he stood up too. Both Leo and Angel helped Connor to his feet. Angel let go of Connor’s hand and held out his hand to Leo. Leo took it and they shook. Angel said, “I can never repay you for saving my son, but if you ever need anything I’ll do everything in my power to get it for you.”
Leo looked away and over at baby Chris. He said, “I’m just glad I got here in time, and I could help save your son.”
Angel turned to Connor and grabbed him in a bear hug. He said, “Are you really okay?”
Connor hugged him back and said, “I’m fine. Really.”
“God Connor, I thought I’d lost you.”
Connor said with a strained voice, “You’re kind of squishing me.”
Angel let Connor go and held him at arms length. Angel said, “You sacrificed yourself for me.”
Connor shrugged and said, “Like I said, after everything that went on between us…I owed you. I guess I still owe you…Hey!”
Angel bent Connor over, and tucked his upper half under his left arm. From his position Connor could see the table that was behind Angel, and not much else. Connor’s bottom was in perfect position for Angel’s hand. Angel gave him four hard swats while Connor tried to get out of his grip. Angel stopped and said in a calm and serious voice, “You will never sacrifice yourself for me again.”
Connor well aware that they were not alone in the room decided to agree. He said, “Okay, okay. I get it. I’m sorry.”
Angel let him up and said, “We’ll talk about it more at home.”
Connor took a few steps back and said, “Jeez, save someone’s life, and this is the thanks I get.”
Angel took a step towards him and said, “What was that?”
Connor took another step back and shook his head as he said, “Nothing.”
Angel turned his attention towards Paige. He took a menacing step towards her and she whispered, “I’m sorry. I…I didn’t mean to hurt him…”
Angel said, “If you ever come near my son again, I’ll rip your heart out and watch you die!”
Leo stepped between Angel and Paige and said to Angel, “Remember that favor you owe me?”
Angel swallowed hard at the words that wanted to come out. He nodded. Leo said, “Well, I think if you can forgive my sister-in-law, we could call it even.”
Angel looked at Leo and said, “Forgive? Did you forgive the man who killed your son?”
Leo looked away for a second. He caught Piper’s look and turned back to Angel and said, “No, but he was hurting my child on purpose. Paige isn’t malicious, just misguided. Believe me when I say she is already wallowing in quilt for it.”
Angel thought about it for a few seconds and said, “Give me a few days, and maybe.”
Leo nodded. Angel said, “Connor, Spike, let’s go.”
The three men stepped around the others and walked out the door. Leo and Piper looked at Paige with disappointment. Paige couldn’t take anymore, and she orbed home to her room. She fell onto her bed and started sobbing.
Leo, Piper, and their kids stood in the empty house. Piper sighed and Leo went to her and gave her a hug. She leaned her head on his shoulder for a second, and then Wyatt pulled on Leo’s pant leg and said, “Up, up.”
Leo picked Wyatt up, and Piper said, “I’m glad you got here in time.”
“Me too.”
“I thought it was going to be the beginning of a good friendship. We all do the same kind of work.”
Leo went and picked up Angel’s business card off the desk. He pocketed it and said, “Still could be. Give him a day or two to cool off.”
Piper nodded and said, “I’m already tired, and I still have to go to the club tonight. Let’s go home.”
Leo took her hand, and the four of them orbed home.

Angel, Spike, and Connor had a mostly silent walk home. Every few minutes Connor would make a comment about the night like, “That was really cool the way Piper could freeze people.” And, “I wonder if Leo was a witch too.”
Every time his comments were greeted with silence, and soon they tapered off. Connor knew he was sunk. He wasn’t sure what Angel was planning, but he was pretty sure he wasn’t going to like it. He thought about his parents. He knew how they would feel about him flinging himself into danger to save them. He knew they wouldn’t want to keep living if they knew he had died to save them.
They walked in the door, and Gunn was sitting at the desk. He said, “Hey. Did y’all have a case?”
Spike looked at Angel, who was glaring at Connor, who was looking at the floor. Spike turned to Gunn and said, “I’ll tell you all about it over drinks.”
Gunn got the hint and said, “Okay, but not at that new place you found. Let’s go to a sports bar.”
Spike sighed, “All right.”
As they were walking out Spike put a hand on Connor’s shoulder and gave it a companionable squeeze.
As soon as Angel and Connor were alone Connor couldn’t stand it anymore. He said, “Look, I know you’re upset, and I even understand why, but….”
“Do you?”
“Do I what?”
“Understand why.”
“Well I think so. You don’t want me to get myself killed to protect you, because it would eat you up to be alive while I was dead.”
“Exactly, so why did you do it?”
“I told you, because of what I did to you in the past. I have to make it right.”
Angel shook his head. He said, “What would Laurence do in this situation?”
“Dad would be so completely freaked out about witches and demons, he wouldn’t notice.”
“I don’t believe that, but for arguments sake, what do you think he would say if I gave him a call and told him someone was shooting at me, and you had jumped in front of me to protect me?”
Connor looked away and turned slightly red as he said, “It’s just wrong that you guys are friends now.”
“Answer the question.”
Connor wouldn’t look at him as he said, “Dad would be angry. He would lecture me about our family, and I’m sure he would go into detail how each member of the family would feel about me being gone. I would feel so guilty about it, that I would probably be crying by the time he was done.”
Angel nodded and said, “And what do you think I’m gonna do about it?”
Connor gave him a sad but sincere look and said, “Kick me out.”
Angel shook his head no, and could see that Connor was slightly relieved about that. After a second to think about it Connor took a discrete step back and said, “Um….ground me?”
Angel shook his head again. Connor took another step back and said, “Call my dad so he can give me that lecture?”
Angel shook his head. Connor gave him a nervous smile and said, “Take me out for drinks so we can forget about it?”
Angel said, “You’re a smart boy Connor, I think you know what I’m gonna do, but you just don’t want it to happen.”
Connor crossed his arms and looked defensive as he said, “Well duh, it’s not like I didn’t get the hint earlier. But Dad hasn’t spanked me since I was like six, and I’m nineteen now. I think it’s a little….silly. I mean if you were gonna do that kind of thing, why didn’t you do it back then?….You know, back when I tried to kill you? I can think of more then once that….well you know.”
Angel looked away and said, “I don’t know. You were just so full of hate and pain….I thought it would make you hate me more.”
Angel looked back at Connor and gave him a little glare when he said, “But now I think it will make it clear that you don’t owe me anything from our past. Our past is in the past, and that is where it needs to stay. I don’t mind talking about what happened sometimes to help us both understand what the other one was thinking, but we aren’t going to lay blame. We both made serious mistakes back then, but now we’re starting fresh.”
Connor nodded his understanding. Angel walked over to the couch and sat down. He said, “Come over here.”
Connor still with his arms crossed said, “I really don’t think you need to. I get it now, and I won’t do it again. Maybe you should think about grounding me. Always worked for Mom and Dad.”
Angel said, “It will be worse if I have to come get you.”
Connor swallowed hard and muttered, “Well, this just sucks.” As he walked over to where Angel was sitting.
As soon as he was within reach Angel grabbed Connor’s arm and pulled him across his lap. Connor soon found his upper half on the couch, and his lower half hanging off Angel’s lap. He groaned and said, “This is so not cool.”
Angel brought his hand down hard. He had sparred with Connor enough times to know that Connor had a high tolerance for pain, and healed quickly like himself. Connor knew it was coming, and kept his mouth clamped shut. For the next couple of minutes the only sounds in the house were the dull smacks of hand hitting cloth covered bottom.
Angel wasn’t quite sure if he was getting though to Connor, but the image of him lying on the floor burnt was still fresh in his mind, so he kept going. Connor couldn’t believe how much it hurt, but he also couldn’t believe that Angel was still spanking him after what seemed like a really long time. Connor could feel his body start to move around to try and avoid the swats, and he couldn’t force himself to stay in place any more, because he was too busy concentrating on not crying out. A few seconds after that Connor said, “Dad! I’m sorry okay? I won’t do it again. I promise.”
Angel said, “Good.”
Connor expected to be let up now, but Angel just kept spanking him. Connor said, “So can we….ummf….stop now?”
Angel stopped and said, “I don’t want to repeat this lesson again Connor. I need to be sure that you get it, because next time you could be dead. You never put yourself in danger to protect me. In my mind you’re more important that a thousand of me. And I know that your other parents would be devastated if something happened to you just like me.”
Connor was starting to feel slightly guilty about what he had done, especially when Angel brought up his parents. Angel brought him out of his thinking with another even harder smack to his backside. Connor wasn’t expecting it and yelled, “Ah!”
Angel glared down at Connor’s butt and continued spanking as he said, “Not to mention that I’m still better in combat then you. Did it even occur to you that I could have gotten out of the way a long time before the vial got to me?”
Connor was moving around a lot now, and his reaction to the spanking was much less quiet. He yelled out, “Nooo!”
Angel stopped again and said, “I know you did it to save me, but you didn’t save me, because I wasn’t ever in danger. All you did was get yourself hurt.”
Angel knew that was a little harsh, but he wanted to make sure Connor understood the situation. He decided the spanking was mostly done. He gave Connor six more hard swats on his sit spot, and Connor yelled much louder. A minute or two later Angel helped him stand up. Connor quickly wiped his eyes and looked down so Angel wouldn’t see he was crying. Angel had smelled the tears before he saw them. He pulled Connor down to sit in his lap. Connor was surprised and more then a little embarrassed about this. He said, “Um…Dad?….you do remember I’m nineteen right?”
Connor had emphasized the word nineteen, but it lost most of its potency when he also sniffed and wiped at his eyes again. Angel pushed Connor’s head onto his shoulder and said, “Hush.”
Five minutes later Connor whispered, “I am sorry you know. Not just about tonight either. About before. The things I did. It’s like it was someone else.”
Angel nodded and said, “I’m sorry too. I should have done a lot of things differently. I still have nightmares about beating you up to keep you from tracking us for Jasmine.”
Connor nodded and said, “Me too. But most of my nightmares are about you in the box at the bottom of the ocean. All alone for months starving.”
Angel said, “So maybe I should have done this back then. But it’s all water under the bridge now. The important thing now is that we get to know each other, and make the time we spend together happy. Every minute I spend with you makes me happier than any minute I spend alone.”
Connor smiled and said, “Even the past few?”
Angel smiled too and said, “Yep, but I’ll understand if you don’t feel the same way.”
Connor said, “It was awful, but….I’m still glad to not be kicked out.”
Angel hugged him tighter and said, “Never again.”
Connor hugged him back and then pushed to get up. Angel let him go and said, “Why don’t you get some sleep. You look tired.”
Connor nodded and said, “Okay. Night Dad.”
“Sleep well.”

When Piper, Leo, and the kids got back home, Piper immediately went and took shower to wash off the smell of the sewers, while Leo got both kids ready for bed. By the time they were both done Phoebe had gotten home and was in the kitchen getting herself a late dinner. Leo had put Wyatt to bed, and was holding Chris when he came down and found Phoebe. She smiled and said, “Hi. How was your day?”
“Busy, how was yours?”
“Good. One of my readers actually gave me a call and told me how much my advice had helped her.”
“That’s great.”
Piper came in clean again, and dressed for work. She said hi to Phoebe and then looked at Leo. She said, “I still have half an hour before I need to be at the club. I’m gonna go look at the Book for Angel’s entry. Is Wyatt sleeping?”
“Yeah, he was worn out.”
Phoebe said, “The Book of Shadows lists angels? That seems odd. I haven’t seen that.”
Piper smiled and said, “Not angels, a vampire named Angel.”
“Oh.”
“If you wanna bring your sandwich up, I’ll tell you all about it while we look him up.”
“Okay.”
Piper started to tell Phoebe about Angel and working with him as they went upstairs. She paused when they got to the Book of Shadows, because it was still open to the page with Angelus. Both sisters read about him, and about the destruction he had caused in the past. The entry also explained the curse and how it worked. Phoebe said, “He sounds like a nasty demon.”
“But that’s just it, he wasn’t. In fact he was really nice.”
“Nice?”
Piper finished the whole story, and by the time she was done Phoebe said, “Poor Paige. She must feel so bad about it.”
Piper nodded and said, “I’m gonna go talk to her for a few minutes before I go to work.”
Phoebe nodded and went back downstairs to talk to Leo.

Paige had finally stopped crying, but was still replaying the scene of the boy bursting into flames in her head again and again. When Connor first got in the way, she had been shocked, and she had immediately berated herself for not making sure the path to Angel was clear. She didn’t want any innocents to get in the way. But then after she had seen Angel’s reaction to what she had done, and when she heard what Connor said, then the guilt really set in. She knew then that Angel wasn’t the monster she thought he was. She could see the same look that Piper and Leo had for their kids in Angel’s eyes when he looked at Connor. She had been paralyzed with guilt, disbelief, and fear right after it happened, and she was grateful to Piper for calling Leo. She had felt herself start to breathe again when Leo was there and healing Connor. But then when she saw Angel swat Connor after Connor had tried to save him, and after Connor had already been through so much pain, she thought maybe Angel was a monster after all. She had looked at Piper and Leo, expecting them to be just as upset about it as she was, but they weren’t. She had watched while Piper and Leo gave each other a look of understanding, and Leo had even nodded like he thought Angel was doing the right thing.
Paige’s thoughts were interrupted by a knock on her door. She said quietly, “Go away.”
Piper came in anyway and closed the door behind her. Paige rolled over on her bed, so that she had her back to Piper and said, “I want to be alone.”
“Yeah, well I want a normal life, and we both know how well that’s going.”
Paige rolled her eyes and said, “Fine. Say whatever you want, and then go away.”
Piper sat down on the bed and said, “I’m gonna tell you what happened while you were away looking up Angel in the Book and making the fire potion, and I don’t want you to interrupt me until I’m done. Okay?”
“Okay.”
Piper went into detail telling Paige everything she had learned about Angel with emphasis on the story he told her about Connor. She ended the story with, “That’s when you showed up.”
There was silence for a few minutes, and then Piper said, “Did you read the whole page on Angel? Did you read about the curse?”
“Yes.”
“Then I don’t understand why you wanted to kill him.”
“Because he was a horrible demon!”
“I see. Angel should suffer for the things Angelus did? If that’s the case, then you must think that when I turned into one of the Furies, that someone should have held me accountable for all the things I did. And when Phoebe became a Banshee, or when she was pregnant with Cole’s baby, and it was making her try to hurt people, she should be held accountable for that? And when you were almost turned into a vampire yourself, or when you were under the spell of Mr. Wrong, you should be held accountable for the things you did?”
“No! None of us killed anyone when we were like that! He killed thousands of people!”
“And you don’t think he suffers every day because of it? I think that was the point of the curse. If you had killed someone when you were almost a vampire and under that influence, don’t you think you would hate yourself every day for it once you were back to normal?”
Paige thought about it for a few minutes and whispered, “Yes.”
“But you know what, that isn’t even the whole issue. I’m mostly upset that you chose to run off on your own again without consulting either of your sisters. You do that a lot, and sometimes it turns out okay, but not always. We have to work as a team, and make decisions as a group to get things done.”
Paige turned over for the first time since they started to talk, and glared at Piper. She said, “And what about when we don’t agree? You went off with Angel without consulting me.”
Piper sighed and said, “I can see we’re not getting anywhere with this. I’m gonna be late for work if I don’t get going.”
Piper got up to leave and Paige said, “Who appointed you leader anyway? What makes you think your decisions are better then mine when we don’t agree?”
Piper turned back around yelled, “Like I want to be in charge?! That was Prue’s job, not mine!”
Piper crossed her arms and tried to calm herself down. She said in a calm voice, “I may not like it, but I’m the final decision maker when you and I don’t agree, because I’m older, and I’m more experienced with magic and with life.”
Paige picked up her pillow and threw it at Piper. Piper froze it, and plucked it out of the air. She put it back on Paige’s bed and said, “Well that was mature.”
Piper walked out and went to find Leo.
She found him in the kitchen with Phoebe giving Chris a bottle. Piper said, “I’m gonna go to the club. I should be able to get out of there as soon as the band gets started, and I pay them.”
Leo nodded and said, “How’s Paige?”
Piper shook her head and said, “Still really upset, and not listening to me much. She actually tossed a pillow at me.”
“Do you think it would help if I talked to her?” Leo asked.
Piper shrugged and said, “It couldn’t hurt.”

A half an hour later Leo knocked on Paige’s door. Paige said, “What?”
Leo opened the door, and said, “Can we talk?”
“I guess.”
Paige had had time to think about it, and the more she went over the events of the day in her head, and the things Piper had said, the more she thought Piper was right. She motioned for Leo to sit next to her on the bed. Leo went over and Paige said, “It was awful. I was so angry at Angel just for being a vampire, that I didn’t pay any attention to the fact that he was different.”
Leo said, “It’s understandable, vampires almost killed you.”
“But then the boy, Connor, when he got in the path of the vial I….I just froze. I could have orbed the vial back to me if I’d thought about it, but I didn’t. Then watching him go up in flames….”
Paige started crying, and Leo put her arm around Paige’s shoulders to comfort her. He said, “You couldn’t have known Connor was going to jump in the way.”
“But I…I should have….looked around….made sure.”
“You can never be one hundred percent sure that things will go the way they’re supposed to when you use magic, and even when we try to protect them, some innocents still get hurt.”
Paige shook her head still crying and said, “But I….shouldn’t have….gone off without.…Piper.”
Leo thought about it for a minute and said, “Paige, I know that you’re wallowing in guilt about what happened today, and in a way that’s good, because you can use that to learn from your mistakes, but if you let it go on too long, it’s a bad thing. You have to find it in yourself to be strong enough to move past the guilt, and turn it into something positive.”
Paige looked at Leo like he was a fool. “Positive? Are you kidding?”
“No. If you feel bad about what happened to Connor, then start thinking about something you could do to make him happy. Some way to repay him for the pain you caused. And think of something to help Angel forgive you too”
Paige looked down at her lap she mumbled, “I guess I could try that, but…it just doesn’t seem like anything would ever be enough to make up for it.”
Leo could tell that Paige was still hurting, and not really believing him. He just sat there letting her think about what he had said. While he sat there he thought about what had happened at the house. He was trying to remember what Paige was doing or saying, or what emotions were playing on her face during those few minutes, but he had been so focused on healing Connor that he hadn’t noticed. Then he was busy trying to convince Angel not to kill her. As he was replaying the events in his head, he remembered that Angel had swatted Connor. He hadn’t thought much about it at the time, except that he thought it was the right thing to do. But now he thought about Paige, and wondered if it would help her. He looked over at her and said, “Paige?”
“Yeah?”
“I’m your whitelighter, and I know that you feel terrible about today.”
Paige nodded and kept looking down. He said, “I’ve been there with you through some hard times.”
Paige said, “You were there with me when I was a teenager again and got to see my parents before they died.”
Leo nodded and said, “And I was there to help you with your first charge as a whitelighter.”
Paige gave him a rueful look as she thought about her biological father and said, “Don’t you mean Sam?”
Leo smiled and said, “Yeah, but the point I’m trying to make is that even though we’ve only known each other for about four years, we’re close because we’ve been through a lot together.”
Paige nodded in agreement. Leo said, “I think I know how to help you stop feeling so guilty about today, but you probably aren’t going to like it.”
Paige looked over at him and said sincerely, “Tell me.”
“I could spank you.”
Paige just sat there looking at him for a few minutes. Then she started to laugh.
Leo patiently waited her out. Through her laughter she said, “I’m….sorry….it’s just so funny.”
Once she was down to giggles he said, “Okay, well you know the offer is out there if you start feeling too guilty. Try to get some sleep.”
Leo got up and went to his room to get some piece and quiet before Piper got home, or Chris got up for his night time bottle.

He was reading a book an hour later when he heard a timid knock on his door. He said, “Come in.”
Paige stood there nervously in her pajamas and said, “Um….Leo?”
Leo put his book down and said, “Yes?”
Paige looked out in the hall, and then went into the bedroom and shut the door behind her. She looked at him and then looked away out the window. She said, “I’ve been thinking about what you said.”
He moved over to the edge of the bed and said, “And?”
“I…..I think it would help. I still feel so bad about what happened, and I’m going to try and find a way to make it up to both of them, but it just doesn’t seem like enough.”
Leo nodded. “It’s okay Paige. We’re family, and I love you. You’re my charge as a whitelighter, and you’re my sister-in-law. We live in the same house, and fight demons together. I understand your guilt. Guilt almost crushed me when the ghosts of my friends from the war were haunting me.”
She looked over at him with gratitude, because she knew he did understand. Paige had needed more courage to ask Leo to do this then she had ever needed to face a demon. Leo decided the best way to make it easier for Paige was to take charge. He stood up and went over to her. He said, “You’re sure?”
She looked up at him once he got close. She swallowed once and nodded her head. He said, “I don’t want any interruptions. Can you do some kind of noise blocking spell so that the kids and Phoebe don’t wake up or hear us?”
Paige stood there for a couple of minutes thinking. Then she said the following spell:

To everyone else
This room will be silent
Until we are done
And I am repentant

He gave her a questioning look, and she said, “What? It’s the best I could do on the spur of the moment.”
He nodded, took her arm, and led her to the bed. He sat down and gently pulled her over his lap. He held a hand above her back and some blue light went from her back into his hand. She sucked in some air feeling like a part of her was missing. Leo said, “I’m just making sure you can’t orb for the next few minutes.”
“You can do that?”
Paige felt extremely uncomfortable over Leo’s lap in the first place, but now she felt even more nervous, and was wondering if she should change her mind.
Leo said, “It’s part of being an Elder. Okay, all done. Now, I want to be clear before I start. This spanking is for not working with your sister as part of the team, for rash decision making, and for unintentionally hurting an innocent because of it.”
Paige gave an almost undetectable nod. Leo said, “And when it’s over you are forgiven, and you will forgive yourself.”
Paige didn’t say anything. Leo, not wanting to startle her, said, “Okay, here we go.”
Paige tensed up, and Leo brought his hand down fairly hard. He wasn’t exactly sure how hard to spank her, but by her jump he decided it was about right. He didn’t say anything while he spanked her, because he had already gone over everything. He was methodical about it, and soon she started to squirm around. Paige told herself to be still. She told herself that she deserved exactly what she was getting. She told herself she had asked for this, and she couldn’t complain about it now. But eventually her body won out, and soon she was squirming all over the place trying to get away from Leo’s hand.
Leo held her in place with a hand on her back and continued. When he saw her hand moving towards her bottom to try and cover it, he grabbed it before it made it there, and held it at her side, while never missing a swat.
Paige had told herself before it started that she wouldn’t beg him to stop, because she knew she deserved it, but a couple of times during the spanking Paige said, “Leo Please.”
He wasn’t sure if she was begging him to stop or not, but didn’t pay any attention to it ether way. Very soon after that she started to cry. It was quiet at first, but when Leo kept spanking, and the pain got to be too much, she started crying more loudly.
As soon as Leo heard her crying more openly he stopped. He stopped so suddenly, she almost didn’t realize it was over. He let go of her hand and rubbed her back for a few seconds. She pushed to get herself up, and he helped her stand. As soon as she was up he sat her back down on his lap making sure she was mostly sitting on her thighs with her bottom off to the side. He held her and let her cry on his shoulder. Paige was so lost in her feelings both inside and out, that she didn’t think much about whether or not it was inappropriate to let her brother-in-law hold her. She held onto him and cried out her regret, and he soothed her by rubbing her back and letting her cry.
When her cries had quieted he said quietly, “Do you feel better?”
“Yes.”
“Do you forgive yourself?”
Paige thought about it and said, “I think I can start to. It will be easier now.”
“Good. Are you ready to be able to orb again?”
Paige nodded and Leo held his hand half a foot from her chest. She could see the blue light going back into her, and she instantly could feel the difference in herself. She pushed to get up, and he stood with her. He said, “Why don’t you go get some sleep, and think about what you can do to help put right the mistakes you made today?”
“Okay.”
As Paige got to the door she turned around and said, “Thanks Leo….for well, everything.”
Leo smiled and said, “Sure.”
Paige went to her room and Leo went to the nursery to check on the boys.

Leo had just nodded off to sleep when Piper climbed into bed with him. He smiled at her and said, “What happened to getting home early?”
Piper said, “Sorry, I tried not to wake you.”
Leo, more awake now, could see that she was already in her pajamas and must have been home for a little while. He said, “S’Okay.”
Piper sighed and said, “It seems like there’s always a hundred little problems to fix once I get to work, and even when I want to leave early I’m not able to. How were things here? Did you talk to Paige?”
Leo pulled Piper to him and they snuggled while he said, “I did.”
“Is she feeling better?”
“Yes.”
“What did she say?”
Leo thought about it for a few seconds and said, “I went to see her half an hour after you left, and she was feeling extremely guilty about the day. She had already decided that you were right.”
Piper nodded and Leo continued, “So I offered to help her feel better.”
Piper sat up a little and said, “You didn’t give her that forgetting powder did you?”
“No.”
Piper lay back down and said, “Good. So….what did you do?”
“I spanked her.”
Piper sat all the way up and said, “What?! You didn’t!”
Leo just looked at her and she said, “You did? Really?”
Leo nodded and looked at her in earnest. Piper said, “I can’t believe it. You heal people. You don’t hurt them. You’re a pacifist.”
Leo reached out and pulled Piper back down to him. He said, “But that’s just it. I did heal her. I may have hurt her on the outside, but I healed her on the inside. I made her feelings of guilt and sorrow go away. And well, you’ve seen me fight before when someone tries to hurt my family. It’s just that this time Paige was hurting herself, and I made her stop.”
Piper took a good look at Leo and could tell he wasn’t all that happy. She hugged him and said, “So you did what you thought you needed to do, even though you hated it.”
Leo crushed her to him and said, “Yes.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”

Two days later on Saturday, everyone besides Paige was in the kitchen eating lunch when Paige ran down the stairs and said, “I got it! I got it!”
Piper and Phoebe both asked, “What?”
Paige said with a big smile “I know a way to repay Angel.”
Piper said, “We haven’t even called him yet. We were going to give him another couple of days to get over things before you called to try and apologize.”
Paige kept smiling and said, “A couple of days will be just enough time to put my plan in action, but I’m gonna need all of you to help me.”
Piper and Phoebe looked at each other, and then smiled at Paige while she explained her plan.

Connor had just gotten home from school, and was doing homework on the couch when he heard a knock on the door. Angel and Spike were training in the basement, and Gunn was out getting them some lunch, so Connor answered the door. He opened the door to see Piper, Paige, and a woman he had never seen before who he assumed was their other sister. Then he also saw Willow on the other side of them. He wasn’t quite sure what was going on. He said, “Willow?”
Willow went in and gave Connor a quick hug. She pulled back and said, “Sorry. Didn’t mean to go all touchy feely on you when we’ve only met once, but I’ve been friends with your dad so long it feels like we’re friends too.”
Connor smiled. “I’ve heard endless stories about you from Spike and Dad, so I feel the same. What are you doing here?”
Willow looked at the other three women and said, “Is your dad around?”
Connor nodded and opened the door wide to let them all in. Connor called out, “Dad, you have visitors.”
A few seconds later Angel came upstairs with Spike following. Angel saw all four women, and wasn’t sure what to say first. He turned to Willow and smiled. “Willow. Good to see you.”
Willow went and gave him a quick hug and said, “Hi Angel. How’ve you been?”
“Okay.”
Willow surprised Spike by going and giving him a hug too. She said, “Spike.”
“Hi ‘a Red.”
Angel turned to the other three women in his house and mostly looked at Paige when he said, “Why are you here?”
Paige said, “I came to apologize to you…”
Paige looked over at Connor and continued, “And to you for the last time we saw each other.”
Connor shrugged, not really wanting to think about that day again and said, “Okay.”
Angel said, “Look, I’ve had some time to think about things, and while I’m not going to go after you or anything, I really don’t think I can work with you either, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive you.”
Piper took a breath to talk and Angel held up his hand to stop her as he said, “I know that no one was trying to hurt Connor, but….I’ll just never be able to look at Paige without the image of him after the fire going through my mind.”
Connor took a few steps towards Angel and said in a whisper, “Dad, you know it was mostly my own fault, I think you should try to….you know….get over it.”
Angel gave Connor a glare and Connor stepped back and said, “Or not.”
Paige said, “I know you may never be able to forgive me, and I can accept that. That’s not really why I came. I came to try and make it up to you.”
Angel said, “Well I don’t see how you can do that unless you can turn back time.”
Paige, not having thought of that before, gave Piper a hopeful look. Piper said, “Oh no! Time travel doesn’t work well for this family, and you know it, so just forget it.”
Paige looked disappointed but nodded. Willow stepped over to stand with the other women. She put a hand on Paige’s arm and said, “Tell him your idea.”
Paige looked at Angel and said, “We could fix your curse.”
Angel looked at Willow when he asked, “Fix it?”
Willow said, “A couple of days ago I got a call from Paige. She was looking for a way to change the curse. She had heard you guys talking about me and I guess…”
Willow blushed a little as she mumbled, “…I’m kind of well known as a witch.”
Spike said, “I should hope so. Making all the potential Slayers into full-blown Slayers isn’t something most witches could do. Not to mention bringing back the dead, and nearly destroying the earth.”
Willow glossed over all that and said, “So they found me, and we got to talking about the curse. And well, since I’ve re-cursed you twice, I’m the best thing they had to an expert.”
Angel nodded. Willow said, “Paige thinks, and well, we all agree, that with the four of us witches working together, we can make your curse permanent. No changing back to Angelus if you…get too happy.”
Everyone was silent for a few seconds while Angel stood not knowing what to say. Then Spike yelled, “Bloody Hell!”
Spike stalked off towards his room muttering, “Can’t live here and watch him get it on with the Slayer. Hear her make the same noises she used to make for me. Have to pack. Wonder what Rupert is doing these days. Could go visit him in England. Maybe I’ll start my own detective agency. New York might be nice this time of year.”
They all heard the door to his room slam. Angel looked at Willow and without thinking about what he was saying he said, “I’ve been dreaming about Buffy a lot for the past few weeks.”
Willow gave him a sweet smile and said, “She’s been dreaming about you too lately. She hasn’t said, but we can all tell. Xander calls it her broody mornings. She still misses you. You’d think she’d be over her high school crush by now, but maybe she doesn’t have to be.”
Angel gave Willow a huge smile and said, “So how does it work?”
Willow said, “With the power of three…plus one.”

Two months later….

Angel woke up and felt something warm next to him. He turned over and saw Buffy sleeping there next to him. He just stayed still and watched her sleep, almost not believing she wasn’t a dream. He couldn’t get enough just looking at her. A few seconds later she opened her eyes. She smiled and said, “Morning.”
Angel said, “It’s a beautiful morning.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow and said, “And how would you know oh sunless one?”
“Every morning with you is beautiful.”
Buffy smiled and kissed him. She looked at the clock and said, “Gotta go make sure Dawn is up.”
Angel put an arm around her so she couldn’t get out of bed. He said, “She’s up, I can hear her.”
Buffy smiled as Angel maneuvered himself on top of her. She said, “Oh really? And you wouldn’t just be saying that to keep me in bed?”
Angel shook his head no as he leaned down to kiss her neck. She said, “And you wouldn’t be doing that to try and distract me now would you?”
Angel cupped her breast with his hand and teased the nipple with his fingers. She made a happy sound and said, “Okay it worked. I don’t care if she’s late.”

Half an hour later Angel came upstairs while Buffy took a shower. Connor grumbled at the kitchen table, “Could you get a sound proof door or something?”
Dawn looked over at Connor with a questioning look and then at Angel who was smiling and ignoring Connor. Dawn then frowned and muttered, “Gross!”
Angel looked at the clock and asked Dawn, “Are you gonna be late?”
“No, Xander’s gonna pick me up.”
On cue, Xander knocked and came in the door saying, “Hello? Anyone want donuts?”
Connor and Dawn both put the rest of their unfinished cereal in the sink and went for a donut saying thanks to Xander. Angel rolled his eyes and said, “Great.”
Xander said, “You kids ready?”
Connor rolled his eyes and said, “What are you like five years older then me?”
“That would be six, and it’s not a good idea to correct the guy giving you a ride.”
“I could run to school faster then you drive.”
“Okay, have fun with that. I have to get to work anyway. Come on Dawn.”
Dawn sneered at Connor on the way out. Connor crossed his arms and looked over at Angel. He said, “Tell me again why all her friends and her sister had to move here with her?”
Buffy chose that moment to arrive in the kitchen. She smiled at Connor and said, “Same reason you and Gunn still live here. Cause we’re family, and we love each other.”
Connor gave her a sheepish look and said, “Sorry.”
Buffy said, “It’s okay. I know it’s a hard adjustment. Did Dawn get off to school, or do I need to give her a ride?”
Angel gave her a kiss and said, “She’s on her way.”
The phone rang and Connor went to answer it. He called out, “Dad, it’s Piper. They have another case.”
Angel walked over and took the phone. Connor picked up his backpack and said, “See you guys tonight.”
Angel nodded and started talking to Piper about the new case.