A/N: Angel’s curse is gone. He and Cordelia are lovers.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN – Welcome Home
Revello Drive – Early Evening
The living room of the Summers’ house was full of people. Everyone of them on edge waiting for Buffy to arrive.
Willow paced from the base of the stairs to the door periodically looking outside. “Where are they? I thought Dawn said her plane landed two hours ago – they should be here by now.”
Tara came toward her from the living room and laid a soothing hand on the redhead’s arm. “Willow, honey, they haven’t seen each other in five years they probably wanted to visit by themselves for a little while.”
“Oh goddess, you’re right. I just want to see her so bad.”
From outside the sound of a vehicle pulling up and doors slamming was heard.
Willow fluttered her hands nervously. “I think she’s here.”
Everyone in the room turned to face the door.
Revello Drive – Outside
A large black Yukon Denali pulled to a stop in the driveway of 1630 Revello Drive and its passengers began to exit.
The most excited of the group a three-year-old girl. “Momma, can we ride in de car again. Dis one is way better dan de odder one. Is so big. Can we peas?”
“We will later tonight sweety when we go to the hotel. But now we have to go inside and meet some of mommy’s friends.”
Buffy swung her daughter up in her arms and unconsciously reached for Jack’s hand as she walked toward the door of her former home.
Jack laced his fingers through hers and gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “Everything is going to be just fine.”
“Thanks. I’m really glad you’re here with me,” she said smiling up at him.
Dawn bustled forward. “Come on people. As long as it’s taking you we’ll never make it inside.” As she hurried passed them she grabbed Jack’s free hand and started to drag them toward the house.
Jack laughed, “We’re coming. We’re coming.”
Dawn led them forward and the door was opened by Willow, with Tara standing just behind her.
Willow rushed onto the porch and pulled Buffy into a fierce hug. “Buffy, I missed you so much.”
Buffy returned the hug with enthusiasm and then stepped slightly back. “Willow, I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is my daughter, Bronwyn. Bronwyn this is your Aunt Willow.”
The small child reached her hand out toward Willow and waited for her to shake it. “Momma, tell de lady to shake my hand.” Willow blushed and immediately extended her hand to the little girl.
“Aren’t you the cutest thing.” Willow exclaimed.
Bronwyn smiled, “Tank you. You has red hair.”
“Yes, I do. Bronwyn, I’d like you to meet a friend of your momma’s and mine. This is Tara.”
Bronwyn leaned forward toward Tara, but instead of trying to shake her hand she softly patted the blonde witch on the cheek. “You pretty. Hold me.” Then she reached out both arms for Tara who took her into her arms.
Tara looked at Buffy in surprise and she responded, “Bronwyn has always been a good judge of character.”
Willow linked her arm through Buffy’s and said, “Why don’t we get inside for introductions. It’s after dark – probably not the best idea to be standing around outside.”
Buffy nodded her head in agreement and allowed herself to be led into the house, followed by the rest of the group.
As they entered, Jack saw a large group waiting for them all with an expectant look on their faces. Suddenly Buffy was swept up into the arms of a young man with shaggy brown hair. “Buffster, I’m so glad to see you!” She hugged him in return and then was set on her feet only to be approached by an older man wearing glasses who also pulled her into a hug. Buffy was passed around the room to be hugged by each person in turn.
Finally, she reached a dark haired woman. “B, I don’t know if we hug?”
“Faith, it’s been five years. I think one hug won’t kill us.” The two women hugged each other quickly and let go.
Buffy then turned toward a man with bleached blond hair wearing all black and a long black leather duster. Jack knew this was Spike, one of the vampires that loved Buffy.
Spike lifted his hand gently to Buffy’s cheek stroking it softly. “Never gave up hope you’d come home, luv.”
“I know. Dawn told me. Spike, thank you so much for taking care of her.” Buffy pulled him into a hug and whispered into his ear, “You’ll never know how much it means to me that you stayed for Dawn.”
From Tara’s arms Bronwyn piped up, “He has shiny hair. Can I touch it?”
Spike looked around Buffy to see the small child looking at his hair in awe. “Is this your bit?”
“It is. Spike this is Bronwyn. Bronwyn this is Spike.”
Bronwyn reached out for Spike. “Can I touch your hair?”
Spike took her in his arms and said, “Course you can pet.” Permission granted, the little girl tunneled her fingers into Spike’s hair, freeing the curls from their gel prison.
“Is soft an pretty.”
Every one in the room laughed, watching the master vampire being manhandled by the little girl.
Buffy then turned to the only people in the room she hadn't greeted, Angel and Cordelia. Cordelia had her arm laced possessively through Angel’s, as if daring Buffy to take him from her.
She smiled at Buffy but it didn't reach her eyes. “Welcome back Buffy.”
Buffy smiled knowingly. Cordelia hadn’t changed a bit. She always wanted Angel and now apparently she had him. But she was afraid that with Buffy’s return she would lose him. She almost laughed out loud at the thought. Cordelia was welcome to him. Buffy had loved Angel once upon a time. After loving Gareth she realized that the love she and Angel had shared had been brought on more by circumstance than actual feeling. She was his path to redemption and for her he’d been the forbidden. Feelings like that were not forever. Buffy knew that and she’d have to make sure both Angel and Cordelia did as well.
“Cordelia, you look wonderful as always. Dawn told me that you and Angel were together. I’m so happy for you both.” Buffy turned her wide smile on Cordelia, hoping to reassure the jealous woman she didn’t want her lover.
A dark look passed over Angel’s face but was quickly replaced with a soft smile. “Buffy,” he said her name almost as if it was a prayer and stepped toward her shaking himself free from Cordelia’s grasping hold.
“Angel, it’s good to see you.” Buffy said and stepped forward to give him a light hug only to be pulled roughly into his arms and held as if his very unlife depended on it.
Buffy struggled slightly in his tight hold and from behind her a small voice sounded, “Yous let go of my momma.”
Quickly suppressed laughter was heard throughout the room. Both Jack and Spike scowled at the large vampire holding desperately to Buffy.
“I says let go of my momma. I don like you.” Bronwyn repeated her demand for her mother’s release.
“Angel, I’m not going anywhere. Can you please let me go, before you upset my daughter anymore.”
Angel finally released his hold on Buffy. “I’m sorry. I just never thought I’d get the chance to do that again.”
Angel then walked around Buffy to where Spike was holding Bronwyn. “Hello, little girl. My name is Angel. I’m a friend of your momma’s.”
Bronwyn was not in the least impressed. “I tol you I don like you,” she said and then buried her head inside Spike’s duster, causing the bleach blond vampire to laugh.
“There, there pet, I won’t let the nasty man get you.”
At this Jack began to snicker until he saw the less than pleased look Buffy was giving him.