"Wesley, have you noticed how big Willie is getting? I mean, he's not even two weeks old and he's almost two feet long." Xander said with concern.
"Yes, he is growing at an alarming rate, but while I know little about such things, I believe his mental development is progressing with his physical growth. He has started scooting himself and I dare say, he will be crawling by the end of the week." Wesley said in a comforting tone.
Then Wesley continued, "Since you are obviously concerned, you should ask the doctor if this is normal for him. But until then, consider that since he has inherited some of your more... aquatic... traits. Reptilian and Amphibian young tend to mature quickly from hatchlings to adults and then enjoy long adulthoods. It is possible that this is the case for William."
Alexander looked at Willie with a frown and said, "I suppose."
Wesley squatted in front of Willie and said, "Say Poppa... Poppa."
Willie, happy to be receiving attention said, "Da da."
Alexander watched, transfixed. Then he squatted next to Wesley and said to Willie, "Say Poppa... Poppa."
Willie turned his attention to his poppa and happily said, "Pa pa."
Then he turned and looked at Wesley and said, "Da da."
Wesley and Alexander sat in shock as they realized what was happening. To prove the theory, Wesley moved behind the stroller, out of Willie's sight. "Pa pa pa pa pa."
At a look from Alexander, they traded places and Willie said, "Da da da da."
The two men were about to explode into cheers of happiness when movement caught their attention.
Cordelia's body began to tremble. Alexander and Wesley moved to either side of her reclining form. They held on to her as the trembling became a full fledged seizure. They both laid hands on her and tried to restrict her movement without hurting her.
"What else can happen?" Alexander asked, then received an 'I can't believe you said that' look from Wesley.
Before Alexander could say anything in his defense, Cordelia's back arched, her head tilted back, and a bluish black shadow flew out of her mouth as she hoarsely screamed.
Finally, after agonizing moments her body relaxed.
Wesley noticed that she wasn't breathing. Without hesitation Wesley began to perform CPR.
After three rounds of chest compressions and breathing into her mouth, she gasped for air.
Wesley could feel her heart beating under his hand.
Then, with eyes still closed she said in a raspy voice, "Ewwwwwww!"
Then she licked her dry lips, furrowed her brow in concentration and said questioningly, "Wesley?" and opened her eyes.
"Cordelia?" Wesley asked breathlessly.
"You can take your hand off my boob now." She said with a weak smile.
* * * * *
After a few minutes of trying to make Cordelia comfortable and a bottle of water, the question and answer session began.
"Why am I so weak? And what happened to Doyle?" She asked weakly but with intensity.
Wesley and Alexander looked at each other then down at Cordelia.
Alexander was finally composed enough to ask, "What is the last thing you remember Cordy?"
"We were on this ship, trying to help a bunch of half-demons escape from some crazy nazi type demons that wanted to kill anyone with even a drop of human blood. Doyle was going to try to destroy this human killing thing they had. He kissed me for luck and then I was here." Cordelia said tiredly.
Wesley felt that he had to tell her the truth, "Ms. Chase, the events you are speaking of occurred nearly four years ago."
"Oh my God, I can't believe this." Cordelia sat in stunned disbelief, then said, "What happened to my hair?"
* * * * *
Gunn led Angel and Lorn toward the room where the others were waiting. He stopped to survey the situation and heard what was being said.
"Buffy the Vampire Layer can do Angel AND Spike and no one cares. I have a couple nights with Spike and I'm a whore?" Xander huffed indignantly.
Then they heard a female voice say, "Yep."
Gunn entered the room and stood in shock at the sight of Cordelia laying awake and aware on the floor.
Angel and Lorn walked in next, Lorn was frozen, much the same as Gunn but Angel ran to Cordelia and gathered her into his arms.
"Uh, Angel? I don't know what our relationship was like in the last four years but as far as I remember, this wasn't in the job description." She said with as much menace as she could muster.
There was a quick recap from Wesley of how Cordelia had regained consciousness followed by an equally quick recap from Angel of what Riley wanted.
"Why do you think he was trying to convince me of that rediculous story?" Angel asked in genuine puzzlement.
"Probably because he believes it, he's unusually stupid, even for a human." Alexander said with a grin.
Wesley, Gunn and Cordelia gave an indignant "Hey!" as Alexander laughed.
"I was just kidding guys." Alexander said with a smile. Then he remembered the other major event of the day.
He squatted in front of Willie and said, "Say Poppa."
And Willie obliged with a "Pa pa."
Then Wesley moved beside Alexander, Willie saw him and said, "Da da."
Angel moved to Alexander's other side and Willie noticed, he looked up at Angel with an angry expression and said, "Blah!"
* * * * *
Lorn led the group through tunnels, back alleys and finally into a seedy looking neighborhood. There weren't any problems traveling except trying to keep Cordelia quiet about where Angel's hands were while he was carrying her.
As the group walked inside a ratty looking little home they were amazed at the beauty inside the house. The place was comfortable and welcoming. A familiar voice came out of the back of the house. "There you are! Oh my, let me see the little one. Isn't he precious, what did you name him?" The Shamenka asked in a rush.
"William Jesse Harris, Ma'am." Alexander said with a smile.
"Liam, you're looking much better than when last I saw you." She said with a knowing smile.
Angel just answered with a sheepish, "Yes ma'am."
"Please, put the young lady down on the sofa, I suppose you boys have important things to discuss. Why don't you go on out to the kitchen while I talk with the young lady and tend to the child?" The Shamenka said in a tone that meant 'do it now'.
* * * * *
The men-folk met in the kitchen, talking and arguing, as men do, until they came up with a plan. Lorn, Gunn and Angel each left the house to gather trusted men to aid them. The first stage of the plan was simple. Recon, follow the men guarding the Hyperion and find out how many there are, where they stay, what routes they take, and the like.
Gunn arrived back at the house first, he had four men and a woman with him, all obviously skilled fighters. They were gathered in the kitchen, drinking coffee and leaning on counters when Angel arrived with six stout vampires. The vampires and the homies stared each other down for a moment until Lorn walked in leading six of the biggest, ugliest demons that anyone had ever seen.
After some uncomfortable introductions, everyone was told what was going on and sent to do their reconnaissance. They were going to watch the soldier boys, and as long as the soldiers stayed put, nothing would happen, but the minute they made a move to take the hotel... Let's just say there would be some fat and happy demons and vampires if the soldiers made that move.
* * * * *
Angel, Xander, Gunn and Lorn made their way back into the Hyperion via the tunnels. The Shamenka had agreed to care for Cordy and Willie with Wesley's help until the Riley problem had been resolved.
Angel began making telephone calls to various vampires, all of whom said the same things to him. Demons were leaving L.A. and heading for Ohio. If any demons were arriving here, they weren't staying.
When Angel had completed his last call he summoned Gunn to the phone to make his series of calls. And all the calls had the same result. Next Xander made a series of calls, then came a series of calls made by Lorn, although no one but Lorn knew what he was saying, for authenticity's sake, he made the calls.
Before Xander got on the phone to make the final call he asked, "Isn't this plan kind of obvious? I mean, it just stinks of a setup."
Angel considered Xander's words and asked, "Do you remember how you first described Riley to me?"
"Yeah, I said he was dumb as a sack of doorknobs."
"Have you changed your mind?" Angel asked with a smile.
"Then why don't you make the call that will remove all his doubts?" Angel said happily.
Xander picked up the phone and dialed, a moment later he said, "Buffy?"
"Xander? Oh God! It's great to hear from you. How are you? I got your email, how's William? You should have called sooner, we've been so worried!" She rambled.
"Woah Buff, before we catch up, I have a business question for you. How are things going with your hellmouth?..."
And as they had planned, Buffy told Xander how the Cleveland hellmouth was busier than Sunnydale ever was and how the demon population was nearly as big as the human population.
About an hour later Xander finally hung up the phone and rubbed his ear. "If that didn't do it, I don't know what will." He commented as he walked around the lobby.
"All we can do now is sleep and wait for the call." Angel said, and the group of men went their separate ways to get some rest.
The next morning Angel put the icing on the cake by calling Riley and telling him that he couldn't find any evidence of a demon underground but he had heard from reliable sources that Cleveland was nearly overrun.
Within an hour of Angel's call to Riley, there was a call from one of Gunn's scouts saying that the soldier boys were packing up and heading out.
* * * * *
Two days later in the lounge of the Hyperion hotel, Willie crawled across the floor at full speed and grabbed onto Angel's pants leg trying to pull himself to stand. When he lost his grip he yelled, "Blah!"
Angel just smiled indulgently as the frustrated Willie scooted across the floor and tried the same technique with Wesley's pant leg. When he lost his grip this time, he got an angry look and screamed, "Blah!"
The entire group of adults was now watching the child try to stand. Willie went to his poppa's leg and strained and pulled until he managed to pull himself fully to standing. He looked around the happy faces of the adults who were clapping and cheering.
When Willie looked into his Poppa's eyes he said, "Blah! Blah! Bloody 'ell"
AN: I know, I know. You wanted me to turn Riley inside out over a long period of time. Sorry, my guys are just too nice to do that. But if it helps you to know, I actually gave him a fate worse than death. (I'll let you decide whether I'm talking about Buffy or Cleveland.)