the pearl


At least once a day, Gunn kneels down in front of Cordelia, and hugs her stomach.

She complains, occasionally, talking about her ankles swelling and why he can't do it while she's sitting down, but, usually, she runs one hand over his shaved head, smiles, and softly repeats the day the doctor gave her.

He smiles at that, no matter how many times she tells him, and kisses her forehead when he stands. He's so proud — so very proud — because it's his baby — their baby — and everything's going to be perfect.

In a few months, the baby's going to be here, and Charles Gunn, who everyone swore was going to be dead within a year of leaving home, is going to be a father, and he doesn't care how many nights without sleep he's going to go, he doesn't care how noisy the baby's going to be, they're having a baby, and it's his.

And he's happy.


Cordelia, when the idea came up, could think of a millions reasons not to have a baby.

Her waist, her hips, the weight gain, the long nights, the swollen ankles, and the migraines, which, okay, were already there, but with morning sickness, it's always worse.

But when the test turned "positive," her complaints stopped. She was happy — she had to be happy, because Gunn was so happy.

She was happy.


Wesley watches Cordelia and Gunn carefully, making sure Gunn doesn't overwhelm her with his happiness.

She is happy, she keeps telling Wesley that, but he was the one who found her curled up against the wall, sobbing almost hysterically the day the baby first moved inside of her. She blamed the mood swings, but Wesley was there, and he knows what she was crying about — feeling that alien life move and realizing that she wasn't in control of her body — again.

He expects a phone call in the morning soon, when she wakes up one day and suddenly recalls being in the same position years ago — alone and hugely pregnant. He'll talk to her soothingly, remind her that she's not alone, that she's never been alone. Not this time.

He held her hand during the amniocentesis. She refused to let go even after the needle was gone, bruising his hand until the nurse carried the sample out of the room. The baby was normal, and he saw her repeat that a few times — a mantra against her past.

He can see her tear up occasionally, only for the briefest moments and never when Gunn is around. If he goes to her, she wipes her eyes, smiles brightly, and doesn't speak of what happened.

She's trying to be strong. For all of them. It's her pride, her dignity...

And Wesley stands behind her, ready to hold her when she needs support.


At least once a day, Cordelia's hand runs over Gunn's scalp, and she whispers the due date of his baby.

At least once a day, Wesley hands her a glass of water, or helps her up, or rubs her shoulders comfortingly.

At least once a day, both of them thank her. Not just for being their surrogate, not just for wanting them to have a child together, and not just for taking them seriously when the question first came up.

They thank her for being her.

This Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at