New Day Dawning


Author: starlet2367 (Kelley)
Feedback: Yes please!
Rating: PG-13, 'cause Cordy says one cuss word.
Summary: C/A post-ep for Provider. And, yup, it's a traditional post-ep. I wrote it fast, edited it minimally, and didn't send it thru beta. What you see is what you get--and I really hope you like what you see.
Spoilers: .Up through Provider
Disclaimer: Nope, not mine.
Distribution: You betcha. Just ask me so I know where to come and visit.
Note: Hey, Gracie! This one's for you!

The smell of coffee woke her. Or maybe it was the "chink" of a ceramic mug hitting the bedside table. Either way, she was awake. And it was obviously morning. "Thanks, Dennis," she murmured.

"You're welcome," came a deep voice.

She opened her eyes. The pillowcase was the wrong color. And so were the sheets and the comforter and.... "Angel," she remembered. She turned over and sat up, pushing her hair out of her eyes.

He was standing by the bed, already dressed in a black sweater and pants. His hair was wet, little droplets clinging to the ends he'd combed into careful spikes. "Hey," he smiled, and slipped his hands in his pockets.

"Hi," she said. "Musta fallen asleep." She was too used to him seeing her in all states of dishabille to be self-conscious, but she had to admit, it was a little strange waking up to find him bringing her coffee.

She reached out sleepily to pick up the cup. "Thanks," she smiled.

"You're welcome," he smiled back, the corners of his eyes making those little crinkly lines she'd recently begun to notice. "Sorry, though, not a ghost."

"Nope. Just a vamp." She took a sip and her eyebrow rose. "Who makes damn good coffee."

He sat down next to her and the mattress shifted under his weight. "Wish I could take credit for it. But Fred got to the coffee pot before I did."

"Good old Fred." Cordy yawned, covering her mouth with her hand. "What time is it?"

"About 7:30."

She set the cup down on the bedside table, which she noticed he'd cleared off sometime in the night. His leather coat had disappeared, and so had the rubber ducky. How like him to be tidy. And quiet. "Wow, that *is* early. Did you get any sleep?"

She could have sworn he was blushing. "Yeah, actually." Across the room, Connor whimpered. Angel rose and padded into the nursery, his bare feet silent on the carpet. "What is it, little one?" he cooed, bending over the crib.

Cordy watched as he lifted his son to his chest. He might be her best friend, but that didn't stop her from noticing how sexy he was. There was just something about a guy with a baby that sent her system into overdrive. "Can I hold him?"

Connor was warm and sleepy, and his solid weight in her arms gave her a jolt of joy. She nuzzled his peach-fuzzed head. "I could get used to this," she cooed. "Yes, I could. I could get used to seeing you first thing in the morning." She dropped butterfly kisses all over his face, thrilled when he blew a bubble at her.

"God, how can you ever...?" She glanced up to find Angel staring at her, an odd look on his face. "What?"

He shook his head. "Uh, nothing. How can I ever what?"

She blinked, momentarily undone by what she thought she saw in his eyes. But, of course, it couldn't be. Because, first, a sleep-fuzzed woman holding a baby was hardly her idea of sexy, and second, it was Angel. Her best friend. "Put him down," she finished, finally. "How can you ever put him down?"

Angel smiled and his eyes traveled over her, still cocooned in the sheets, arms full of sleeping child. She'd never felt more beautiful. And that scared the crap out of her.

"It's hard, sometimes," he admitted.

She nodded and kissed Connor's cheek, ignoring her thumping heart. "Did he eat?"

"Yeah. I fed him about an hour ago. What about you? You want some breakfast?"

Cordy nodded. "In a while. I've gotta get out of these clothes. I feel all icky."

Angel sat next to her and rubbed his hand over Connor's head. His fingers brushed Cordy's collarbone, light as feathers. "Don't look icky," he said, letting his hand rest there, real and solid against the two of them.

"Total guy," she muttered. "Connor, your daddy is a total guy."

"What? Just 'cause I don't think you look icky, I'm a guy?"

"Well, aren't you?" In her arms, Connor twitched and his eyes blinked open.

Angel blew out a breath, obviously stumped. "Well, yeah. What's wrong with being a guy?"

She patted Connor's bottom, gently soothing him back to sleep. "Nothing, I'm sure. But let's just say that sleeping in the clothes you wore the day before? Not very conducive to waking up feeling all fresh and shiny."

"I took off your shoes," Angel huffed. "I put you under the covers. Without waking you up, I might add. But I draw the line at clothing removal."

She rolled her eyes. "Probably a good idea. 'Cause then, you know, awkwardness. Thanks, by the way, for tucking me in. What did you do? Wander the halls like Heathcliff?"

He laughed and slid his hand away. She felt a little cooler without it, a little emptier. So she smoothed Connor's onesie, making sure the snaps weren't bothering him. His chest fluttered, in that light way of breathing babies have when they sleep. God, if her heart melted any more, she'd be a puddle.

"Yeah. That's me. Heathcliff. Actually," he picked up her coffee and took a sip, "Connor woke me up about 4:00, so we went to the couch and read."

"Little night owl," she said affectionately. "Just like his daddy."

His smile was warm and happy. "Yeah. I'm still not used to that."



"I'd say. D'you think you ever will be?"

"Maybe. In a few years." His smile grew. "By the time he gets to college."

Cordy laughed. "Well, here, he's asleep again. Take your little Magna and put him to bed. I've gotta get up and find something to wear."

"You want me to take you home?" He walked back to the nursery and put the sleeping baby into his crib. She saw him stand for a minute and look, long and deep.

"Nah," she said. "I've got some clothes downstairs. I'll just borrow Fred's shower."

He glanced up. "You can use mine. I've got extra towels."

Cordy finished her coffee and stood. "That's sweet, Angel. But, guy, remember? No lotion, no mascara, no hair dryer." She walked over to the crib, where they watched the sleeping baby for a few quiet moments. "Gotta get a Snugli," she whispered, helpless to keep from brushing Connor's loosely-clenched fist.

"What's a Snugli?" Angel whispered back, taking her hand and pulling her from the room.

"It's a baby sling. You put the baby in it and strap it on, and voila, free hands. Coulda used it last night with the groin-guys."

"The huh?" Angel followed her out into the hall, his fingers laced easily with hers.

"Oh, right. That was before you made that cool, and might I add, well-timed, leap through the skylight."

"Only way I could get into the place," he said, looking a little chagrinned. "I hate doing that. But sometimes...."

"Yeah, yeah. The life of a champion is never easy. Anyway, I went to rescue Fred, but it wasn't practical to take the stroller. So there I am, holding Connor, and no hands free. Only thing I could do was kick the guy in the nuts."

Angel flinched. "That's always a good defense."

"Yeah, well if they aren't wearing metal cups. I swear, that guy nearly broke my foot. I think it's still bruised." They both looked down, and sure enough, a large blue smudge covered her instep. "Darn it," she muttered. "See, if I'd had the Snugli, I could have strapped Connor to my back and really whaled on those guys."

Angel took her arm and stopped her descent down the stairs. "No more fighting with the baby." He looked stern and intimidating.

"Right. I know it's dangerous, but excuse me, menfolk not always around...."

"I know, to protect the womenfolk."

"Or the babies. So it was either I stay here and let Fred get shish-kabobbed, or Connor and I go to the rescue. Believe me, it wasn't my idea of a good decision, but it was the best one I could make at the time." She continued down the stairs and walked around the reception desk.

The phone was, mercifully, quiet, but the message light was blinking, which was a great sign. More business. More money. More clients. God, like they needed any more.

"Well, we'll have to figure something else out," Angel said.

"And in the meantime, I'm getting a Snugli." She walked to the coffee pot, picked up another mug, and filled it with the rich, black brew. "And a diaper bag. Kid totally needs a diaper bag."

Angel shrugged. "You know more about this than I do. If you say he needs that stuff, then go get it."

"Oh, hey, y'all," Fred said, coming into the office. She held a plate of toast and a mug of coffee. "You're here early," she said to Cordy. "Or late." She smiled. "Guess you fell asleep, huh? You need some clothes?"

Cordy shook her head and reached under her desk for her gym bag. "Nah, I'm good, but thanks. You sleep okay?"

"Like a baby. Starving, though."

"Me, too. But I totally need a shower first."

"Well, ya don't wanna use his," Fred said, glancing at Angel.

"That's what she said. Something about lotion. And mascara." He rolled his eyes. "Women."

Fred grinned. "Mysterious creatures, aren't we? Hey, Cordy, wanna join me for breakfast in the courtyard when you're done?"

Cordy smiled. "No, thanks. I think I'm gonna eat with Angel."

Fred smiled. "Okay. See you later?"

"You know it." Cordy watched as she walked out into the bright LA morning.

"Okay, gotta go get clean," she said, turning her smile to Angel. "You wanna put some waffles in the toaster?"

He nodded. "Sure thing."

She headed up the stairs, feeling well-rested and lighthearted. And happy. For the first time in years she felt plain-and-simple happy.

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