Xander: "How can I say this clearly?
I don't like you.
At the end of the day, I pretty much think you're a vampire. "
Xander stood across the street looking at Angel's new HQ. OK, he's
impressed. The place is huge, it must've cost a fortune, and maybe there
is the answer to the mystery of why Cordelia Chase is playing Batgirl
to the Dark Knight. He finds that easier to believe than dealing with
the idea that his ex, the amazing uberbitch had changed. In his experience
people don't change, not really. And when they do, not necessarily a
good thing. See: Willow, Faith, Riley...
*Riley, sitting there in the shadows, as a vampire bends over his outstretched
Only a few windows lighted in the darkness of the Italianate edifice.
He checks his watch…2 a.m. Kinda late for Wesley or Cordelia,
which was of the good. He's here to see Angel, and the last thing he
needs is witnesses.
He crosses the deserted street, and strolls up to the elaborate entrance.
The door is open, and a lamp at the desk casts a faint haze of light
in the massive lobby, but there's no-one in sight.
"Hey, anyone here?" he yells. No answer.
From outside it looked like the lighted windows were all on the 3rd
floor. He takes the elevator, wishing it was a little noisier. Last
thing he wants is to have Angel think he's trying to sneak up on him.
Cuz, personally, he likes living.
3rd floor, big, broody vampires. When the elevator doors slide open
he sees light spilling out of a room into the dark hallway. When Xander
peers through the open door he sees Angel sitting at the desk, staring
intently at something before him. Whatever it is has his full attention.
He lifts his mug to his mouth, sips and swallows, eyes never leaving
the desk top. He looks up as Xander steps into the room. Angel licks
his lips. Doesn't say anything, and there's something a little glazed,
an emptiness in his eyes that makes Xander want to go away and come
back some other time...say 5 or 10 years. Say 10 steps backwards to
get out of the room, 30 to the elevator...
"Xander?" Angel says finally, his eyes coming into focus.
"Hi," Xander says. He's standing in front of the desk now,
and he can see what Angel was so wrapped up in. It's a 8 x 10 of a blond
woman, a cop, very crisp in her uniform; it's lying on top of an open
file, he can read a newspaper headline "Kate Locksley Youngest
Woman to Make Detective."
"She's pretty," he says, making conversation. "Friend
"Sometimes," Angel says, closing the file and dropping it
into a drawer. Right. From the way he'd been staring at her picture,
Xander figures we're talking "orgasm friend", only this is
Angel, and that's not supposed to be part of Deadboy's deal. At least
it wasn't last he heard. Probably another change Xander didn't get the
"Kinda late, Xander, what are you doing here?"
The million-dollar question. What was he doing here? Why had he snuck
out of Sunnydale and driven for two hours in the middle of the night
to see someone he still doesn't exactly like...even if he'd saved his
life more than once.
"It's Riley," he says, and stops.
"We've met," Angel says, more than usually deadpan. Wild
guess, they didn't exactly strike it off.
"He's been kinda…off lately. Pulling all these risky stunts,
when we're out on patrol, that is, when he bothers to show up…
Buffy hasn't noticed, cause of all the stuff with her mom…"
Angel nods, so Xander guesses Willow is still keeping Cordelia up to
date. "Well uh, I saw him going into this warehouse and I thought
maybe he was going to get himself into trouble, so I followed him and,
uh looked through a window..." It's like talking to a cat, or a
wall, no sign of interest in his pale face.
"He was sitting in there, letting this skanky vampire chick suck
on his arm. Letting her feed on him. And after awhile he stopped her,
gave her some money, and left." No reaction for what feels like
a really long time, then.
"Have you told Buffy?"
"Uh, no. She's got a lot to deal with right now, and if I tell
Giles he'd try and do something. And Buffy would find out; Giles isn't
real good with covert."
"So, why are you here? You want me to talk to Riley?" Angel
asks with a papercut smile.
"Uh, No. I just…" Angel waits.
"I just wanted to know.. I wanted to ask you... I thought getting
bit *hurt*." Remembering the tears in Willow's eyes after Harmony's
attack. "So why the hell would he pay for it? Is it some kind of
a S & M thing?"
More silence. Gosh, it must have been fun for Buffy dating laconic-boy,
Xander thinks, squirming under Angel's gaze. Wondering if he's ever
going get an answer. Angel lifts his mug, but it must be empty, puts
it back down.
"Mostly, yeah. If the vampire's just feeding, trying to drain
as quick as possible, it's gonna hurt. But it can feel good, really
good," Angel says.
"If you like, I can show you."
"What?" Xander backs away. Thinking: whoops, Angelus, and
where'd he hide the bodies? But no, he's still sitting there, can't
quite manage harmless, but not making any threatening moves. Just waiting.
Dark eyes never leaving Xander's.
"Xander, you could have phoned. You didn't need to come here so
I could *tell* you what you want to know."
It's fucking embarrassing being busted like that. Having all his lame
rationalizations about how he couldn't trust either Giles or Spike to
tell him the truth. About how he wanted to see Angel, look into his
eyes when he asked him, so he could be sure... Should have known better
than to try that bullshit on someone whose been around for a couple
"But...you're a guy."
"Are we talking about sex Xander?"
"No! And Hell No!" Takes a step back.
"Long as we're clear." Xander's eyes wander from Angel's
face, and notices his hands, huge and pale, flexing on the tabletop.
"Only way you're going to really know. But it's up to you."
And just sits there, done talking, with that expression that says he's
got all the time in the world.
Which should be his cue to turn around, and walk out of there with
what remains of his dignity. But the look on Riley's face, as he sat
there has been haunting him ever since he saw it. Serenely ecstatic,
like the Buddha getting a blowjob. And he just has to know what feels
that good; nothing in his whole damn life has ever felt as good as Riley
Mr. Self-destructive. His dad's right, there is something really wrong
with him. After all, his life is going pretty good: he's out of the
basement, he has a job he actually likes, and there's a beautiful woman
in love with him who gives him all the mind-blowing orgasms he can stand.
But there's a hollow at his center that nothing seems to fill.
And he knows he's being stupid, no scratch that, he's way past stupid
when he steps back toward the desk, and nods.
"O.K., show me."
Angel gets up from the chair. "Take off your shirt," he says.
"What? Oh." Having 2nd and 3rd and 4th thoughts about the
whole thing even as he turns his back to obey. When he turns around,
Angel is on his side of the desk. Hand out. He takes the shirt, and
hangs it neatly over the back of a chair. It's cold in the room, Xander
shivers. Can feel Angel's eyes on him, noticing.
"Sorry, still haven't been able to get the heat working. Cordelia
has a space heater under her desk. I can go get it."
"No. It's O.K."
Angel shakes his head. "Don't want you catching cold." Steps
away into the deeper shadows of what must be his bedroom, and a moment
later, tosses Xander a robe. Heavy black silk, way too big across the
shoulders, but it cuts some of the chill.
"Sit down." Offering his chair to him. Nice big leather chair.
Xander sits down gingerly, jumps when Angel comes up behind him and
touches him. Cool fingers brushing softly along his neck. "Here?"
"No!" Thinking of Anya, Buffy, and conversations he really
doesn't want to have, ever.
"Yeah, too public," Angel agrees.
"Cephalic? Radial?" Angel murmurs, carefully manicured fingernails
tracing the veins in his arms, then down to his thigh. "Femoral?"
"Hey!" Angel removes his hand. Xander suspects a chuckle.
"The arm then, the elbow's best." Taking his arm in a firm
grip and turning it upwards, rubbing the crook with a large thumb. Looming
over him, and maybe he should have just asked Riley to hook him up.
Angel drops to his knees, presses closely against Xander's leg. The
casual strength with which he takes hold of Xander's arm and stretches
it out on the table nearly setting off his barely suppressed panic.
Angel lowers his head and Xander shivers at the sensation of soft lips,
Angel's lips, cool and smooth on his skin. He lifts his head, looks
at Xander, giving him one last chance to back out. Xander nods. Takes
a deep breath as Angel lowers his head again. Feels something shift
and harden against his skin and then...
It hurts. Pressure and pain as the fangs slice through his skin, and
it hurts more when he starts to suck. Burning sensation as his blood
is pulled out and it fucking hurts, and keeps hurting. He tries to free
himself, but it's too late for that, Angel's face is welded to his arm.
Tries to say something but the words don't come, because, oh...
The pain recedes, overwhelmed by the feeling of being enveloped, of
being taken in and possessed by Angel's teeth, his mouth. Everything
fading away, all the frustrations, the old wounds, scoured and sucked
away, all of it flowing into Angel. Feels way better than any of the
drugs he tried back in jr. high, before becoming a Scoobie gave him
something like a purpose. He hears the gulps and swallowing, and part
of him recoils, but it feels too good for him to really care. The bones
grind together under Angel's hands as he kneads his arm, trying to keep
up the flow and Xander wills his heart to push it faster into Angel's
mouth, wants to give it all to him, not caring what happens when it's
all gone, only wanting this to go on forever... happily letting himself
be pulled down into the black hole of Angel's bottomless need. Letting
He's a little surprised to wake up at all. He opens his eyes to find
himself lying on his back, looking up at the ceiling. He feels faint.
There's the smell of...eggs?
"You're awake." Xander turned his head to see Angel, holding
a tray. "Made you some food."
Angel with a half smile on his face and Xander much prefers original
stone-faced Angel. Xander turns away, and sits up, and follows the enticing
smell of food to the table where Angel has set down eggs, bacon, toast
and orange juice. Eats it all. Figuring he needs it. He's surprised
to find it's actually pretty good. He looks down at his arm. There's
a big bandaid covering the wound, so it wasn't as bad as it felt...at
the beginning. He shivers at the thought of how good it had felt to
be swallowed whole...
"Now you know," Angel says.
Xander nods, still not looking at him.
"Are you going to tell her?"
"No." Glances over at Angel. Who smiles and nods. Satisfied.
"Come on, I'll show you where you can sleep."
Xander got up, and followed him into the darkness of the hotel.