Mishap     |   home
Chapters 1-3   |   Chapters 4-6   |   Chapters 7-9
Chapters 4-6

Chapter 4

Days later Angel sighed as he studied the boy's pale, drawn face.  Finally Xander was asleep.  Resting the book he had been pretending to read on the table, he stood up and stretched tired, tensed muscles.  Dr. Adams gave him a quick look then looked away.  Resting the stethoscope on Xander's chest he listened carefully to the reassuring thump-thump of the boy's heart.  

Pulling back, he took off the stethoscope and packed it in his bag.  "He seems to be stabilized and his heart's beating normally again.  I think we're gonna hafta monitor his progress even more closely.  On a side note, it seems like little Misty's health is improving dramatically," he said dryly.  Already the tiny Nestor's legs had grown phenomenally in the five days since she had leeched herself onto the boy.  Hell, you could practically see the lengthening of her legs if you watched long enough.  It was like stop-animation photography.

He hid a wince at the flat look the vampire gave him.  The fact that Angel didn't give a damn about the little demon girl didn't escape anybody; all the vampire was concerned with was making sure the boy lived.   Giving a cryptic answer about a burgeoning witch and a Watcher, what they would do to him if Xander died wasn't funny.

The breathing difficulty that frequented Xander was relatively easy to handle.  Get the boy to calm down, and gradually he would regain his ability to breathe.  Though getting Xander to that state was difficult, but Angel seemed to be able to manage it with gentle ease.  

At least until now.  This morning they learned a very important lesson: if Xander didn't calm down, and quickly, his terror would trigger Misty's.  And this was something they discovered that should be avoided at all cost.  This concerned Dr. Adams.  It was what had him barreling to the vampire's quarters in the early hours of the morning.  Being confronted by a panicky snarling vampire was not conducive to him helping, though.  

Those damnable little filaments stopped Xander's heart!

Slumping wearily in a chair, he decided that being a doctor was a wonderful thing.  CPR was a beautiful, miraculous application in the medical field.  It should be heralded as the most marvelous thing since penicillin, he thought dreamily coming down from his euphoria of saving the boy's life.

"Is he gonna be alright?" Angel asked quietly.  Crossing the room on silent feet he gently traced the curve of the boy's cheek, cursing himself for bringing the lad down here.  

"Yeah, I just need to alter his meds a bit," Adams said with a weary sigh.  He regarded the way the vampire hovered over the boy.  He heard the rumors circulating about the two of them, the fighting, the kissing, the sudden illness that struck the young boy.  It had most of the tenderhearted females sighing over the tragic romantic duo.  The feisty, spirited young boy and his dashing, older would-be lover.  He snorted in contempt.  Idiots!  One and all.  

Enough visits in their quarters, he knew what was what.  And if it wasn't for moments like this, he would have thought the only thing Angel felt for the boy was grudging friendship.  

The boy felt something for Angel.  Nobody could fake that kind of happiness when someone walked in the door like Xander did.  Every time Angel had to leave, the boy drooped.  Sometimes he had to quickly disguise a laugh in a cough.  Xander had an uncanny ability to channel an incredible amount of pathos in those expressive eyes.  Only when Angel returned did the boy perk up; a soft glow in those wide doe-like eyes.  Which was immediately countered by the snarky, irascible comments that spewed from Xander's lips.    

He had a feeling that the snippy exchanges between the two had its foundation in sexual tension.  Dr. Adams hid a sigh as he settled in one of the comfy chairs Angel had procured from somewhere.  Unfortunately, he well understood why the demon was playing it cool and wasn't making any overtures.  

Human males were touchy enough about their sexuality.  Especially the young ones.  To even allow a hint that Angel pressured Xander into a sexual relationship would be enough to destroy whatever chance of a bond between the two before it had even begun.   Dr. Adams shook his head.  No...Angel had the right idea.  If Xander wanted him, the boy would have to make the move himself.  But he had a feeling hell would freeze over before the boy worked up enough gumption to do so.   For one so young, Xander was still bound by outdated morals of conventionality.  Sighing, the old man levered himself out of the chair.  Muttering quietly to Angel that he was staying in one of the empty quarters two doors down, he left the two alone.  

After blowing out the lantern, Angel slid into bed and gently pulled the slumbering boy closer to him.  At pains to avoid jostling Misty and doing unknown what kind of damaged to Xander.  He stroked the soft disheveled locks at the restless murmur the boy gave.  Dropping a kiss on the pale forehead, he smiled sadly when Xander sighed and nestled closer to him.  Only in these precious moments could he let his guard down and be close.  

The room was softly illuminated by the fire, its' warm glow, a flickering pattern of shadows on the walls.  And it created a false sense of intimacy that he found hard to fight.  He tried.  Dear God he tried to fight, but he felt like a man drowning.  That is, if he still needed to breathe he would be a man drowning, he corrected himself.  In the darkness, it was as if all their defenses were down.  The revealing, meandering conversations during the night gave him a sharp insight into the boy.  To listen to Xander talk, about his home life, Willow, his feelings about Buffy, about his respect and admiration for Rupert…they hung the moon and the stars in his life.  And it was just bittersweet.  Because, although Xander waxed eloquent about everyone else, the boy had nothing good to say about his own self.  Just a mocking, wryly amused rhetoric that sounded as if he was reiterating what someone had drummed into the boy's head at an early age.  

Jokingly referring to himself as an immature little boy, claiming that for the first time his dad was gonna be proud to be proven right about something. But Angel could hear the naked, emotional pain behind the jesting.  Though why a father would beat a child down before it even had a chance to grow, he had no idea.

Maybe to make himself look like a big man?  And he had to wonder just how much Xander had unconsciously patterned himself after his father.

But the boy at least recognized what he was doing and was making an effort to change.  Step by step, he laboured to discard the heavy burden of his father's outlook that he had unknowingly carried.  Struggling to remake himself into someone he would be proud to look at in a mirror.

He and Xander had spent long hours, comfortably sprawled on the trunk, warmed by the gentle flames of the fire.  He sat with the boy carefully ensconced between his legs reading poetry and books from obscure authors.  Dissecting the meaning of various poets and authors.  One in particular, 'Myself' by Edgar Guest, left Xander quiet and reflective. At times, he could hear the boy whispering passages to himself as if to enforce the meaning in his soul.  

I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able, as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand, with the setting sun,
And hate myself for things I have done.

I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself, as I come and go,
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of a man I really am;
I don't want to dress up myself in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men's respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know
That I'm bluster and bluff and empty show.

I can never hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself, and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.

The setting, the now familiar surroundings created an effect of drawing them closer.  Delicately weaving bonds of companionship as each man cautiously let down the defensive barriers that kept the world at bay and their hearts protected.  Cradling the boy in his arms, they quietly talked, revealing much of themselves.  Softly amazed at the way some of their views and opinions often coincided.   In the easy companionship that slowly grew, they could argue cheerfully with one another when they disagreed on one subject or another.

Angel groaned softly.  Of all people that he found sexually attractive, why did it have to be Xander?!  What was with these Sunnydale people?  Was he going to fall for Rupert next?  Or who knows,  maybe Willow was next?  He thought wildly.  Slowly an image of Rupert sprawled naked on a bed, a come hither look on his face.  Whoa! Now that's a scary thought!  He shuddered slightly.  His balls drew up as if in agreement to the sheer horror.  And at the thought of fucking the shy Willow, profound dismay had his stomach churning.  No, I can definitely rule out both of them, was the rueful thought.  

It had to be the fact that he was taking care of the boy that fostered the unwilling attraction.  That and the vulnerability that was revealed, as well as the trust the youth gave him.  Not that Xander had much of a choice, there really wasn't anyone that could take care of such intimate details as bathing, brushing Xander's teeth and combing his hair.  

At first, it was deeply mortifying for them both.  The young man's face was beet red the first two times a cloth was shoved between his legs.  A look that changed quickly to wrath when a toothbrush was shoved into his mouth.  But gradually, Xander became resigned to being bathed by a man he once claimed was evil in disguise.  

Angel paused, regarding the boy's sleeping face with brooding eyes.  Not that anybody would claim Xander looked his best.  What with the dark circles under his eyes.  And despite their best efforts, the boy was becoming increasingly gaunt as Misty's voracious need to repair her damaged body slowly consumed him.  

Only a madman would find such a person attractive.  Or a horny man, Angel added wryly.  Sighing, he settled himself closer to the unconsciously tempting body, and ordered himself to sleep.  Firmly deciding to deal with all of this another day.

~ ~Xander sat on the white, pristine beach with Willow and Jesse.  Quietly talking and laughing with them, he shifted sand between his fingers as he watched Misty play in the surf.  One last hurrah.  He sighed, their time in this beautiful dreaming place was coming to an end.   In an unusual introspective mood, he sat quietly beside the memories of his friends and examined his feelings.  In the short time that he had been co-joined with Misty, his whole world had shifted almost 90 degrees off it's axis.  He was no longer the shallow, immature boy that sprouted so many unbelievable `truths' with so much conviction.  He cringed remembering the words that dripped from his lips.  

For a while, he had felt cast adrift, anchorless and unsure of who or what he was.  His world, his very self had changed and become so different than what he once used to be.  Jostling confusion was paramount in him, and he was no longer able to see in any direction.  He couldn't go back.  And while the path was dark and smoothy, he felt a deep abhorance of returning to that ignorant piece of shit.  

Yet the path in front of him was cloudy and hazy.  He couldn't see, and couldn't help but wonder what lay ahead.  It had scared him more than anything.  His thoughts turned to Angel, the one he secretly called friend.   The man of the golden voice.   

Angel was always there.   His voice a shining beacon, calling him, showing him the way past the jagged, painful rocks that tripped him up.   Whispering comfort, giving him a hand up when he stumbled and fell.   A shield that he was able to shelter behind, slowly growing strong enough to stand on his own.  Teaching him, all without a word, how to be the man he was meant to be.  

If ever he found a way to repay Angel for everything the vampire had done for him, he would take it.  And count the cost later.  

Xander sighed and looked around at the beautiful dreamwold of sun, sand and fun.   It was so dark when he was conscious that she always got scared, so together they made this place to ease her loneliness and keep connected.  There were toys aplenty for them both.  He got to relive his childhood.  A good one this time with a warm and loving father that looked and sounded remarkably like Giles, and a mother that hugged and loved him like Joyce Summers.  He even introduced Misty to his memories of Jesse and Willow.  To Buffy and Giles.  Though she was hesitant to get too near them the last two.   However, Willow and Jesse kept her from being lonely while he was awake.

He took a long look at the imaginary purple sky and smiled.  Misty's contribution to this dreamworld that they jointly created.  The turquoise sea and white sand was his.  He vetoed her idea of living underground; they compromised on the tiny dark shack.  

He smiled at her barking laughter when the waves crashed over her.  As expected she came galloping back to him.  Laughing he extended the towel for her and swept her wet shivering body in his arms.  Huge mint-green eyes blinked cheerfully up at him, a mischievous grin playing on her tiny face.  Unnoticed, Willow and Jesse faded away.  Back to the place they resided, deep within the wellspring of his memories.

"You silly girl, I told you the waves were too rough," he teased gently; briskly rubbing her rotund, furry little body.  

//"Did not,"// she immediately chimed back at him.  Although her lips didn't move, he heard her loud and clear.  

"Did so," he smirked back at her.  Sadness eating away at him despite his playfulness.

//"Nuh uh."// Long simian arms wrapped around his neck as he stood up carefully.  He turned and made his way back to the small shack that served as their home.

Her skinny arms tightened before she lay her head on his shoulder with a weary sigh.  //"When we get on the outside, will you still be my friend?"//

Xander paused in midstep, his eyes watering slightly.  "Always, babygirl," he answered hoarsely, his arms holding her closer.

//"But I hurt you...!"// came her tiny scared voice.

"I know...and I forgive you.  'Sides, I hurt someone special too and now look at me and him."

//"And you're so in looooove with him,"// she chanted mischievously up at him and wiggled hastily out of his arms.  She ran laughing from their home, her sadness forgotten in her endless quest to tease her friend.

Xander blushed and charged after her.  "I so do NOT!  He's my friend!"

Catching up to her, he swung the giggling little demon back into his arms.  Blinking, they gazed solemnly at each other.  

//"Promise me that we'll be friends..."//

"Pinky promise," he replied through the thickening of his throat.  He hugged her close before stepping into their one bedroom shack.  

They were going home.~ ~

Xander sighed in his sleep and his body made a slight jerk.  It woke Angel up instantly.  The vampire sat up and peered at the sleeping boy.  Then blinked.  And blinked again.  Hurriedly he snatched Xander from the bed and put the boy in the comfortable chair.  Just in case.

Then he sent for Dr. Adams and the Nestors while keeping a careful watch on the piteously chirping bundle of fur.   There was no fucking way he was going near her!   He didn't care how the sounds tugged at his heart; `sides, he was dead.  His heart was supposed to be withered and dried up.  Or so he told himself as he tried to ignore the chirping child.

Xander yawned as he came awake.  He yelped in surprise at the vastly different place he now was in.   “Dude, warn a guy the next time,” he said mildly at the wild look Angel gave him.

After that, it was practically all over except for the fat lady singing.  Angel sat in awe at the glorious voice Tanglefoot had.  What ever she was saying or singing he badly wanted to make a recording.   Who knew Nestors had such beautiful voices?!

Gathering their daughter, the Nestor prepared to sweep from the room.  For the first time, Angel saw why Xander was so protective of Misty.  One look into those huge, melting eyes and he wanted to find the nearest dragon to slay for her.

Tanglefoot hesitated at the door.  Now that the crisis was past she was well within her rights to rescind their invited status into the Family Draken-dal.  But one look at her daughter, and another at how unnaturally thin the human had become and she thought better.  “Should you ever need assistance, your Family, Draken-dal, stands ready to help,” she said quietly to Angel.  She gave a slight bow to his human mate.

His daughter now firmly in his arms, Echo-in-Darkness watched quietly.  He changed subtly from the lighthearted young Nestor of the previous week.   It had been a most painful and sobering experience for the young father.  His first child, hurt and wounded.  And he wasn't able to comfort or be with her to avoid putting her in further danger.  He leaned gratefully against the reassuring bulk of his husband, Blazeroot.

A mournful chirp came from Misty; she peered at Xander with tragic eyes.  But at the slow smile he sent her, a mischievous sparkle began to take shape in her eyes.  He laughed weakly.  Once her feet finished growing, she was going to be a holy terror to her parents.  

With uncommon patience he held still while Dr. Adams checked him out.  He peeked at Angel a time or two.  Growing more puzzled by the overly casual pacing Angel was doing behind the doctor.   It almost reminded him of some kinda animal uneasy by interlopers in its den.  He turned his attention back to Dr. Adams, who was assuring him that the weakness in his limbs would pass.  Gathering his stuff, the old man brusquely told him to continue taking his medicine every day for the next 30 days and then left.

Xander eyed Angel.  During his examination, they had switched places.  He was back on the bed while the vampire lounged at the table.  Watching him.  Just freaking watching him with no expression on his face.   Although Angel had the poker face down pat, there was something different about this non-expression of his.   For one thing it was giving him the wigs.  He frowned.  But he wasn't scared.  He just had a feeling something…was going on that he couldn't see.  Whatever was happening was causing butterflies to grow in his stomach.

“So, how `bout them Dodgers?!” he exclaimed with false brightness.  Then groaned at the sheer stupidity of his words.   Note to self:  Think before speaking!

Angel allowed an amused smile to play across his face.  He knew he was making Xander nervous but he couldn't help it.  Deciding to take pity on the boy, he played along.  “Yeah, how `bout them?”  He smiled at the grateful look Xander gave him.  He got up and casually sauntered to the bed.  “Ready for your bath?”  Without giving the boy a chance to respond, he scooped Xander from the bed and headed for the bathroom.

Xander flushed.  Somehow without Misty between them, having Angel bath him felt…
Different.  “Uhm, maybe we could sorta postpone the bathing until I get my strength back…” he said hastily.  Giving an utterly false laugh, he continued, “Hey don't want you to have all the fun.”  Then quivered at the look Angel gave him.  An unreadable look descended on the vampire's face.  But there was some unnamable emotion that flared in the seemingly blank eyes that had his butterflies mutating into bats.

“I don't mind,” Angel said huskily as he lowered the boy into the stone bath.  Quickly he had the youth sprawled naked and blushing a furious red now that he had nothing covering his body.  Turning on the spigots to fill the bath, he adjusted the water and began bathing the gaunt young man.

Eyeing Angel's neutral expression, Xander thought unhappily that it was one thing for Angel to feed, bath and clothe him every day when he was really unable to do it himself.  But it was totally different when he didn't have Misty as a buffer.  Sinking into his reverie he paid little attention to Angel's action.  His thoughts dark and gloomy as he brooded on his situation.  With Misty gone there wasn't much of a barrier anymore between him and those broad hands.  Hands that washed him with rough enthusiasm.  Hands that were sweeping…his eyes widened and a tiny `eep' escaped his lips.

“Angel…!” His voice was shocked.

With a small smirk, Angel removed his caressing hand from the boy's genitals.  “I thought that would get your attention,” he remarked blandly, though a devilish look sparkled in his eyes.

Xander blinked.  “I would think you'd get anybody's attention with THAT move!  And what happed to simply saying, `Yo, Xander!' huh?!”  His voice was heated, and his face was a fiery red.

Angel sighed and wondered what ever happened to his calm and orderly life.  “I've been calling your name for three minutes,” he said patiently.  “But apparently your mind was elsewhere.”  There was a look of polite inquiry on his face.

Xander paused, just now noticing the cooling water.  “Oh…” he said in a small voice as Angel lifted him out of the tub into towel draped arms.  “Well, you didn't have to put your hands…down there,” he finished in a whisper.  And blushed again.

Laying the boy on the bed with the towel Angel smirked.  “It's no place my hands haven't been before.  `Sides, my way was much more fun,” he whispered back as he began toweling Xander off.

“For you, not for me!”  Xander insisted firmly. He flushed and looked away from the penetrating look Angel gave him.

Kindly Angel chose not to comment.  Slipping a pair of pajamas on Xander's lean body, he eased the drowsy youth back onto the bed before retreating to the bathroom to clean up.

By the time he finished, Xander was fast asleep once more.  Angel broodingly studied the dark half-circles under the pale translucent lids.  He sighed and shook his head at the boy's heedless foolishness.  If Xander was so interested in turning over a new leaf, he couldn't have picked a more stupid way to do so.  Despite everything they did, Misty still managed to siphon off more than a third of the boy's bodyweight.  Everything they fed Xander, seemed to go directly into Misty greedily consuming body, plus a significant reserve of the boy's bodyfat.  

Xander was gaunt and almost skeletal looking.  He looked like a hummingbird could kick his ass with one wing tied behind it's back.  Pathetic.  

And what flashed though his mind was a hard driving need to fuck the boy silly. Shocked by that thought, Angel stepped away from the bed.  Oh, I am so screwed, he moaned silently to himself.

Retreating to the overstuffed, comfortable chair he sat there.  Just studying the puzzling bundle of humankind that snored gently in the bed.  Round and round his thoughts circled in his mind, until wearily, he fell asleep.

*          *          *

To Angel's endless source of fascination, it took Xander a total of three days to regain his mobility.  Two more days to began causing trouble.  Oh, no it wasn't by himself that he caused it, Angel thought darkly.  He had help.  Lots of help from the irrepressible merrymakers, the Erosno demons.  

Now people were accosting him in the tunnels, some complaining about the pranks being waged on them and others to slap him on the back, laughing as they congratulated him on bringing a spot of fresh air in Undervale.  Always the central character was Xander.  The boy did this; the boy did that.  Or `did you see the look on Jerome's face when…?'

He had originally called upon the small clan to help Xander recover his strength.  The Erosnos were a good match for the boy.  Merry, jovial and always up for a good laugh.  It didn't hurt that Erosno demons were complete sensualists.  They were very tactile with everyone they met.  It would give Xander another opportunity to further his knowledge of demons.   Though he had made it very plain that in regard to any amorous activities, Xander was strictly off limits.  He ignored the knowing look in Jaile's silvery-blue, amused eyes.  

Now that he had time to come to his senses the question begged an answer: What the hell was he thinking when he thought the Erosno demons would be a good way for Xander to recover his strength?  Why?   He should have known that the boy would fit too well within the clan of laughing demons.

A snide inner voice slyly asked if he was jealous because the boy didn't seem to need him now?  Strongly, Angel protested that he wasn't.  Not really.  Well, Xander could at least look back when he ran off to play with THEM!   Shocked at his petulant thought,
Angel blinked coming back to himself, finding himself gazing into Xander's worried eyes.  

They were sitting opposite each other at a table in the dining room.  For once, choosing to eat their dinner among the native dwellers of the underground community.

“Deadboy…?  Angel…?  You okay in there?”  Xander whispered urgently.  He was concerned about the blank, stunned look that was in the vampire's eyes.  He cast a wary look around, flushing at some of the hostile looks still directed towards him.  Casting his eyes down, he chewed nervously on his lips.  Half-way certain that coming to the central dining room was a singularly bad idea.  But he wanted to get out of their living quarters; the atmosphere in there was starting to feel…strange.  

Looking up, he saw Skoal headed their way.  He groaned quietly.  Yep, coming to the dining room was definitely a huge, whoopin' bad idea.

In their quarters, he could keep the irritating blonde out, but in public…he shook his head.  In public he had to play nice and put up with the twisted little freak.  Damn bastard didn't know how to keep his hands to himself, he grumbled silently.  Like Angel really liked being touched all the time.

He directed a cold unwelcome glare at the sleek and elegant young man; the weight of his stare gaining heat at the sly, nasty smile on Skoal's face.  Bastard!

Settling easily into a seat at Angel's side, the blonde touched the vampire gently to draw his attention.  “Hello, I almost gave up hope that you and Xander would ever venture out your dank little quarters,” he said lightly.  A slight amused smile on his face giving levity to his words, despite the cool questioning look in his eyes.

Angel blinked, and raised his brows.  He cast a puzzled look at Xander.  Confused by the scent of anger and despair wafting from the boy.  His brows went up even further at the hot glare Xander was giving Skoal.  

The blonde, seeing the puzzled look on Angel's face leaned to whisper in his ear, “Methinks, your little boy is jealous and doesn't like sharing your attention.”  He drew back with a tiny, amused smile as if to share in the joke of Xander being jealous.  Glancing surreptitiously beneath long lashes at the effect his words had on Angel.  Carefully he hid his smile of satisfaction.   He saw Angel's jaw tighten, his little seedling that Xander was far too young for Angel was taking root.  He was quite sure that Angel's mind would slide to the next logical part, that the vampire's unwonted attraction to Xander was like that of a pedophile.  A child molester.

Xander, straining his ears to the utmost, heard what Skoal said.  He drew in a furious breath to refute the charge.   His mouth opened and ready to blast the smirk off the blonde's face when his attention was attracted by the startled hush that fell over the room.  A glance to the left and right showed, humans and demons alike frozen in the act of eating.  Confused, he glanced up.  His face lighting up at the sight of the Nestors cutting a swath through the room like imperious jungle cats.  

Skoal's eyes widened as he saw the hulking demons coming towards them.  He scrambled hastily to his feet, a distinct feeling of dread overcoming him.  A feeling he knew was shared by the majority of the citizens of Undervale.  Very few wanted or felt any desire to tangle with Nestors.  

To his shock, he saw Xander dart past him…straight into the Nestors!  His shock was further compounded by the tiny figure that leaped from the ring of insectile warriors into Xander's outstretched arms.

“Misty…!”  Ignoring all else, Xander swung her into the air.  Laughing delightedly at her barking laughter.  Uncaring that two of the insectile warriors broke off from the main body surrounding the Nestors to follow him as he headed to the buffet table.   

Angel got up and strolled over to the Nestors, leaving Skoal reeling in shock.  Slapping forearms in greeting, he quietly began speaking with them.  This was the first that he had seen of the demons since Misty and Xander had separated.  Now that the girl wasn't threatening his boy's life, he could afford to be concerned about her and her parents.

Keeping half an eye on Xander who was chasing Misty around the food table, he conversed with Tanglefoot and the others.  Long story short, he found out that his adopted Family was involved in a blood feud with the other Family, the Harken-dals.  So far, the casualties were all on the other side.  He didn't notice the awed looks on the diners' faces towards him, or Xander as he became engrossed in the conversation with the Nestors.  Nor was he aware of the public opinion towards his boy shifting.  If the Nestors associated with Xander, the boy couldn't possibly be THAT bad, could he?

Xander, meanwhile, was giggling as he chased after the mischievous girl.  It was good to see her moving, running after their separation.  It felt wonderful to actually hear what her voice sounded like in reality instead of in their little dream world.  He ignored the growing shortness of his breath, just as Misty ignored the aching sensation in her newly grown feet.  At least they both ignored it until Xander collapsed to his knees, struggling to breathe.  

Whistling her distress, she took a step towards him, then back.  The aching feeling in her feet developing into a burning pain.  Gasping, she fell on her bottom and chirped weakly through her agony.  The two bodyguards restlessly chittered as they looked on.  Then moving abruptly, one grabbed her and raced back to the Nestors while the other stood guard over Xander.  It chirped worriedly, patting his head and back.  At the sight of the vampire and Nestors rushing towards them, it stood back.  Then jumping high into the air it flipped and shot a sticky line of webbing straight at the ceiling.  Then dangling above the circle it hung, watching the proceedings.  In the air and out of the way as Angel coaxed a panicking Xander into breathing.   

Taking the boy's head in his hands, Angel stared down into the wide, terrorfilled eyes.  “Shhh, calm down…it's okay...everything going to be okay.  Xander, listen to me...I'm not gonna let you go.  I'm here for you.  Remember what Dr. Adams' said?  The more you panic during the attacks, the harder it is for you to breathe.”  He saw the acknowledgement in the huge brown eyes.  Taking a deep breath to encourage Xander, he whispered, “Remember us, sitting in front of the fireplace?  Just you and me, reading…talking…laughing?  Remember how peaceful it was?  How quiet things seemed?  Remember?”  

Angel's words were a soothing, calming balm to the terror that cast a suffocating shadow over Xander's nose and mouth.  Clinging with all his strength to the quiet promise of support in Angel's eyes, Xander frantically cast his mind to the tranquil restful scene.  Quiet, enjoyable time spent with the vampire wrapped around him.  Closing his eyes, he pulled that memory from his treasure trove of goodtimes.  Just listening to that comforting voice helped ease the turbulent and black stormtossed waters that threatened to pull him under.

Between one second to the next, the hoarse sucking sound of Xander drawing a lungful of precious air was loud in the hushed stillness of the dining room.  To their surprise, many of the people cheered lustily at the sound.  

Xander slumped exhaustedly in Angel's arms, hardly aware that he was swung up and cradled tenderly to the broad chest.  He grinned tiredly up at first Angel, then at Misty's spidery bodyguard, blinking in confusion when it dropped to the ground and chirped.  Cocking its head to the side, it chirped again.  Receiving no answer, it reached into the pouch at its waist and popped a piece of chocolate in his mouth.  

Skoal closed his mouth at the sight of Xander held in Angel's arms.  The sickening rage that made up so much of him, deepened at the awed, respectful looks directed at Xander.  And the looks of suspicion directed at him.   People weren't stupid.  Some were even capable of putting 2 and 2 together.  Coming to the conclusion that the blonde-haired half-breed was behind a good portion of the rumors circulating about Angel's boy.  About how Xander took part in a ritual that harvested demon organs. Or that he regularly killed dozens of demons every day.

They felt angry and sheepish to have believed the gossip about the young man.  Should have known that Angel would never choose someone that was so unworthy, so blatantly unfit to be a demon's mate.  Maybe before, they could have believed it.  Would have believed it based on the boy's attitude when he first came downside, but not now.  Not when Xander tried so earnestly to understand them.  Asking questions, and remaining somewhat unjudgmental when he saw some of their less unsavory cultural exchanges.  He was still easy to squick out, but at least now he didn't look at them with that holier-than-thou contemptuous face.

*          *          *
“Angel…” Xander called as he looked over his shoulder.  He was growing more concerned and puzzled at the number of people smiling at him, and slapping him on the back.  This was the second day after the dining room incident that he had been congratulated.  For what, he couldn't quite figure out just yet.  All he knew was just about everybody was acting real friendly towards him.

“Hmm…?” Angel barely paused in his step as they walked back to their quarters.  His jaw was clenched from the disturbing sight when he had arrived at the Erosno domicile.  His eyes were slowly bleeding to an ugly yellow color as he struggled to master his rage.  He told them that the boy was off limits!  They goddamn well knew that they had better keep their hands off of his boy!  They knew.

He willingly ignored the fact that it was Xander that had his hands on the female Erosno, and not the other way around.  

It was a bit of a shock to walk in, expecting to see the familiar sight of the boy playing Kitten poker with some of the other Erosnos.  Instead, he was treated to the sight of Xander sitting on the counter with Jilly resting between his spread legs.  And if that wasn't enough, he was rubbing her shoulders and laughing down into her face!  

Xander peered at Angel closely, set expression and sighed.  “Nevermind…” he muttered in defeat.  Lowering his head, he trudged along silently after the morose and brooding vampire.  Then he perked up slightly, a secretive look of glee on his face.  Two more days!  Two more days!  He almost did a Happy Dance in his enthusiastic joy.  He could only hope that his performance would wipe that sour look off Angel's face.  He had been practicing so hard with the others in his group.  They were going to perform the dance of Connubialis Suscitatio!  He mouthed the words slowly to himself, hardly able to stand keeping this a secret.  Boy, was Angel gonna be surprised at the Jamboree the day after tomorrow.  Especially when he started dancing!  

That would show Angel just how well he had been learning to understand his neighbors below ground.  `Sides, he actually found himself liking most of them.  Hell, some of them acted just like humans, if not better than them.  Especially the way they treated their kids, he thought darkly.  Remembering the screaming and yelling that ritually took place in his home.  His dad apparently couldn't function without a drink in his hand, or speak without shouting and calling people a whole bunch of nasty names!

Secretly he was often amazed at how far he had come in such a short time.  While the easiest thing to do, it was also the hardest to let go of his prejudices.  Because to finally come face to face with your own inner demons was the toughest thing he had ever done.  He wanted to crawl into a dark corner and die.  But he didn't.  He wouldn't.  Every time he felt like doing that, he would look at Angel for inspiration.  If the vampire, who he secretly called his friend, was capable of standing up and fighting the good fight then he should be able as well.  He shuddered slightly…he almost came close to being the man his father was.  

Casting off his maudlin thoughts, he focused on what Angel's face would look like the day after tomorrow.  He couldn't wait to see Angel's face!  Xander couldn't resist doing a few dance steps in happiness.

Angel glanced at the boy, smiling in puzzled confusion.  He didn't know what caused the sudden ebullient mood, but it was always worth a smile or two to watch Xander bounce with happiness.  Slowly he lost his smile, a brooding look coming into his eyes as they stepped into their quarters.  Xander was chattering a mile a minute, about what he wasn't exactly sure, something to do with one of the Erosno and a sore shoulder.

Placing Xander's dinner on the table he urged the boy to eat.  Cowardly deciding to tell him the news after dinner.

Damn!  Who know the kid could eat so fast, Angel grumbled to himself ten minutes later.  Well, nothing to it but to do it.  He sighed mentally already dreading what he had to say.

“Xander…” he began abruptly, stopping the boy in midspeech.  Wide, sparkling eyes focused on him.  He adverted his eyes for the bright look of joy in Xander's eyes.  “We're going back topside in two weeks.”  

Xander felt like he had been punched in the stomach.  He blinked rapidly.  Top-side?  Back above ground?  He looked slowly around the familiar surroundings, feeling Angel watching him worriedly.  He waved a hand vaguely to reassure him.  Okay…I can handle this, he said shakily to himself.  It's gonna be okay.  Willow's topside, so is Buffy, Giles and Oz.  But there were so many more below ground that he liked as well.

“Ar…are…are…you sure that…uhm…that…we hafta go?” he said in a shaky rasp.  He hid his trembling hands under the table.

“Yeah…” Angel replied softly.  His eyes were grave and sympathetic.  He hid a wince at the anguished look in the boy's eyes, before long lashes swiftly descended.  Hiding the expression in Xander's gaze.


“And then I'm leaving Sunnydale…for good.”  At his words Xander looked up and Angel had to look away from the wide frozen stare.

“A…away?” The young man managed to stammer out, not sure if he heard correctly.

Tightening his jaw, Angel simply nodded.


Licking his lips, Xander thought about what it would mean.  To not see Angel every night, to not hear him reciting poetry and talking to him.  His heart clenched painfully in his chest at the uncomfortable thought.  “Bu…but…what about Buffy?  I mean, you love her!  You can't …leave her!  And…and your…redemption?  What about it?!  So you…
you…hafta stay, doncha?!”  He looked desperately at the vampire, wildly clutching at straws.

Angel raised his head and regarded the boy's tear bright eyes.  “No…what Buffy and I had is over.  Sure, there'll always be a place in my heart for her.  But while I respect the hell out of her, I don't love her,” he said softly.  His words gentling, as the boy's eyes swam with tears.  He searched for the right words to convey his feelings.  “Xander, there's a whole world of evil out there.  Sunnydale…it belongs to Buffy.  This is her territory, her proving ground…not mine.  My redemption doesn't lie fighting at her side, backing her up.  It rests with me.  Showing the Powers that Be that I am one of their warriors, that I truly desire this chance at redemption.  And I can't do that, not in Sunnydale.”

Xander got up from the chair like an old man.  He wrapped his arms around his waist protectively and wandered away from the table.  His back to Angel, he asked, “Does Buffy know?  Know that you're leaving?”  His voice was harsh, thick with tears that he refused to shed.  He took a long shuddering breath, feeling a god awful pain in his chest.  Vaguely he wondered if he was too young to have a heart attack.  


Angel watched the boy worriedly.  Praying that Xander didn't embarrass them both by asking to come along.  He didn't want to fall for another Sunnydaler; he was all too aware of the unconscious, yet flirty and provocative looks that the boy had been giving him.  Those heated little glances stroked over him like a physical caress.  He would stiffen up so fast he had to hurriedly excuse himself from the room.  

It took everything in his power not to return the boy's gaze, and turn it into something that would have them both moaning with pleasure.  Half the time, he didn't know whether it was unconscious or conscious, the way Xander played at being a little coquette.  But until Xander made his desires plain, he had no intention of coercing the boy into any type of sexual relationship.

He continued watching Xander, feeling helpless and regretful about his decision to leave.  Maybe if he had known this Xander, perhaps he would have…

Made the decision to leave anyway, he sighed.  Sunnydale belonged to Buffy.  She was more than capable of defending and championing the citizens of the Hellmouth.

“Xander, I'm…” he began but the boy whirled around a bright, wobbly smile on his face.

“Sorry?!  Why be sorry?  This is like your chance, man; you know, to be the guy that swoops down and rescues people!  I'm happy for ya!  Really, really happy.”  He faltered, his happy smile dimming at the searching look Angel gave him.

He rushed in a torrent of words, saying anything and everything that popped in his head.   He sidled towards the door, babbling with manic intensity.

Winking at Angel, he gave the vampire a shrewd man-to-man look as he added, “'Sides, we all know Buffy was just holding you back.  From your…your…heroing,” he finished lamely.  The desire to escape to a nice, dark and safe place was nearly overwhelming.  He turned and reached for the door, desperate to run away.  Cowardly?  Sure, but hey I never said I was a hero, was his painful thought.

Unfortunately his escape plans were foiled by a broad shouldered immortal suddenly standing behind him and holding the door shut.  Frantically, he tugged harder, his throat thick and his nose becoming clogged with tears he refused to shed.

“Let me go!  I forgot something at Jilly's…!” he shouted.

“What…?” Angel said gently, the smell of grief, pain and loneliness pouring off the boy was staggering.  He knew Xander liked him, and was interested in him…but for Xander to care this much?

“My…my…clothes!  I forgot my clothes!  Now let me out, dammit!”

“Xander, we need to talk about…” Angel started to say.

“What's there to talk about?  You're leaving on your grand adventure; I'm not!”  Xander flushed at his childish wail of loss.  He renewed his struggle to escape.  

“You don't understand…!”  Angel said in frustration.  He continued to hold the door shut.  He knew that if Xander got away from him now, the boy would be gone and it would take hours to find him.  They needed to talk.

But suddenly the door was shoved open, allowing Xander to wiggle through the opening and dart away.  Angel made a hasty grab, but was too late to stop him.  The large, horned demon peered bemusedly down at the angry vampire.

“Angel…I…wanted…to…talk…to…you…about…the…mine…shaft,” it said with excruciating slowness.  Angel growled his impatience.

“Look, you're gonna hafta talk to Degan; he's the one in charge, not me,” he said rapidly.  Grabbing a cloak from the hook on the wall, it got cold at night and Xander left without a jacket, he ducked past the startled behemoth.  Yelling for it to close the door when it left, he chased after the boy.

Despite the confusing scents that overlapped Xander's he was able to track the boy.  He was unsurprised to find the young man perched on a flat rock in one of the many caves that riddled the underground.  It was their favorite place to simply sit and talk.  Stepping quietly, he made his way over to Xander.  By the slight stiffening of the boy's shoulders, he knew Xander was aware of him.

He settled beside the boy, placing the cloak around them both.  Making sure Xander got the lion's share of the warm material.  Then joined the boy in the contemplative gaze at the sparkling underground water.  When he felt a warm weight lean into him, he merely lifted his arm and hugged the boy closer.

“I'm sorry I acted like a jackass,” Xander said quietly.  He rested his head on Angel's chest.  Automatically finding the right comfort zone on the vampire's broad torso.  It was a well familiar spot, one that he used extensively when he was joined with Misty.

“No apologies are necessary,” Angel replied roughly.  “I should have told you, maybe told everybody that I was leaving Sunnydale.  Maybe if I had that dustup at Rupert's place wouldn't have happened.”

“Yeah, and maybe I would still be that same smug, arrogant no-nothing idiot,” the boy responded evenly.  He shook his head.  “I'm glad you didn't say anything.  Now that I've gotten the chance to know this `Me', I like him a lot better than the old `Me'.  The old Xander was lucky you didn't accidentally on purpose kill him.  Trust me, that wouldn't have been much of a loss,” he added cynically.  He was very much surprised at the low growl that came from Angel.

Startled he sat up, only to have a pissed off vampire, in full demonface, glaring at him.  “Every life is a loss; demon, humans…it doesn't matter!  You had some stupid, crazy opinions, but you fought, beating back the Darkness outside and inside.  Despite what you may think about that Xander, he was loyal, courageous and a fighter.  Dumb and ignorant as he was, obviously he had something going for him.  Some part of him was capable of understanding that there was something wrong with him, with the way he was thinking.  That part that lead to the new Xander Harris,” Angel finished softly.  He tapped the boy's chest gently with a closed fist.  “A new Xander that I'm proud to have had the privilege of watching grow.”

The young man blushed furiously at the praise and ducked his head shyly.  His heart thumping erratically in his chest at that warm gaze directed towards him.  All sorts of interesting tingly sensations flickered crazily throughout his body, before settling in one southern loc…he firmly stopped thinking about a certain stirring in his pants.  

Abruptly to distract himself, he recalled what Angel had said before.  Pulling back, he raised his head and glanced at the vampire.  “You said you weren't in love with Buffy anymore?  When did this happen?”  Then his face darkened.  “Does that mean you're in love with Skoal?”  Try as he might, he couldn't stop the blech sound in his voice.  

Angel gave Xander a level look; misunderstanding the reason for the disgusted face the boy wore.  “I believe we've had this conversation before.”

“Yes, yes we did!” Xander said rapidly, his eyes wide.  He was so NOT remembering that night, nor was he going to remember the sweet insanity of kissing Angel.  And he was definitely not going to recall how he felt because hey, he was so ungay that it was laughable.  Ha ha…hehehe.  See?  Laughter.

“And I'm not saying anything about that, I mean about your…sexual activities,” he said carefully.  Peeking up at Angel beneath his lashes to make sure demonyAngel was not gonna pull another kissy punishment on him.  “I'm just…it's just that…it's Skoal!”

The older male rolled his eyes.  “I know it's Skoal.  You just want me back with Buffy,” he said teasingly.  At the hot reply he saw on Xander's lips, he held up a hand and cried peace.  “Don't get your knickers in a bunch…no, I'm not in love with him.  It was just sex between us.   Once I found out my curse had been nullified, I felt like…
experimenting.”  Angel's slow reminiscent smile was a slash of erotic wickedness.  It sent shivers through the mortal youth that rested trustingly against him.  It caused a weird, disturbing sensation in the boy's stomach.

“And not with Buffy?”  Xander squeaked out, his gaze intent on that darkly, seductive look.  

Slowly Angel's smile faded, disappeared into a sorrow.  “Not with Buffy,” he quietly agreed.  He sighed and ruefully said,  “'Sides, it's always kinda difficult to get all romantic and aroused by someone that shoved a freaking sword in you, then sent you to hell.”  Immediately he felt the boy tense in his arms and looked down inquiringly.  

Xander moved away.  But that wasn't far enough; the comforting weight of Angel's arm was about his shoulders.  With lowered eyes, he removed that as well and slipped from under the warm cloak.  He sat shivering, goosebumps dotting his arms and legs in the cooling underground air.  “It wasn't Buffy that sent you to hell,” he said at last.  Visible tremors wracked his frame.  It wasn't only from cold that he shook.  “It was me.  I lied to her.  I told her that Willow…”

“…said to `Kick his ass', I know.” Angel nodded to Xander's shock.  The boy gaped opened-mouth at the vampire.  A slight smile kicked up the corners of the older man's mouth.  “What?  Did you think I didn't know?”

“Well, yeah…” came the confused answer.

“I've known for several months what happened that day.  When I came back from Hell, I felt something was wrong with me.  What it was, I couldn't quite figure out.  All I knew was that there was a definite weight on my soul that had never been there before.  Dark thoughts of pain and blood would sometimes wake me up, gasping and just short of screaming.  I was afraid that maybe I was going to lose my soul again, so I came to see the shamans.  Hoping that they could give me some answers about what was happening to me.  They did their mumbo jumbo.  There was smoke, there were mirrors and I saw Willow in the hospital telling you about the spell to restore my soul.  I heard you and Buffy.  I heard you tell Buffy that Willow said to kick my ass.”  He held the boy's shamed, tear bright gaze evenly.

“You…you're taking this awfully calmly,” Xander stuttered out.

“Calmly?” Angel thought for a few moments.  “Yeah, but when I first saw what you had done…calm is far from what I felt.  If I could have, I would have ripped you from limb to limb.  And at the time, I felt even that was too good for you.  I wanted to make you suffer an eternity of pain.  I wanted to see you writhing in torment.  Just like I did in hell.”  Angel's face took on a fearsome dark menace.

“And is this what all this was about?  Your getting revenge?  Making me think we're friends, then kicking me to the curb?”  Xander managed to say with enviable steadiness.  His eyes were dark, but he held his head up high.  If Angel said yes, it was still only what he deserved.  God, he had fucked up big time!

Startled, Angel glanced at the boy.  “NO!”  he exclaimed in shock.  Then reaching out, he pulled the tensed figure into his arms.  “No,” he repeated much more calmly.  “It was during my planning of what I was going to do to you that something occurred to me.  Now while I'm not quite up on the vernacular of speech these days, it changes so rapidly.  But even I know that when someone says, `kick his ass' they are generally not telling another person to kill someone.”

Xander pulled away again.  He frowned at Angel's pained face.  “What are you talking about?  I'm the one that lied!  If it hadn't been for me, Buffy would have…”

“…still slid that sword in my chest.”

“I'm so not liking the way you keep interrupting me!” The young man grumbled sourly.  It made Angel grin despite his sorrow.

“Xander, Buffy knew what the prophecy said.  My blood could open the portal, my blood could close it.”

The boy sighed.  “Yeah, too bad Angelus managed to open it.  If he hadn't done that, Buffy wouldn't have had to…” he stopped abruptly.  Not wanting to remind the other of what the blonde girl had done.

“No Xander, you're missing the point,” Angel said patiently.  “My blood closes the portal.”

Xander frowned, thinking on Angel's words.  Then he gasped, his eyes darting up to the pained brown gaze.  The vampire nodded.  “Only a small amount of my blood was needed to close the portal.”  His lips twisted in an unamused grin.  “But you know Buffy, she's always willing to go that extra mile.”

“I'm sorry…”  Xander pulled the vampire in his arms to provide comfort.  Trying to give back some of what Angel had been giving him.  “It was my fault!  If I hadn't lied, hadn't made Buffy confused about what she was doing, maybe she wouldn't have… done what she did.”  He stroked the tensed figure's head gently.  “Be mad and pissed off at me, not her.  It was all my fault.”

Angel rested for a minute in the boy's embrace.  Feeling some of his torment ease.  Xander felt amazingly good, he thought to himself under the soothing caress.  He was embarrassed at feeling a purr beginning to rumble in his throat.  He pulled away gently.  “Thank you…but it took three people to bring us to this point.  Angelus, you and Buffy.  Maybe if Angelus hadn't been so insane and was willing to destroy the world, then maybe we never would have gotten to this point.  Maybe if you hadn't been so jealous of me, so afraid of Angelus getting the better of Buffy, maybe you wouldn't have lied.  Maybe if Buffy had given some more thought to the actual meaning of the spell to unlocking Acathla, maybe she wouldn't have slid that sword in my chest and pushed me into Acathla.”  He held Xander's eyes for a long deliberate moment.  

“And maybe if I had been honest enough, and stopped trying to be human, my sleeping with Buffy never would have happened.”  He saw a mutinous look fill the soft brown eyes and knew the boy wanted to argue.  He shook the boy lightly.  “Xander, I'm not absolving you of anything.  You acted like a damn fool!  A jealous, fucking idiot!  The fact that I am a demon doesn't matter.  You cowardly chose to hide behind two people to do your dirty work which was to get rid of me…Buffy and Willow.”

Xander shuddered at the simmering amber highlights speckling Angel's eyes.  But he still met the vampire's hard gaze even though he was scared half to death.  He was determined to take everything that he had coming to him.  

Angel nodded approvingly at the way the boy faced him.  “I had a choice to make once I put things into perspective.  I could either hate you and Buffy, or I could move past this and get on with my unlife.  That's primarily the reason why I decided to leave.  And no, it wasn't because of you,” he said in response to Xander's questioning eyes.   “I kept watch over Sunnydale months before Buffy came here.  Now I can leave, knowing that the Hellmouth has a more than capable bunch of guardians watching over it.”  He smiled at the boy, watching understanding dawn in Xander's dark eyes.

“Between you, Buffy and Willow with Giles directing you, the bad guys won't know what hit them.”

“You trust me…?  Still?”  Xander breathed out with a wide goggle gaze.

“Yes…you haven't seen what I've seen.  You've grown so much since you came down here, hating everything in sight.   At best, I hoped for at least tolerance from you for some the more passive demons that inhabit Sunnydale.  What I didn't expect was for you to change so much that you would risk your life to save a demon.”

Xander frowned and protested.  “She's just a baby…I mean, I wasn't that bad was I?”  At Angel's slow nod, his heart sank.  “Geezsh, it's a wonder you didn't kill me,” he muttered.  

“Believe me, I seriously thought about it,” Angel replied quietly.  Xander's head jerked up at the seriousness of the vampire's tone.  He blinked and looked down.  Hell, he even felt like beating the shit out of his former self.

They sat in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.  “Where are you going…?  Will you ever come back?  To…to…see Buffy and Willow, of course,” Xander asked, tacking on his last question hastily.  He kept his face down, feeling an annoying blush climb his cheeks.

“I don't know…” Angel answered honestly and hugged the embarrassed boy closer to him.  “But if I do, more than likely I'll see Buffy.  And Willow.  Who knows, maybe if you're hanging around I'll even see you,” he teased softly.  The only response he got was the shaggy dark head nodding against his chest.

Long moments later, Angel nudged the boy.  “Let's go home and get in bed,” he said huskily.  His words conjuring immediate visions of Xander sprawled totally naked on their bed.  Long, sleek limbs spread, revealing everything to his greedy, covetous eyes.  A welcoming smile of alluring temptation graced the boy's face.  Dark eyes gazed hungrily, bewitchingly at him.  Inviting him to partake of a sweet, endlessly seductive body.  Rolling to his knees, a hot, pleading look in his eyes, the boy stretched out a hand…  

Roughly Angel shook his head, denying the fantasy.  Banishing the erotic image, he got to his feet, deftly hauling a pensive, reflective Xander to his.

They headed back to their quarters.  A solemn, quiet silence between them as they prepared for bed.

*          *          *

Xander squirmed impatiently as his costume was adjusted by a member of his dance group.  If the bits of cloth and leather could be called a costume, he thought darkly.  

When he first saw it, he had flushed a vibrant red.  All his `business' would be visible!  He might as well dance nekkid, he had yelped at Jail.  He shut his mouth hastily at the thoughtful, interested look that the older demon had exchanged with B'Lak, the other dance instructor.  And firmly he insisted on wearing at least some kind of underwear.  

They gave him a thong.

Leaning from side to side and wiggling with impatience as Jilly adjusted the cunningly tattered wrap that encircled his hips.  His restless movements netted him a hard smack on his bare thigh from the girl.

Giving him an annoyed look from huge silvery-green eyes, the young Erosno finished making him presentable.  Standing back, she smiled at the anxious look that warred with the excitement in Xander's eyes.  “Xan-de, you do not have to dance tonight.  Our ways are not your ways,” she cautioned him gently.

“I know, but this is a chance to let Angel know that I …” he frowned as he searched for the word Jail had used, “…esteem him a lot.”

“He's been good to me when I've been all sorts of nasty to him.  Putting himself out for me when he didn't have to, and just plain making me grow up.  This is my chance to show him how I feel.  That I know he's a good person.  Demon, human…he's a good man.  I like him,” Xander said quietly looking down at the slender female.    

His eyes softened as he regarded her.  Man, six-and-half weeks ago, who ever would have thought Xander Harris, demon-hater, would willingly associate with demons?  Sure as hell it wouldn't have been me, he thought wryly.

But coming here, surrounded by a bunch of cheerful, sleek silvery-green demons you couldn't help but to like them.  They were always smiling and laughing.  Playing games and having fun!  And he was warmly welcomed in their midst.  

Though that first day was hard.  None of them seemed able to keep their hands to themselves!  Touching his hair, stroking his arms…always touching.  It was enough to jumpstart his pre-wig wiggins and strain his breathing.  But that tall Erosno, Jaile, he must had seen him quietly panicking.  He shooed the rest of the demons away and took him into a corner.  He calmed, but was embarrassed and angry with himself for nearly freaking out so bad that he almost had a non-breathing attack.

They understood, judging by their sheepish smiles, that it was too much, too soon.  And Jaile soon had him settled on the floor, practicing his breathing.  Apparently Erosnos had dozens of names for breathing.  

Though after the first ten he zoned out.  All he had been interested in was getting to the point where the least thing didn't succeed in setting him off.  They were masters of breathing he decided after managing to hold off an attack of non-breathing all by himself.   After that he was a convert to the religion of breathing.  

In…out….in…out.  Look ma, see how easy it is?

The Erosno quarters were large, and extremely tactile.  Everything in the huge room led a person irresistibly to want to touch, to stroke…to caress the various objects that adorned the rooms.  Xander was no exception.  Before the day was out, he was running his fingers over the smooth masks, urns, large and small statues.    Though he had to admit he stroked the statutes simply for the naughty feelings they invoked.

Then growing curious about the muffled groaning in the next room he wandered over to see various Erosnos contorting themselves in fantastical puzzles.  He winced at a particularly painful pose.   He was mildly surprised to find that Jaile expected him to participate.  Not the more painful and difficult ones, just the exercises that would help focus his mind, and increase his capacity to breath.  

With gentle, laughing encouragement he was soon able to balance himself on his back.  With his legs curled over his torso, toes touching the floor just beyond his head…he still managed to breathe easy.  There were several relatively easy exercises that Jaile thought appropriate for him to try.   

Then he became intrigued by the dancing.  It looked like fun.  But he had hung back, unsure of his welcome.  However, he hadn't reckoned on Jilly yanking him into the middle of the dancing group.  Laughing, all six of the young Erosnos taught him the steps.  They all fell to laughter whenever he fumbled a move or a turn.  His days with the Erosnos were filled with joy and laughter.  The only seriousness that he encountered was when he learned that Jilly and her dance mates were going to be performing their dance in front of the entire community on Jamboree Night.  It was an annual event, much like a fair.

When he questioned Jaile about it, the stately older demon replied that dancing the Connubialis Suscitatio was the first and only time a young Erosno performed it.  It was a once in a lifetime event, never to be repeated by the pre-adult demons.  It signified growth, maturity.  That a male or female Erosno was an adult and no longer a child.  It was a dance that the young performed for someone that they esteemed.  That they cared about.  It was to their friend that they danced.   

Struck by the thought, Xander had tentatively asked if he could perform with Jilly and the others.  At the look of hesitation on Jaile's face, he added that he wanted to show Angel that he wasn't a kid any more.  He was an adult, and ready to act like one as well.

After that, just about every Erosno helped him.  Though bewildered by their enthusiasm, he shrugged it off as just being Erosno.

Now, it was almost time to dance.  Making a flimsy excuse, he had left Angel talking to a couple of the men in the Common Square while he and his dance mates changed.  

“Now Xan-de, you are sure you wish to dance tonight?” Jaile asked softly, his eyes rested fondly on the nervous human.  “Our ways are not your ways, it is not necessary for you to dance in order to prove your adulthood to Angel.”  The sleek, silvery-green skinned demon paused. “I'm sure he's well aware of that fact,” he said under his breath.  There was a suspicious twinkle in his eyes.  Angel's interest in the boy was something that was sending the Erosnos camp into fits of laughter.   The vampire was just shy of pawing the ground and roaring whenever another looked at Xander admiringly. He wondered what Angel would say when the boy performed for him.  There were bets being taken that the vampire would toss the boy over his shoulder and rush to their quarters for a long intensive Claiming.  Or whether Angel would take Xander to the nearest semi-dark corner and Claim him right then and there.

Jaile's shoulders shook with barely suppressed laughter.   Oh, tonight was going to be fun!

Xander eyed the demon suspiciously for a few minutes then shook his head.  Erosnos were just plain weird.  

B'lak approached the pair cheerfully.  She had a small bag of stuff especially purchased for the human.  Exchanging twin mirthful expressions with Jaile she pushed the boy to a chair.

“Sit still, gotta put your makeup on,” she explained busily.  

“MAKEUP?!  I'm not a girl…what do I need makeup for?!” Xander immediately protested.  His voice growing loud.

B'lak gave him a level look; for once her eyes empty of laughter.  “No makeup, no dance,” she said firmly.  At the unhappy expression that darkened the human's face, she relented.  “Xan-de, I'm not putting a lot of makeup on you; it would spoil the fresh look of innocence on your face.”

Xander blinked.  Feeling his cheeks warm, he quickly decried her notion that he was innocent.  “Hey, I'm no virgin or anything like that!  I had plenty of sex,” he hastily assured the now amused female.

“I'm sure you did, “ she replied soothingly.  “Now close your eyes,” B'lak commanded.  Muttering to himself about NOT a virgin, dammit! Xander complied with her order.  Seconds later he felt a cool stroke across first one lid, then the other.  His lashes were gently tugged and brushed upwards.   At the soft command to open his eyes, he blinked nervously at the seriously intent look on Jaile's face.  Then his lower lid was tugged down and a black pencil was aimed at his eye.  Drawing back fearfully, he only allowed B'lak to draw a line along his lower lid when she quietly assured him that it wouldn't hurt.

In for a penny, in for a pound, he said to himself, though he had no idea what that meant.  He allowed her to do whatever she wanted.   

B'lak drew back and drew in a soft breath.  Her lip kicked up involuntarily at the luminous brown eyes peering at her.  Letting out her breath, she decided that Angel wouldn't know what hit him tonight.  Xander would be lucky if he was able to sit down tomorrow.

“What?  What?”  Xander asked anxiously.   Growing nervous at B'lak and Jaile's continuing silence.

“Were I a young male, I would be honored to have you dance for me,” Jaile replied solemnly.

Xander blushed at the compliment, modestly lowering his eyes.  But he peeked up at the tall demon, a look of delight shimmering in his dark eyes.

B'lak bowed from her sitting position.   While humans were generally not to her taste, right now she could see where the attraction lay.  

Angel didn't stand a chance.

Chapter 5

Angel looked around the laughing throng of people.  He was growing uneasy at the length of time the boy had been gone.  Sheesh!  Just how long did it take Xander to take a leak?

I wonder if the boy fell in the toilet, he mused to himself.  He couldn't resist snickering at the dumb-found look of shock on his young friend's face.  With Xander's luck he could just imagine that was probably what happened.

The crowd stirred.  An excited buzz rippled through the mass of people.  The Erosno dancers were coming!  This was the equivalent of a half-time show for Undervale; and nobody wanted to miss this.

Damn!  Angel cursed under his breath as a quick searching look revealed no trace of the boy.  Grudgingly he allowed himself to be swept along with the crowd as they retreated, forming a large half-circle for the dancers.  With a couple of adroit moves, and well-placed elbows, Angel squirmed to a position in the front.  He ignored the nasty glares and scowls his actions produced.  He continued scanning for Xander.  Sure that somewhere the boy was trying to find him.  

“Looking for someone?”  A quietly husky voice drawled from his left.  Angel stiffened imperceptibly and hid a silent groan.  

“Hello, Skoal…” he greeted the young man without a show of emotion.  While he considered their brief dalliance over, apparently the blonde young man was not of that opinion.   

“Angel…” Skoal breathed.  His avid gaze touched the vampire like a most unwelcome hand.  His eyes darkened slightly, furious at the hidden look of distaste he saw on Angel's face.  Clearly the vampire preferred someone…younger.  And human.

Goddamn bastard!

The older, dark-haired male saw the angry look on Skoal's face and sighed.  “Skoal, you have to stop this,” Angel said gently.  “You mean a great deal to me, and I don't want to ruin the beautiful memory of what we shared.  But it's over.  I'm leaving Sunnydale, and more than likely, Undervale.  If you just open your eyes, there's a whole bunch of men and women begging for your attention.  Focus on them and be happy.” Angel pleaded softly to the determined young man.

“What if I don't want someone else?  What if I still want you?  You're like a drug, an addiction that I can't shake!  All I think about is you!  Touching you, holding you…watching you come apart in my arms,” Skoal whispered passionately.  His eyes were blazing with the intensity of his feeling.   “But all you can think about is fucking your precious little boy!” he spat venomously.  Heads were beginning to turn as his voice increased in volume.

At first Angel was sympathetic to the pain in the boy's eyes.  This all vanished in a hot flash the second Skoal started talking about Xander.  His eyes became icy, gleaming slits of pure menace that made the blonde young man draw back in fear.  He had never seen Angel look so terrifying.  For the first time, understanding the slight fear in other demons and humans eyes when they talked to or about him.  

“I see that you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public,” Angel hissed with cold displeasure.  He cast a haughty, imperious glare at the interested faces turned their way.  All of a sudden, people discovered how fascinating the sandy ground and the walls were.

“An…Angel…I'm  sorry,” Skoal quavered out.  He placed a trembling, long-fingered hand on the annoyed vampire's arm.   “I was just jealous of the attention you continue to pay him; not so long ago, that was me.”  He gave Angel a brave, yet tearful smile.  Mentally calculating if his words were having the effect he wanted.  He wanted to claw Xander's face to pieces at the unchanging expression Angel wore.  

A throbbing beat signaled the arrival of the Erosnos.  They both ignored it.

“I…just…maybe you're right.  I need to start seeing other people and…” his words broke off.  His eyes widened in disbelief as the dancers filed out.

Angel whirled at the shocked ripple that went through the crowd.  He stood frozen, gazing in wonder at the beautiful sloe-eyed youth looking back at him.  Mischievous laughter danced in warm brown eyes.  

“Xander?” he mouthed silently, his eyes wide in startled pleasure.  Soft brunette locks bounced at the vigorous, excited nod the boy gave.

Angel could hardly believe that the gleaming figure was Xander.   His eyes traveled from the kohl outlined eyes, down to the gently burnished oiled limbs, and further to the bared long-legs.  He didn't know whether to take off his shirt and cover the boy with it, or whether to howl like a wolf at the first scent of his mate.  

A Xander fully clothed made up a very seductive package; a Xander dressed in the skimpiest of clothes…

Angel adjusted his pants discretely.

“Damn!”  A human male whistled admiringly at the luscious beauty.  He could count on one hand the number of times a human danced the Connubialis Suscitatio.  His female companion nudged him meaningfully.  

“Man, I would give my right arm for a piece of THAT!” she chortled lustily.   Her friend agreed wholeheartedly, adding that he could die a happy man.

They yelled and whistled their appreciation, cackling delightedly at the vivid blush that crept up the boy's face.  Then came a low rumbling snarl from behind them.   Their next cries of enthusiasm became stuck in their throats.  Terror nearly had them wetting their pants as they clutched at each other.  Afraid to turn around, fearful of what deadly creature was lurking.  

“Be very careful, or you may both yet get your wish.”  That virulent hiss came from behind them.

Trembling they turned slowly, whimpering at the savage rage glittering in the demon's eyes.

“Leave.  Now…” Angel growled.  The rage in his eyes cooling to chips of ice.

Jerkily they nodded and quickly decided that was a surprisingly good idea.  Better yet, staying in their quarters, behind locked and heavily barricaded doors, was an even better idea.  Suiting actions to words, they ran away.

Angel resumed control over his features and directed his attention back to the dancers.  Blandly, he raised an inquiring brow at Xander's questioning look, then shrugged as if he had no clue.   

Then the music started.  

He lost all capacity to move or to even think.  All he could do was stand agog at the graceful way Xander moved.  Sleek muscles flowed just under the boy's gleaming skin.  A hot flash of wild primitive hunger roared deep within.  He actually took a step towards the seductively writhing figure before reason reared its' ugly head.  From the look on Xander's face, the boy had no idea what the hell this particular dance of the Erosno meant.

All Erosno demons up until a certain age, or sometimes even beyond, remained virgins.  They might play a good game of being more worldly and sensual than the rest of the demon world, but the young ones had no first-hand knowledge of the intimacy of sex.  That was explicitly forbidden.  Sex and an Erosno was taboo until the Dance, it didn't matter how old they were.  15 or 60.  Until they `Danced', in the eyes of all, they were little more than a child.  

There were two ways for an Erosno to announce their adulthood.  Both were a form of dancing, one could say but at the opposite end of the spectrum.  One dance involved Death, or the cessation of existence; the other involved Life, or the mimicry of procreation.  

Connubialis Suscitatio.

To perform the dance of Sexual Awakening, the Connubialis Suscitatio, informed all that this individual had taken the first step in declaring their adulthood.  That they had reached the point in their lives by which they wished to be considered an adult.  An individual quite capable of making decisions, taking control of their lives and sexuality.  The Connubialis Suscitatio told the watchers that this Erosno had reached maturity and was amendable to a sexual relationship.  

Generally, an Erosno generally already had a future bedmate in mind.  If they did, the dancer would perform their routine directly in front of their potential lover.  

Like Xander was doing…right now.

Angel whimpered softly, his eyes glazing over at the sensual sight.  He grunted softly, a heavy jolt of pleasure jabbed into his gut when Xander gave him a hot, throbbing look over one warm ivory-skinned shoulder.    His groin tightened painfully, desire rising quickly to the foreground of his mind.  Only one thought remained in his passion-clouded mind…

…he was such a dead man.  

Figuratively and literally.

When Xander first entered the corridor leading to the amphitheater, he felt like throwing up.  The rushing sounds of so many people talking and laughing had his stomach churning with nervous dread.  He leaned against the wall for strength; unsure whether he had the necessary courage to move forward.  He started at a warm palm on his neck and started.

“Xan-de, you do not have to do this,” Jaile said sympathetically to the trembling human.  His eyes, shining in the dimness like a cat, were gentle and kind.  “You know this already.  You have nothing to prove.  Not to us, not to them.” He waved a hand at the crowd waiting for the main attraction, the Erosno dancers.  “Nor to Angel.  I am sure that he likes you just as you are.”

Xander nodded frantically, taking great gulps of air to steady his shaky nerves.  He met the demon's silvery eyes and smiled ruefully.  “I know…but this is my chance to show Angel, show them all just how grateful I am for everything he's done for me.  To show him…them, that I've changed.”

Jaile frowned, uneasiness stirring in him for the first time.   He cursed his poor grasp of the human tongue.  But before he could say anything or pull Xander back, the introductory music began and Xander and the others swept away.  Out into the waiting, avid crowd.  

Striking his pose along with the others, his arms raised high in the air, for a brief moment he mourned his body hair.  A faint look of disturbed fascination coursed though him at the sight of his denuded arms, bare of all hair.  He refused to contemplate the uneasy feeling under his arms and down his legs.  There were just some ideas too horrifying to dwell on for any length of time, he decided with a slight shiver.  It was all right for the swim team, there was a purpose then, but to dance…?  The things he did for his friends, he sighed internally.

 Xander searched hastily for Angel.  When he found him, the young man forgot his virtually hairless body and nearly laughed at the flabbergasted look on Angel's face.  All doubts and fears melting away as his keen sense of ridiculous came back with a vengeance, he smiled impishly at the thunderstruck look on Angel's face.  Devilment in his dancing eyes.

You've come a long way, baby, he smirked to himself.

However, heat rose in his cheeks at loud whistles and catcalls that came from the crowd.  Keeping his body still, he frowned at the look of terror that sat oddly on the two people in front of Angel.  He looked with curiosity at the vampire, but Angel just shrugged and looked blank.  

The music began and he had to concentrate on the simple, yet difficult steps to the Connubialis Suscitatio.  This was his chance to show Angel how much he esteemed him.

Firmly planting a foot in front of him, he twisted it in the sand, his hips maintaining time with the throbbing beat of the drums.   It mirrored his heartbeat, setting his blood to quickening.  He whipped his arms over his head, flexing first his hands at the wrists, then elbows as he writhed in a loose circle.  Concentrating on maintaining the grace and fluidity in the stylized movements of the dance.  Back to front, front to back, revealing then concealing his body, he was erotic, seductive beauty personified.  The thick line of kohl seemed to make his eyes even larger and Xander's face took on a dark, sultry, smoldering look that had numerous people panting with lust.  

The young man twisted, shimmied, his body moving with an eerie sinuousness of a snake as his feet shifted languidly, yet rapidly across the sands.  Carrying him until he was almost within touching distance of the riveted vampire.  Then, gracefully he glided back to his original position, reversing his movements, his body gleaming with sweat in the torchlights.

Low bass notes pulsed, called softly from a violin.  The music was soft, and insinuating like the erotic movements of the dancers.  Calling to mind nights of passion.  Of short, ecstatic gasps and moans.  Sexual tension, a need so keen you felt like you were dying even as you were reborn in your lovers' arms.

Pleasures untold.

Xander shifted his weight from side to side, trying to make his hips move as fluidly as possible; concentrating on not making a fool out of himself.  All unknowing of the glittering eyes that watched him with hot ravenous intensity.  

He held out his arms, angled his legs, and crouched down…almost squatting.  The front and back end of his skirtlike item of clothing folding gently on the ground.  Rocking his hips, he kept time with the drums as now a flute wound its way into the formless, pulsating music.  With his arms supporting his weight, Xander carefully arched his pelvis upwards.  Forming his body in a curved, fleshy curved bow; then back down, then upwards again.  Unaware of how lascivious and sensual his movements were.  

His arms trembling from the strain, Xander gratefully pushed himself upright, coming to his feet.  You da man!  He mentally slapped his back, congratulating himself on maintaining his breathing.   That was one thing he feared, that he would have an breathing attack and ruin this for the others.

Up now, his arms rising heavenward, turning sideways, he gave Angel a look to see how the vampire was reacting.  He faltered slightly, almost missing a step at the unnamable look in Angel's hot, burning gaze.  He felt strange, almost like his flesh was being slowly caressed or stroked…or both.  Weirdness abound, he thought confusedly.  

But it was the sight of Skoal's hand on Angel's arm that made a fierce ache riot in his midsection.  Anger and pain burned in him in equal measure...though why he didn't quite understand.  All he knew was that it hurt somewhere deep inside, like somebody punched him in the chest.  

And it finally hit him WHY he was so upset.  Why he wanted Angel to look at him…why he was so upset by the sight of Skoal resting his hand on Angel's arm.  He was jealous!  But WHY was he jealous was the question that disturbed him.

Tearing his gaze away, he put his hands on his hips.  His body gentling into languorous, scintillating movements with every pumping motion of his body.  Thrusting, arching his back like a cat in heat.  His nipples rising to hard, tight little points.  Succulent morsels of flesh that would titillate the palate of the most discriminate connoisseur of flesh.

His movements becoming long, stretching, and sensuous as he moved from one side to the other.  Twisting about, harmonious, hot…revealing.   A wanton. lovely innocent  slowly becoming corrupted by the desires of the flesh.  A story in his movements, a story that Angel read like a well remembered book.

Lifting his eyes, he met Angel's boldly.  But there was a blank innocence that made Angel groan in despair as he came out of his lust-induced daze.   Even after dancing like that, Xander didn't know or understand!  The vampire took a quick look around the crowd, his face shifting into his demonface at the ravenous looks of desire on a multitude of faces.  

Over his very dead body they will!  He promised himself grimly, a hard look in his eyes.  

Settling, he readied himself to sweep the boy away.  At least in their quarters, he would quietly explain exactly what Xander's dance promised and meant.  After maybe a suitable couple of hours, maybe they could return to the Jamboree.  Though it would mean a loss of pride.  Especially if one of the more scent-oriented demons caught a whiff of the fact that Xander was not marked with his scent.  Clueing them to the fact that they did not have sex.  

Still, rather that than see the boy looking at him fearfully.  He could still remember the fear in those bright eyes the first and last time he had kissed Xander.  Although the boy wanted him, and he KNEW Xander did want him, he had no intention of seducing the young man into his bed and arms.

Skoal gritted his teeth.  One look at Angel and he knew he had lost.  His lips tightened, his eyes glittered with cold menace and he was about to take a step onto the sand dance area.  While not exactly forbidden, it was frowned on.  Then he met a pair of merry silvery eyes over Xander's head.  

Jaile smiled slowly at the human.  His teeth white and gleaming.  And very, very sharp.

Skoal shuddered and clutched at Angel's arm in a bid for safety.  He remembered the stories whispered about Erosnos.  One saying in particular coming to mind, `You never see them coming until you see their teeth'.  The Erosno demons were the most sought after and fascinating lovers.  Their bedroom skills however, paled in comparison to their skills as assassins.  They were feared simply because you never quite knew that what you took to bed wouldn't wind up slitting your throat.  But that element of danger, that spice made Erosno demons even more desirable as bedpartners.

He decided to bide his time.  He would destroy the boy.  Make Xander feel alone, just like him.

At long last, the dance ended as it begun.  First the flute, then the violin fading out, leaving only the drums beating.  

Then silence.

Xander had no idea how much time had passed since they began to dance and finished it.  He pulled on every lesson in breathing control he had learned as he stood in front of Angel.  Trembling, he cut his eyes to the smirking Skoal then back to Angel's unreadable amber gaze as he simply waited.  Once again unsure of what he wanted or waited for from the vampire.  

But something, some feeling passed between them.  A question was asked and an answer was given.  And he had no idea who was doing the asking or what the hell was the question.

Shaking off Skoal's clutching hand, Angel stepped forward.  He gazed into the boy's wide, bright eyes and a spew of vicious curses were held behind his teeth as he peered into Xander's uncomprehending eyes.  He saw that spark of jealousy in the depths Xander's eyes, and for a brief moment felt a flare of hope.  Sighing, he simply grabbed the boy by the hand and, pulling the bewildered young man after him, headed for their quarters.

“Bye…Jilly…whoa!”  Xander exclaimed as he turned to wave at his friend.  Only to see her locked in a passionate clench with Joylt, a particular friend of hers.  Apparently a really, REALLY good friend.  Looking around, he saw all of his dance mates wrapped in heated embraces with their friends.  “Guess they're more than friends, huh?” he remarked jokingly to Angel.  Then bit his lip at the burning, indecipherable look Angel threw at him.

Frowning unhappily, he trotted behind his silent friend.  Flushing in confusion at the knowing, smirking looks directed their way from the others that had watched him dance.   Something was going on, and he had a feeling Angel knew what.  He hated being left out of the joke, or worst yet, being the butt of the laughter.  His bottom lip poked out sulkily as he was pulled relentlessly through the hallways.  He had a feeling that Angel knew or worse yet, was in on the joke.

Entering their quarters, he immediately darted over to the furthest wall.  Practically hugging it, eyeing Angel uneasily.  The vampire watched him with a bland expression, resting against the door.  Then reaching behind him, Angel began sliding the locks on the door.



Click….sounded like the finality of doom.

“Hey…whatcha do that for?  I wanna to go back to the party!” Xander exclaimed, straightening up indignantly.  

Angel paused, then slid the bolt on the final lock.  


“We need to talk…” he said quietly, pacing away from the door.

The young man frowned, feeling a weird tension coiling in the pit of his stomach.  His eyes narrowed.  Last time Angel said something like that, it was mucho bad news.  His expression resigned, Xander looked at Angel.  “I'm dying, ain't I?  Misty did a lot of damage and I'm dying.”  He took a deep breath for courage, vowing to stay strong.  He had gotten used to the idea of living and now it was going to be taken away…

“No…”  Angel looked at the boy in astonishment.

Xander blinked.  “Misty's dying?” he asked, his expression turning anguished.


“Uhm…you're dying?” Xander hazard a guess, feeling lost and floundering for clues.

“I'm already dead!”

Then the young man's eyes widened in horrified terror.  “Willow?  Omigod....!  The others, they're dead!”

“For gods' sakes will you hush so I can talk!”  Angel shouted, impatiently running a hand through his hair.

Xander drew back, his fear subsiding in the wake of his puzzled annoyance.  “Fine, talk!  If nobody's dying you should have said so immediately.  Getting me all worked up with your,” and he lowered his voice, mimicking Angel, “ `We have to talk'.  Last time we talked you wound up telling me bad news!  Two bad new-es,” he yelled holding up two fingers for emphasis.  “I don't quite trust you when it comes to talking!  You never have anything good to say.  You're like Giles on a major downer…blah blah blah… `the world is coming to an end and there's not a thing you can do to stop it.  So kiss your respective asses goodbye!'  And another thing…” Xander's furious spate of words were abruptly cut off by Angel simply covering the boy's mouth with his own.

Lifting his lips, Angel studied the dazed, wondering look on Xander's face.  He backed off immediately feeling his body hardening with increasing need.  A need that he wanted to satisfy in Xander's delectable body.

Drawing ragged breaths Xander slowly retreated from Angel, his body humming.  “What
…what was that for?” he said huskily, licking his lips.  Freezing when he saw the way Angel was looking at him.  In particular, at his mouth.

“Because you wouldn't stop talking…”Angel replied distractedly.

“oh,” came Xander's tiny reply.  Then he rallied.  “Usually you just cover my mouth with your hand.”

Taking a deep unneeded breath, Angel closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“It's that bad, huh?” the young man guessed softly.

The vampire gave him an enigmatic look.  “Depends…” he replied cryptically.  Pacing back and forth he asked, “Why did you dance the Connubialis Suscitatio?  And for me,” he added.

Xander looked down, a feeling of shyness overcoming him.  “Because I wanted to say thank you for being my friend.  For taking the time to show me what a fool I've been and kicking my ass when I wanted to give up.  I wanted to show you how much I respect and esteemed you,” he stumbled through his reply.

Angel froze.  “Xander,” he said carefully.  “When you say es-steame, how exactly are you spelling it and what does it mean to you?”

The young man gave him a confused look.  “Uhm, you spell it e-s-t-e-e-m, esteem,” he said slowly.  “Esteem means, uhm…someone that you…like or admire,” he said guessing a little.  However, there was something in Angel's eyes that was causing tremors of nervous anticipation to riot in him.

Angel wanted to bang his head against the wall.  “The Connubialis Suscitatio is Latin for Sexual Awakening.  Erosnos do not have a word in their vocabulary for love.  The only word that comes even close is Es-steame.”  And he spelled it out, watching the boy's face pale.  “Some Erosnos, those that feel ready to take the next step along the path of adulthood, dance this dance for their potential lovers.  Letting them know, letting the entire community know, that they are ready for a sexual relationship.  Sex is one of the two ways for an Erosnos to make the transition into adulthood.”

Xander blinked rapidly.  His mind swimming with images of his friends wrapped in the arms of the one they danced for.  His eyes widened, and he gasped.  Wide eyes darted to Angel's patiently waiting eyes.  The vampire nodded.

“You danced for me…”

“Bu…but…I thought…I mean…I…I…aye caramba!” Xander moaned.  Abruptly realizing his near naked state, he looked frantically around for something to cover himself.  Snatching the blanket off the bed, he wrapped it around himself.  Giving Angel a suspicious look.

Angel grinned in amusement, despite the ache of his body.  “Don't worry…I know you didn't mean it,” he said, laughter in his voice.  “'Sides, I'm not after your body.”

“What?!” Xander looked and felt insulted.  And hurt.  “I'll have you know that I am a catch!  You apparently can't seem to keep your lips off of me!” he retorted smugly.  He groaned as the brightness in Angel's eyes increased.

“What do we do, now?” he said miserably, looking at the floor.

“We wait…”

The young man raised his head.  “Wait?  Wait for what?”

The vampire's head tilted to the side, studying the boy.  “We wait for them to think we're finally finished making mad passionate love.”  His voice was low, sending flickers of excitement dancing up Xander's spine.  Angel's eyes glowed a soft pulsating amber.  Hinting at gold.  He could smell the boy's arousal.  The pheromones that scented the air were having a predictable effect on him.  

“Ma…mak…making l…l…love?” Xander squeaked out.  “But we're not?  Right?” he asked anxiously.  Unsure whether to be relieved or…firmly he stopped that thought.  Besides, Angel didn't want him.  His lips drooped disconsolately at the thought.  Then his eyes widened, and his eyes darted to the vampire.  He swallowed hard as an unwelcome feeling pushed into his mind.  He wanted Angel!  Dear god…all this time, all the jealous, resentful feelings he had towards Skoal were because he wanted Angel.

Angel stilled.   Reading a dawning awareness in the boy's eyes.  He smiled slowly, and sauntered towards the bed.  All this time, Xander only saw him as a non-sexual partner…like a sister, only without the boobs.  And the other things that made up a female, he thought vaguely.  

The pheromones increased dramatically as he reclined on the bed.  Watching the boy, watching him.  He deliberately inhaled, his chest pushing out from the deep breath he took.  Feeling the boy's eyes sweeping over him like a visible caress.  He unbuttoned his shirt, allowing the halves to spread to either side of his torso.   He groaned at the sight of his boy's teeth nibbling into the full bottom lip.  A tender morsel that he wanted to pull into his mouth and suck to an increased passionate fullness.

“I can feel your desire, your need.  You want me.”  He caught the flash of fire in Xander's narrowed eyes.  His smile widened and slowly his eyes trailed over the young man, allowing his hot amorous gaze to show the boy he remembered every bared inch of skin beneath the blanket.  He smiled approvingly as Xander quivered under his intensely visual caress.   The scent pouring off the boy had his cock thrusting against the front of his pants.  At the quick gasp from Xander, he saw the carnal knowledge leap into the boy's widening eyes.

“And I want you, Xander.”  He spoke with quiet deliberation, unashamed of the fact that his erection was tenting his pants.   Fiercely glad of the unmistakable proof of his desire for the supple beauty before him was visible.

“Right here, right now.”  Angel kept his eyes on the boy's face.  There was an aching vulnerability in the wide shadowed gaze.  The need to simply give in was at war with Xander's instinctive need to protect his fragile little heart.  But there was no way to protect against the siren call they felt towards one another, now finally out in the open.  This fiery, magnetic attraction that he felt for Xander only grew stronger the longer they stayed together.  And right now, leaving this room without touching the boy was simply out of the question.  

He sat up, and simply gazed at the young man.  It was all up to Xander now.  

Maybe when they had sated the urgent needs of their aching bodies, perhaps the intense sexual pull would be over.  However, he had a gut feeling that what was between them would never be over.  It would only be the beginning.  

Xander hesitated, his brow furrowed as he gazed at Angel.  It wasn't because he didn't want to.  Cuz God knows, he was tired of fighting this losing battle against the needs of his body.  At long last, recognizing the quivering tension that constantly ran through him when in Angel's presence.  Oh, he wanted…he wanted so freaking bad that he thought he would shatter into a million pieces if he couldn't touch Angel like he wanted.  Like he needed.  The urge to touch the smooth pale flesh was like a throbbing ache in his groin.  If it wasn't for the tight underwear he was wearing he was pretty sure he would be putting on a show just like Angel.

He had at last put a name to the uncomfortable, burning sensation that slid through him every time he saw Skoal smiling up into Angel's face.  Some people might call it jealousy, he called it wanting to beat the hell out of that blonde piece of shit and make damn sure Skoal NEVER came near Angel again.   He wanted to roar and beat his chest.  Loudly declaring the vampire off limits.

But underneath it all, there was a small, timid insecure voice.  It fearfully wondered if this was a joke.  Maybe Angel was just testing to see how far he could push him.  That once he got his clothes off, everybody was gonna burst in and laugh at him.  It was gonna be `Ha ha, look at the dumb, scrawny human!  He actually thinks Angel wants HIM!'

He didn't think Angel could be serious about wanting him.  Why should he?  Why should anyone want him?  He was a reformed, demon-hating liar.  He had done and acted like a great big, murdering jackass towards Angel for so long.  So why now?   

Angel noticed the pinched look on the boy's face, the wistful, uncertain gaze.  His eyes slowly began to burn, shifting to a golden shimmering color.  He held Xander's gaze until the boy's heart began to race.

“Don't be afraid.  All you have to do is simply reach out.  You know you want it; want me.  I can hear your heart beating, racing.  I can see it in your eyes.  Come here baby,” he whispered in a deep, sensuous drawling voice.  “And we'll make all your dirty, naughty little dreams come true.”

Controlled by part of him that he refused to recognize, Xander dropped the blanket and went to Angel.  Then he was standing anxiously in front of the older man.  His heart was beating faster and faster with each trembling exhalation.  He was shaking with nervous exhilaration, looking helplessly at Angel's pale, hard body.  Excitement, curiosity and a shimmering yearning left him feeling dazed and confused.   He ached with a need.

“Don't be teasing me,” Xander begged huskily, meeting the vampire's narrowed gaze.  “I don't wanna play games.”

“I'm not playing, baby,” Angel half-whispered to the agitated figure.  He reached out and tugged Xander's sweaty moist hand, slightly pulling until the boy fell against his chest.  Holding the boy tightly to him, Angel fell back on the bed.

Xander repressed a groan at the thrilling, stimulating contact, of being pressed against Angel.  Although he had lain against the smooth, masculine form many times in the past two and a half months, somehow, now it felt new and curiously intimate.  Angel felt unreal, almost alien against him as he touched the sleek hard chest with wondering fingers.  Below, he could feel the thick, muscular legs ripple; cloth covered limbs rough against his bare legs.  Moving, flexing; gently intertwining and restraining his.  He felt something else too, and his eyes darted up to the hungry golden stare.  He ducked his head back down, shuddering excitement setting his blood on fire.  While it was interesting to know THAT particular tidbit of knowledge, it was scary as hell because he didn't have a clue what the hell he was supposed to do with…THAT.  He heard stories, like what guy hadn't, but still…and all his insecurities came flooding back.

Angel felt the boy tense.  He turned over, spilling Xander onto his back and gazed into the aroused, yet fearful wide eyes.  “I know you're a virgin,” he said huskily.  “And to tell you the truth, I'm kinda excited by it.  Which you can undoubtedly feel,” he added ruefully and was pleased to see the tide of red swept over the boy's cheeks.  “But it's okay, we can go at your speed and I'll be careful.  The last thing I want is for you to be hurt or frightened by what we're doing.”

Xander relaxed, reading the sincere emotion in Angel's gaze.  He reached up and stroked his fingers down the beautiful face, suddenly aware of his own body's swelling arousal.  Feeling new and scorching tingles of wild pleasure surging through him, arrowing downward and setting off fireworks in his aroused flesh.  He gasped, convulsed gently under Angel's broad form as a sweet ache pulsed through him.  He longed to touch, to kiss and caress Angel.  Succumb to the raging tide of unnerving need that roiled ceaselessly in him.

“You might regret it later,” he whispered, his eyes wide and solemn, reflecting all his doubts.  He was trembling in dread that this would be over before it started.  He had no illusions that Angel would want to stay with him, would want him forever.  However, that was in the future.  Here and now, all he wanted was to bask in the feeling that somebody wanted him.  That Angel wanted him.  And like he always did before, he would deal later when his world came crashing down around him.  

Angel kissed the boy with a smoldering avidity.  He gentled the kiss, making it ardent and lingering.  Slow, sensual and shockingly intimate and primitive.  He plunged his tongue repeatedly in the warm generous mouth, mimicking the effects of lovemaking.  Suckling the supple appendage within the sweet, willing mouth with a possessive greediness.     

“No, I won't and neither will you,” Angel replied arrogantly, releasing the sultry, tempting mouth from his captive lips.  His eyes glittered with sensual satisfaction at the flushed and breathless boy lying in his arms; lips wet and swollen from their erotic heated exchange.  The look on Xander's face made his body tighten further.  

Xander lay panting, gazing raptly at Angel's hard mouth with spellbound intensity.  He could hardly breathe; all he wanted was to feel that hard, ravenous mouth on his.  Again and again.  Lots and lots of kissage would be best, he decided.   He inhaled.  Lying in Angel's arms felt like a blissful, fiery heaven.  He ran his hands absently up and down the thick corded muscles.  So big and hard, he felt enveloped by it.  


“Maybe this is all just a dream,” he said quietly, softly trailing his curious hands over Angel's broad shoulders.  “Maybe I got hit one too many times by a demon.”

Angel laughed quietly.  “No dream, mo choi, only reality,” he breathed unaware of what he called the boy.  He slid his hands deep into the dark silky hair, tilting the boy's head under his.  “Open for me, pretty boy…!”

Xander parted his lips, and Angel swooped down.  It was almost like before, except this time the cool caressing lips gently devoured him.   The skill inherent in the lips toying with his had him silently begging for more.   He was lost in a lustful daze; lips consumed his with terrifying rapture, alluring rapaciousness, gratifying ardor.  All done in a breathless silence that made him extremely responsive to the hard, steely body pressing against him.   Very much aware of the cool broad palms against his back and the expert sensuality of Angel's experienced mouth.  The other kisses they'd shared seemed tame, innocent by comparison.  This time Angel meant business, and it showed.  Dear God, did it show.

His arms snaked around Angel's thick neck as he lifted to the vampire's thick hungry kisses with a wild, reckless abandonment.   He felt hard, callused hands removing his costume.  Seconds later, he arched upwards, twisting with lewd delight when Angel took his hard aching shaft in a carefully tight grip.   

Angel smiled slowly at the way Xander looked.  All flushed and pliant.  Big chocolate eyes, dazed and inflamed with frantic lust, lips swollen to a red, pouty fullness.  It was heady to think Xander hadn't done this with anyone else.  He wanted to be the boy's first lover.   He never wanted anything so much than to bury himself in the seductively beckoning yet virginal body.

Xander tried to speak, but Angel's head was already bending.  He cried out, feeling lips part over his nipple and begin a hot, engorged suckling.  He moaned, writhing delightedly at the intense feeling.  

Angel worked on the sensitive nub with single-minded expertise.  His intensity was all-consuming as he learned the heady pleasure of Xander's flesh in a silence broken only by the boy's frantic gasps and soft mewling sounds of pleasure.   One hand toyed with the other stiff peak, while he greedily feasted on its' twin.  He could feel desperate fingers clutching at the muscles in his upper arms, then in his hair.  Digging into his scalp, holding him firmly against the pouting, wet peak.  He reveled in the cries of pleasure from Xander as he explored the boy's undulating body.

He undid his pants hurriedly, desperate to feel the boy pressed against him with nothing between them.  His pants were undone and pushed down his hips, then kicked off.   He released the hard, pointy nipples only to find the boy's mouth, while he shifted them in the bed, then eased Xander under him.  All so that he could feel the scorching young body pressed against his bare, hairless chest.  Working his hand down the sleek, glistening back, he pulled Xander against him hungrily.  They both groaned throatily as their naked, hard shafts rubbing against one another.

“Angel…!” Xander convulsed in the cool embrace, pumping his hips lasciviously.  Feeling a slick wetness covering his belly.  He sobbed into Angel's mouth, arching hungrily to rub his drooling organ against Angel hard abdomen.  “Omigawd…!  Omigawd…!  I never thought it could feel like this!”

To Angel's surprise, neither did he.  He never felt this wild, or insatiable for another.  It was scary.  It was fascinating and thrilling.  “I want you like hell!” he whispered roughly, thrusting his hips hard against Xander.  His eyes glittering gold as he stared down at the dazed and eager boy.  He slid his hand downward, stroking over the heaving belly.  Further down, and the boy arched with a shaky cry when he closed his hand around the hard, leaking shaft.  Slowly setting up a dazzling rhythm that had Xander crying out in joyous ecstasy.

Xander was shaking.  He couldn't stop arching upward, craving more of the intimate contact with Angel.  He was so aroused.  He wanted Angel.  He couldn't think, all he could do was feel.  

He was on fire with a frenzy of need, a scorching hunger, and an aching thirst.   He was going to die or go up in flames if Angel dared stopped now.  He arched up to the chilly caressing fingers on his overheated flesh.  He gasped softly, his eyes rolling back in his head.  “God!  Angel…!”

The vampire's eyes narrowed.  He smiled slowly, his golden eyes with an amorous threat as his attention trailed to the thick cock he was fondling.  “I'm gonna fuck you in so many ways…” he warned the gyrating boy softly.   

“Yes!  Oh God, YES!  Yes!  Any way you want to, Angel!  Just do me…” Xander babbled, his voice breaking on a low keen of pleasure.  He pumped his hips frantically, reaching up hungrily for the devouring mouth, clinging, aching for more.  “Please, please don't…don't stop!”

“Don't worry, I'm not goin' to,” Angel bit off against the boy's swollen lips.  “I've got to have you, baby!” he groaned harshly, fumbling his shirt off.

Xander barely heard him.  He was going under in a delirium of raging passion.  Angel's knowledgeable hands had him reeling, his body firmly in the driver's seat.  There was no way it was going to allow his mind anywhere near to stopping it from getting what it wanted.  However, his mind had no intention of fighting.  It was in total agreement with the body.  

He arched up, moaning, moving restlessly under the slow, electrifying crush of Angel's hips.  Opening his mouth to the almost brutal, devouring kisses that made his young body ache, crave what Angel's carnal touches promised even more.

Angel caressed him with earth shattering sensuality.  And his mouth, that cool, hard mouth, was layering series of torrid kisses on his chest, his belly, his…he arched upwards with a harsh cry at the next suctioning kiss.  He was thrumming with undiluted pleasure and hedonistic need.  Short gasping cries spilled from his lips.   He clutched the sheets in desperate fingers, drowning in the new sensation as Angel worked his way down his tormented body.   Angel touched him ways he'd never expected anyone to touch him, but a cool firm mouth covered his small, embarrassed squeak.  

Angel's tongue eased into his mouth in a slow, sensuous exploration that amplified the experienced caress of fingers probing his body.  He arched upwards with a keening cry, as a wet circling finger stroked across his tiny puckered opening.   Previously untouched by man or beast.   Gently, sweetly convincing the guardian ring to relax and admit the inquisitive intruder.   

“Relax…” came a soothing whisper.  He nodded frantically to show he understood. The young man stared sightlessly up at the ceiling, his body thrilling to the incredibly lewd sensation ravaging through him.  Slowly his body opened, and he settled onto the  burrowing digit with a soft, hungry sigh.  

Angel pushed his finger inside, up to the first knuckle, and then slid it even deeper within the rippling sheath.  Xander's muscles clamped around his finger in a tight grip of velvet heat, searing in its intensity.   He probed deeper, gritting his teeth at the way the boy's muscles pulsed around his finger.  Imagining what it would feel like with his cock fucking deep inside the molten channel.  Xander groaned loudly.  Harsh, breathless moans coming from the boy.  Angel pushed further in, finally reaching his objective: that sweet bundle of nerves.  

The effect was immediate.  

Xander cried out hoarsely as the thick finger crooked, scraped across some nerve within him that made him feel like an explosion went off in his body; brilliant colored lights flared in his mind…it was so intense and mind numbingly good.

Angel paused to look down into Xander's face; lack of comprehension, the sheer absence of sanity was a reflection of his own.   He continued to plunge his finger in and out of the warm, snug passage.  Feeling it expand and stretch around his probing finger.  He loved the sweet, ecstatic moans that fell from Xander's mouth.  Xander was a natural, he felt.  The way the boy churned his hips up and down was intensely sensual and innocently lascivious.  Warm arms linked tightly around his neck, the supple, pliant body arched up to him, an offering to appease his carnal appetite.  

Dazed eyes were half-closed; from wet, quivering lips a continuous moan filled the room as Xander shifted and squirmed against him with helpless delight.  This boy, this human virginal, boy made him feel like the greatest lover who ever lived.   He felt like sinking his teeth into the proffered neck, Claiming the boy for all time.

The unabashed heat of Angel's eyes managed to get through to Xander's daze.  He noticed the vampire's bold, sexual stare and felt a little self-conscious about the way he responded to Angel touches.  He gasped and whimpered, flinging his head back as Angel's probing digit slid sleekly back and forth between his asscheeks.

“Don't be embarrassed,” Angel said roughly.  “There's nothing to be ashamed of.”

“I'm not, almost really,” the young man said with a husky laugh.  “But you already know that I've never done this before,” he added helplessly, his hips moving hungrily with every languorous move of Angel's invading finger.  He blushed, to Angel's wicked delight.   Xander moaned, his eyes fluttering closed when briefly the finger was withdrawn, only to return with company in the form of a second finger.  Both agile digits slid into his grasping center, stretching him, preparing him for Angel's considerable length.

He felt Angel's cool, caressing mouth on his body in the heated confines of their bedroom.  The soft, wet, slick sound of Angel's wet fingers plunging in and out of his body reached his ears above his own gasps.  He squirmed at the lewd, sexual sounds.  It was more intimate and wilder than anything he had ever experienced.  Especially when he felt Angel flesh to flesh against him.   

The older, darker haired-male continued to rock teasingly against the wanton, writhing youth.    Easing his fingers from the puckered opening, to Xander's loud vocal dismay, he chuckled at the uninhibited display of lust from the boy.  Swiping his hand between their bodies, he gathered more of their pre-cum on his hand.  Carefully, his fingers dripping with wetness, slid his fingers back into the snug tunnel.  This time, adding a third finger…then slowly a fourth to the spasming opening.

“Easy,” he whispered as Xander tensed involuntarily at the increased fullness.  “No pain…I just don't want to hurt you, baby.  It's going to be slow and easy, then hard and fast.  We've got all the time in the world.”

He hungrily thrust his fingers deep within the sweet rippling core, his eyes fixed on the dazed, lustfilled expression on the boy's face.  Just a little more…

Angel withdrew his fingers with a soft pop.  Shifting a bit on the bed, he grasped his cock and aimed it at the well-prepared entrance.   “Now, wrapped your legs around my waist, baby.”   

Xander mindlessly did as requested, gasping as his movement opened him up further for a smooth, blunt object.  His breath caught, his eyes locked onto Angel's fierce golden eyes.  He undulated, keening softly as the wet, seeping head caressed his stretched opening.  Angel, feeling the boy's pucker mouth hungrily against the head of his shaft as if to suck him in, laughed huskily.  “Didn't you expect that?”

He inched into the snug channel…

“Oh!”  Xander froze his restless movement.  He bit his lower lip hard as pleasure twisted and became a sharp, stinging pain.  He stiffened.  “Oh shit. I'm sorry, but that hurt!” he moaned in disappointment.

“Shhh, it's okay,” Angel said gently, hesitating.   Long forgotten habits of breathing had his breath coming in ragged gasps.  He didn't want to hurt Xander any more than he had to, but he wanted in.  With a sudden burst of inspiration, he turned his head and sank his blunt human teeth in the strong-corded muscle of Xander's arm.  

“HEY!  Angel, what the fu…owww!” Xander yelped, then yelled with the unexpected pain of being bitten.  Distracted by the pain, seconds later, he felt Angel nestled deep and throbbing in his body.  In complete possession of him.  

“Whoa…” he said softly, his eyes becoming dazed again with thickening, blissful waves of ecstasy.  “Oh, wow….”

Pain channeled into pleasure with shocking magnitude.  He could feel his inner muscles shifting around the solid flesh.  He shuddered, then relaxed when Angel moved sensuously, rhythmically in him.  But when he felt the long shaft leaving him, he instinctively clamped his muscles around it.  Blushing a fiery red at the deep groan from Angel followed by a hoarse chuckle.  

“Don't worry, I'm coming back…”  With care, Angel slid back inside the honeyed warmth, his eyes half-closed at the incredible sensation.  He pumped his hips, and after a few strokes, Xander fell into sync with him.  A fuckin' natural the boy was, was his passing thought.

Xander shifted delightedly under Angel.  His movements becoming increasingly fluid, yet urgent as little flames of rapturous pleasure increased by the second.  Lengthening, thickening with torturous speed.  Promising him something close to heaven if he could just get there.

“It doesn't hurt,” he whispered.  He laughed as the gushing waves of pleasure grew larger, rougher.  He kissed Angel's bowed neck hungrily, his body arching, leaping like a wild thing as Angel slammed into him.  “Yes!  So good!  So fuckin' good!”  he choked, lifting his hips, struggling to take more of the cool burning spear.  “Don't …stop!  Don't stop…! ” he chanted between hard, ramming strokes.   “Don't stop, don't…!

“As if I could…”  Angel grunted, lunging into the wanton core again and again.  

“I didn't realize…that this could feel so good!”  Xander gasped when Angel moved again, shifting the angle of his thrusts.  The boy's back was arched with increasing eagerness, the top of his head the only part of his body still on the bed as Angel grasped his hips, lifting them off the bed, pumping his thick, pulsating organ vigorously in the grasping sheath.  Angel's back was bowed, his hips were a blur as he rutted deep within the scorching interior.  He gritted his teeth at the tight, constricting heat, a suppressed groan slipping from his lips.  So damn good!  

Angel raised his head, his breathing rough and uneven as he struggled for control.  That this young untried boy could make him lose control was perplexing.  His hips moved faintly from side to side and Xander screamed, arching up then slamming down on the thrusting pole.  Whatever the boy was feeling, it wasn't pain, Angel thought smugly.  Xander wasn't struggling to get away, he was struggling for more.  Begging for it, really.

His movements slowed.  He wanted to make this sensational for the boy.  Unforgettable.  He brushed his lips over Xander's eyes, rosy cheeks and finally his lips.  Enticing the boy to open for him as he moved with erotic sensuality, slowly deepening his possession of the smoldering youth.   He moaned unsteadily, caught in a trap of his own making.  “Tá tú go h-álainn,” he groaned throatily, hardly aware of what he was saying, so caught in the magical vicelike grip on the boy.  A tiny shiver of pleasure echoed in his own body as he followed the quick, untutored movements with one of his own, much more experienced one.

“Still hurting?” he whispered at Xander's mouth.

“No,” he moaned.  “Oh, God no!  It's…wonderful…”

Angel nibbled languorously on the boy's lower lip as he moved again.  Shifting his slow thrusts.   “Can you feel me?  Feel me sliding inside you?”  he whispered devilishly.

“Of all the things to ask…!” Xander looked at him in amazement.

He bit the sweet tender upper lip gently.  “This isn't about silence, baby boy,” he said huskily.  “I like that sexy little moan you give, when I move on you, in you.  Tell me what you're feeling,” he moaned into the sultry warmth on the boy's mouth.  “Talk to me…those sexy noises you make turn me on.”

“Ooooh!  Oh!  Oh!  God!  I …can't …talk!” Xander panted harshly, his eyes closing his mind losing all coherence from Angel relentless driving lunges.  Maybe when this was over, he would be more embarrassed by the sound of Angel's balls slapping against his ass, but right now, it was really turning him on.  

“Mmmm, why not?” Angel breathed, slamming a powerful thrust in the rippling core.  He loved that look of wild debauchery on the boy's flushed face.  He abruptly decided that was a good look for Xander.  It was a look he wanted to see forever.

Xander slid his hands around powerful, flexing muscles of Angel's back, thrilling to the shift and glide of the solid muscles under the pale skin.  He arched sinuously, quivering with salacious desire.  “I'm burning up!” he gasped.  His eyes closed as he rocked towards a distant spire of pleasure.  “It feels so good…it aches!  Such a sweet, sweet aching goodness…oh, yes!  Do that! Do that again…!  YES!  It's …so…fuckin' good, so good, so good…!”  He voice rising to a near scream as he began to shudder and shake in Angel's arms with every powerful, slow plunge.   The room was filled with the creaking of the bed, the liquid sounds of Angel's wet, shaft as he plowed deep into the boy's tight, velvet glove.  

“Give it to me…!  Give me everything!  Don't stop…!  Just…don't….stop!”  Xander begged shakily, using his encircling legs to lift him up eagerly.  “Am I doing it right?”

“Baby, any more right, and I'll be dust…!  Angel groaned.  Xander's wonderful, gripping sheath milked him with increased enthusiasm.   “Mo a stor leannán…!  A stor leannán…!”

He wrapped his arms around the wildly gyrating boy.   Crushing the babbling mouth under his, silencing the rising wail that poured from Xander's throat.  Plunging his tongue deep into the sultry heat, mimicking his thrusting shaft into the velvety, rippling sheath.  He loved the way the lean, muscular body, slippery with sweat, writhed and squirmed against him.  They were separate, yet joined by that elemental part of him with wet, slurping sounds.  

He continued pistoning in Xander's heat, his body responding, quickening the tempo of his movements with every rolling, shimmy-shake of the boy's magnificent ass.  That look of mingled bliss and total rapture couldn't be faked, he felt.   Every spasm of Xander's milking ass magnified his own pleasure.  And while he hadn't thought the boy would be so…enthusiastic or enjoy it so much, especially with it being his first time, he couldn't help but feel proud of his skills as the boy continuously moved with him.  Those tiny gasps and moans were like music to his ears…

His pace increased, the mad pleasure had him in a tight, iron grip.  He was driving for his satisfaction now with almost a total disregard for Xander's anal virginity or his previous concern for it.  But the boy didn't mind, as those little whimpers of bliss seemed to indicate each time he slammed into his ass.  Xander was matching him thrust for thrust, begging for more with every downward, corkscrewing motion he made.   He took Xander's tumescent shaft in his hand as he whispered to the boy, long forgotten words of praise.  “A chuisle mo chroí…!  Mo a stor leannán…!”

Xander gyrated violently, hot explicit, dirty little words that would shame him later, poured from his mouth.  He was with Angel all the way, moving, undulating, surging back and forth as agonizing rapture swept through his veins.  Raging though him like fire.  

His breath was ragged as he strained for a distant goal that he couldn't…quite…reach.  As a sweet, hellish fire flickered below him.

Burning…scorching…scintillatingly hot...it claimed him, this madness that threatened to incinerate him, scour him with sweet hellfire.

He didn't want it to end…he wanted it to be over.   He didn't know what he wanted.  All he knew was he never wanted Angel to let him go.  

And when he was mindless and frantic, it was suddenly there…right there.  In touching distance and he was swept up in a maelstrom of roaring, searing heat.  A wild, crazy madness that brought a choked scream from his tight throat.  He heard the springs in the mattress going like pistons as they drove for fulfillment.  He heard Angel's harsh, desperate gasps, felt the stiffening of his body, just before blinding lights exploded behind his closed lids.  He arched convulsively, writhing gladly on the thrusting shaft that brought him to this final orgasmic point.   His cock, throbbing with each hot pulsating spurt over Angel's pumping fist.  

It seemed to go on for hours, days…years.  He couldn't stop moving, stop gyrating in Angel's firm grip even as he felt the other go rigid and begin shuddering over him.  His skin was damp with sweat of their lovemaking.  Because that was what it was for him.  That shattering thought triggered another bone racking orgasm.  He convulsed again, swept into another soaring climax.  Panting, he gasped for breath, groaning harshly as wave after wave of glorious delight swept through him.   His body throbbing with an incredible delight, with soul defying physical joy.  Angel was part of him, and he cried out when he felt the thick organ swell and burst inside him.   Flooding him with a torrent of cool semen.  Each cool load spurting, splashing against his prostate, stirring his limp organ to tired life.

And he cradled the cool, heavy weight of Angel in his arms.  Shuddering and quivering in the sweet, throbbing aftermath of the most searing explosive climax he'd ever known.

His legs weak and trembling from the strain, he allowed them to drop to the bed.  They both groaned as his anterior muscles tightened around the still slightly solid rod nestled in his ass.  Softly he kissed Angel's chest, his throat, his chin with lips that were swollen and numb.  He was giddy with delight.

Angel drew in a long, shuddering breath slumping into the comforting arms of the boy.  Nuzzling his face in the warm crook of Xander's neck.  He rested there, not wanting Xander to see his demonface for fear of ruining this poignant moment.  Yet, without a word exchanged, the young man silently tilted his head further, offered him a bared, defenseless neck.   He licked, then kissed the frantically beating vein as gentle fingers swept over his uncovered face.  Hesitated over the rippled brows then continued touching him.  Then coming back to his brow and stroking soothingly over his forehead.

They rested that way for a few moments before Angel summoned enough strength to pull away.  He rolled away with a rough expulsion of breath and simply lay there, with a silly grin on his face, sated to his bones.   He knew Xander had experienced the same, if not more, level of pure gratification than he had.  The boy had been a virgin, and he had made Xander climax the first time.

At the tentative movement at his side, he glanced into Xander's soft, wondering eyes.  He saw the slight look of fear in the boy's eyes, and he knew that Xander thought he would reject him.  His grin gentled, softened to a tender look of understanding.  Reaching out he pulled the sweaty, young body to him, resting Xander's head on his chest.  Profoundly grateful that his soul was secure, otherwise this quiet boy nestled so sweetly in his arms would be in a great deal of trouble.   He paused.  But on the other hand, after a session like that, he had a feeling that Angelus would perhaps prefer to keep Xander around.

Xander lay against Angel.  He grimaced at the sticky mess liberally covering them both.  Though he was secretly amazed at how fantastic this had been.  He had a feeling Angel had spoiled him for anyone else.   

“C'mon,” Angel urged the boy softly.  “We're a mess.  I think we need a nice relaxing shower before bed.”  He slid out of the bed, his brows rising at the furious blush that now colored Xander's face.  Why was the boy embarrassed?  And why now all of a sudden?  Maybe he had been a demon too long, sometimes he just didn't understand humans anymore.

Xander's eyes widened in horrified disbelief at the sight of a nude Angel.  Especially at the massive girth of the vampire's shaft.  THAT was inside…of HIM?   

Holy Mother of God!

Growing tired of the boy's continuing silence Angel solved the problem by simply scooping Xander in his arms and striding for the bathroom.  There was no way he was getting back into bed with dried cum on him or Xander.  He would be up all night; fantasizing about the remembered ecstasy he had felt surrounded by the boy's velvety supple walls.  Hard and aching to be pounding his way to a little slice of heaven in Xander's honeypot.

“What…?” the young man sputtered as he was summarily picked up and carried to the bathroom.  

“You weren't moving, I want us clean,” Angel said succinctly.  He set the boy on his feet, puzzled for a brief moment when Xander pulled the shower curtain about his body.  It finally dawned on him that the boy was embarrassed to be seen naked before him.  Which was weird considering he just had his dick up Xander's ass.

Turning on the water, he eyed the boy from the corner of his eyes.  Testing it to make sure it was at the right temperature for Xander.  Then moving swiftly he had the shower curtain away from the blushing youth, and both were standing under the pounding water.  Xander tried to hide behind Angel's broad back, but the vampire quickly stopped that motion.  

A stor, it's a little too late to be shy,” he rumbled.  He pulled Xander to his chest, allowing the youth to hide his face.  

“I can be anything I want to be…” came the childish retort.  “And I wanna be embarrassed!”  He claimed.  “Can't help BUT be embarrassed,” Angel heard the boy mutter to himself.

They stood for several minutes, letting the warm, soothing water beat down on their weary bodies.  Predictably Angel began to come alive, a fact that became all too evident to Xander.  The insistent prodding against his belly was downright scary.

He lifted his head, to meet Angel's burning glittering eyes head on.  He swallowed hard, mesmerized by the hot, scorching look in the golden eyes.  “Yes, I want you again.  And again and again,” Angel spoke deliberately, making no attempt to hide the state of his need.  “I'll want you as many times as I can within the next two weeks,” he added, letting the boy know that his plans had not changed just because Xander was the most fantastic lay he had ever had.

“oh,” was all Xander could say.  He ducked his head, unsure of what to do.  On the one hand, he was turning mental cartwheels at the thought of having sex with Angel again; but on the other hand, his ass was sore.  

Angel smiled softly, understanding the hesitation he felt from the boy.  “But this was your first time, and you're sore.  I'm not going anywhere.  I can wait,” he promised gently.

Xander looked up, relief making him feel giddy.   He didn't want to mess up the best thing he had going right now by saying `No'.

“Leannán, you always have the right to tell me `No',” Angel said quietly.   His eyes, while still gold, were compassionate.  

Growing uncomfortable, Xander switched topics.  “What did you call me?  A stor and Leannán?  What do they mean?”

Angel hesitated, cursing himself for slipping.  “'A stor' means….means…Alexander.  Which happens to be your full name, right?  And `leannán' means friend,” he said glibly.

Xander gave him a suspicious look but decided not to challenge the man.  He would find out for himself.  He knew Angel was lying through his teeth, he hadn't seen that kinda babbling since Willow.

They washed, with him trying to ignore the solid rod poking him in the back.  While some of it may have been accidental, he was pretty sure the rest of it wasn't.  When he dropped the soap, he didn't dare try to pick it up.  

Angel laughed silently at the dismay coming from the boy.  He so enjoyed teasing Xander in this new exciting way.  

“C'mon, a stor I think we've had enough,” he said instead.  Shutting off the water he stepped out and grabbed the hanging towels. One for himself and the other for Xander.  After drying themselves, he pulled the boy after.  Ignoring the towel wrapped around the young man's waist.  He thought it was cute that Xander was still shy around him.

Climbing into bed before Angel, Xander yelped and scrambled hastily under the covers when his sole source of cover was abruptly removed.  “Hey, what the big idea?” he exclaimed aggrievedly, looking momentarily away when Angel slid into bed with him.  

“Prettyboy, I have no intention of allowing you to sleep with a damp towel in this bed,” Angel said calmly.  Leaning over, he blew out the candle before resettling himself.  Comfortable, he snatched the warm form into his arms and pressed Xander to his chest with a contented sigh.

Soft mumbling came from the boy, as Xander squirmed for the best position against Angel.   A light slap on his bare buttocks elicited a startled yelp from him.  “Will you be still…” Angel said in exasperation.  

“Don't like this position…” came a resentful mutter from his arms.

With a sigh, Angel loosened his arms, allowing the boy to turn on his side facing him.  He turned also, resting on his back.  Laying his head on Angel's broad chest, his arm coming up and resting on the opposite muscular shoulder, Xander sighed.  Squirming once, he tried to keep his shaft from touching Angel.   His efforts were futile when Angel gathered him closer, resting a cool, possessive hand on his behind.  Raising his head, he met Angel's amber eyes when a thick finger glided softly, soothingly over his sore opening.   Slowly he lowered his head, comforted by the calming caress.

Soon he was fast asleep.

Angel brought the hand resting on the boy's ass to his mouth and, wetting it liberally, he returned to his soothing caress.   Gradually easing his finger in the delicate entrance and letting it remain.

Gradually, he fell asleep as well.

táim i ngrá leat = I'm in love with you
Gráim thú = I love you
cronaím thú = I miss you
Tá tú go h-álainn = you're beautiful
a chuisle mo chroí.....my dear darling/treasure...
...a ghrá mo chroí....love of my heart...
Gráim thú - I Love You
A Grá - My Love
Anam Cara - Soul Friend (soul mate)
A stor - Darling
Thabharfainn fuil mo chroí duit - I`d give you the blood of my heart
Grá mo Chroí - Love of my heart
Leannán - Lover
Mo grá thu - My love to you
Cairdeas, Grá, Dílseacht - Friendship, Love, Loyalty
Tugaim mo chroí duit go deo - I give my heart to you forever
Tugaim mo chroí duit - I give my heart to you
Mo chroí iomlán - My Whole Heart
Gealltanas Síoraí - Eternal Promise
Go síoraí - Eternally
Le grá go deo - With love forever
Chapter 6

Angel woke up.  In the way of all vampires, one minute deeply asleep, the next minute extremely wide awake.  It helped keep down unnecessary staking.  Sometimes they even got breakfast thrown in.  

As always, he had to pry Xander off his body.  Standing at the side of the bed, he grinned at the innocent picture the boy made when fast asleep.   Unable to resist, he kissed the slumbering youth gently on the nose, then got dressed.  

Quietly he eased out of the door, and shut it firmly behind him.   He was hungry and he was sure Xander would be starving when he woke.  Besides, this was officially their `honeymoon' time.   No one expected to see much of them for the next seven to eight days.  The fact that he was considered the dominant one in this tenuous relationship meant that he was the primary hunter/gatherer.  Xander wasn't supposed to set foot outside their quarters until their `honeymoon' was over.

Angel smiled modestly at the hearty congratulations he received from just about everyone he encountered.  By the time he made it to the kitchens, his hands were full of things that some of the people thought they might need.  He eyed the large dildo in askance.  Deciding firmly that this was one thing neither one of them would be using.  Though the eight tubes of lube, oh yeah, that would definitely come in handy.

Making his way to the Kitchens, he called out for JessiKa.   Nearly blushing at the knowing leer on her wrinkled, old face.  “Hey, do you have anymore of those portable ice chests that I can borrow for a couple of days?  And I'll need a lot of non-perishable foods for…”

“…the boy.  I know,” she cackled wickedly.  Giving Angel a companionable nudge in his side, she winked sagely.  “What did I tell ya?  Fuck that boy until he can't walk, and that'll straighten everything out.  Works like a charm!”  She bustled away, snickering delightedly at the wild, stunned look that instantly developed in Angel's eyes.  She was an evil, old female but she loved shocking him!  He needed to loosen up some; she had a feeling that with Xander in his life, her boy wouldn't have time to brood.

Angel shook his head.  Why did he always feel so shocked at whatever fell from JessiKa's lips?  She was an old reprobate from the word go.  With seven husbands dead and buried, and over 60 children he shouldn't let her earthy speech faze him.  But he did.  Every freaking time, he grumbled to himself.

Gathering the necessary supplies that would last him and Xander for at least a day or two, he headed back to his quarters, dragging two chests full of foodstuff.  Hopefully the boy would enjoy eating by the fireside.  His lips curled upwards in a smile.  He definitely would enjoy it!  Especially with the white furry rug he had been given.  He could just picture Xander, sprawled against the pale fur, the flickering fire casting golden highlights on all that delectable skin.  

He hurried faster to the lair where his mate rested.  Slowly his demonface shifted into full view without him noticing as his mind darkened to a more primitive mode.   Unaware of a pair of jealous, furious eyes watching him from the shadows.

In Angel's unseen observer's mind, a house was on fire.  Flames licked hungrily at the wooden framework, almost with a life all its own.  Roaring with incandescent, primal energy.  It was usually enough to ease his feelings of rage, the image of his home, his former life destroyed in a raging conflagration.  It always worked before.  But for once the seductive imagery wasn't working.  Try as he might, it just wasn't doing it's usual job.  Suddenly, Xander appeared in a window, beating on it with frantic fists.  His face a frozen mask of terror as flames licked greedily at the house.  

Skoal smiled, a look of serene peace on his face.  He shuddered ecstatically when Xander desperately crashed through the windowpane, mouth opened in a scream of terror as he frantically tried beating out the flames that ate his body.   Hmmm, I guess picturing those old fools knocked out in the bed just ain't cutting it anymore, he mused whimsically.  But this is good; actually it's a lot better.   Now, how to make it a reality, he pondered thoughtfully.  There was a liquid softness in his eerie green eyes at odds with the murderous thoughts taking shape in his mind.  Stepping back, he faded into the shadows, with a new obsession: planning the destruction of Xander Harris.

Arriving back at his lair, Angel cast a suspicious look around before entering.  He was sure no one had touched the door, but still…

However, at the sight of Xander nestled peacefully in the rumpled bed, he relaxed subtly.  Quietly he set everything in front of the door, covering everything with the fur throw, subconsciously making sure that he had an early warning system.  He approached the boy.   Sniffing the air around the bed, he relaxed even more, smelling only his and Xander's scents co-mingled.

His eyes fixed on the boy's sleeping face; he hurriedly pulled off his clothes and took a step towards the bed.  Abruptly recalling he hadn't fed yet, he darted back to the ice chest and rummaged for a bag of blood.  Grimacing, he drank it cold.  A shudder of distaste rippling over him.  Blech!

Rushing into the bathroom, he gargled and rinsed his mouth.  Then licking his lips, he headed back to the bed.

Easing under the covers, he nuzzled coaxingly into his lover's neck.  “Hey, prettyboy…” he cajoled gently, utterly charmed at the dreamy smile that curved the pink, tender lips.   Xander had yet to open his eyes.


“Are you going to get up…?”

“uh uh…”

Angel shook with silent laughter at the mumbled reply.

Xander decided to elaborate with drowsy eloquence.  “Cold….” he shuddered dramatically in the warm, cozy room.  “Sleep is so of the gooooood…”  Xander reached out an arm and tugged Angel closer, humping slowly against the vampire.  “Mmmmm, warm….”

Angel laughed out loud.  “Mo choi, you're definitely not going to get warm cuddling against me,” he chuckled softly.  At the irresistible pout that formed on the boy's lips, he helplessly bent down and kissed it away.  His lips growing more urgent at the sleepy fervor Xander greeted the early morning wakeup kiss.

Pulling away, Xander leaned his head on Angel's shoulder.  “What a way to wake up,” he sighed blissfully.

“Mmmm,” Angel murmured in agreement, nuzzling the deliciously sleep warm neck.   A soft smile curved Xander's lips at the sensuous movement.  He shivered involuntarily, desire rising quickly in his body.

Angel, smelling the heavy scent of desire and pheromones lacing the air decided to ask a question.  A really stupid question, he realized in hindsight.  “Sex or food?”

“Hmmm…?” Xander breathed, squirming with delight as a cool tongue bathed his neck.  

“I mean, would you rather have sex now, or eat breakfast?  Or vice versa…” Angel said, so confident of the boy's answer, he leaned in for a long kiss.  A prelude of things to come.     

 Xander scrambled from the bed so fast, Angel nearly fell off the bed.  “Food?!  Where?!  Where is it?  Why the hell didn't you tell me you had food stashed away in here?!” the young man demanded.  His eyes darting impatiently around the room for the promise of food.

“How silly of me to think mere sex could even compare with food,” Angel muttered under his breath.  But he had to smile.   Xander was wonderfully predictably unpredictable.

“Food now…?” Xander turned back to Angel with a hungry, pleading look.  Before last night's performance he was too nervous to eat more than a skewer of some kinda meat.  He didn't even get dessert!  Like, how fair was that?!  

He didn't notice the white fur covered bundle in front of the door.  

When Angel rose out of the bed, Xander squeaked.  His eyes rounding as he was confronted with the extreme display of nakedness of Angel, his eyes grew even larger as he recalled his own state of bareness.  He darted to the bathroom.  At least there were towels in there that he could use to cover up, he thought unhappily.

Angel smirked after the flustered boy.  Debauching Xander was going to be fun!   He rubbed his hands eagerly in delight.  

Peeking out of the bathroom after brushing his teeth, Xander took in the sight of Angel sitting calmly at the table.  Food spread temptingly on the surface.  He licked dry lips, his stomach rumbling at the sight, but he knew there was some kinda trap.  But he was soooo hungry.

Gritting his teeth, he plastered a fake confident grin on his face and sauntered out, a towel clutched firmly about his hips.  But as he got ready to sit down, Angel reached out a long arm and twirled him into his lap.   His very nekkid lap, Xander realized with a gulp.  Then not satisfied with that, Angel pulled off his towel.   

“HEY…! I need that!”  The young man leaned forward; his outstretch hands desperate for the stolen covering.  He was anchored firmly onto Angel's lap by the iron bar of a strong forearm across his hips.

“No, you don't,” Angel retorted calmly, enjoying the way Xander squirmed in his lap.  He smirked when the boy abruptly froze and looked at him with startled eyes, feeling a certain, unmistakable stirring under his rump.   His smile widened when Xander, with a furrowed brow, wiggled that bitable ass curiously.  “I want sex, you want food.   Why don't we compromise?”  He offered generously, already petting the boy's rising organ with a delicate touch.  He already knew he had won before Xander agreed in a faint voice.  

Shivering with excitement, Xander tried to eat.  But each time he raised his hand to his mouth, Angel would do something wicked and twisty with his hands, and he would forget to put the food in his mouth.   Taking sympathy on his prettyboy, Angel began feeding Xander with one hand, while steadily arousing him with the other.  

Finally Xander couldn't concentrate on eating any longer.  He laid back against Angel.  Any shame or embarrassment was lost in the rising tide of heat that was setting his body on fire.   He moaned, his eyes closing, his head pressed against Angel's shoulder.  

It felt so good, that firm grip wrapped around his cock, sliding, stroking his overheated flesh; he could no more stop his hips from pumping upwards than he could stop breathing.   The erotic wet, slick-slick sound of the broad hand sliding up and down his drooling shaft, only heightened his shivering excitement.  And the solid, iron-hard evidence of Angel's need, spreading a sticky film of pre-cum against his back just added fuel to an open flame that was consuming him.  

Angel released the turgid, straining cock.  He dropped his hand between Xander's trembling thighs and took a firm hold of the boy's warm, heavy balls.  They felt like ripe fruit in his hand.  His mouth flooded with saliva at the arousing thought of sucking those soft, fleshy sacs.  He massaged the dangling orbs with a firm touch, and at the enticing way Xander writhed in his lap, he almost blew his load.  

Christ Almighty!  Xander was so enthusiastic and wild for sensual pleasure that it was difficult not to throw him facedown on the table and plow that beautiful ass until they both screamed for mercy.   

He returned his hand to the proud, hard organ jutting from Xander's groin.  He resumed his stroking, pulling motion.  Up and down.  Up and down.  Occasionally adding a little twist of his wrist to his beguiling hand movements, smiling at Xander's very vocal appreciation.   He ran a finger blindly over the slit, feeling the slickness of fluid beading steadily from the opening then returned his hand to the very solid, veiny hunk of muscle, rising upwards almost pressed against his boy's heaving stomach.  It was like a thick fleshy tower…all sleek, hard and oh, so alluring.  

His hand movements up and down Xander's shaft were sure and confident.  Not too slow, and not quite as fast as the boy wanted him to, while his other hand easily restrained Xander's undulating hips from moving too fast in his grip.  He licked and tongued the side of the strained and sweaty neck that was presented to him.  The musky, erotic aroma of Xander's desire filling the air like an aphrodisiac perfume.  It nearly overpowered his will.  He wanted so badly to be encased in the boy's snug warmth, that he had to grit his teeth to stop himself from fucking Xander on the table.   

Angel's hand moved faster to Xander's babbling joy.   He didn't know what words were falling from his lips; cause all he could think was OMIGAWD!   He knew someone or something was making sharp high-pitched cries, but he was mostly concentrating on the sleek rhythm that Angel's incredible hand was producing.   The pace on his cock suddenly increased and he ceded all control over his body to the black, hot crushing tide pleasure that pierced him.  Vaguely he thought he could feel even the hair on his head sticking straight out in the electrifying rush that swept though him.  

His shout of release was muffled by Angel's hungry lips, drinking his continued moans of ecstasy as white-hot lightening raced along his nerve.   He jerked and shuddered convulsively in the tight grip the vampire had, steadily milking his orgasm from him.

He rested his head on Angel's shoulder, his eyes half closed in the aftermath of such intense pleasure.  Then twisting slightly, he shyly kissed Angel's jaw in gratitude.  And wrapping an arm around Angel's thick neck, he lay passively in his lover's arms when his vampire rose to his feet.

Hurriedly crossing the room, Angel eased his limp, sated boy in the bed and followed Xander down, kissing the soft, luscious lips with feverish urgency.  And sought his own sweet release deep within Xander's body…

*          *          *

Two day's later, Angel possessively eyed the young man resting between his parted thighs.  But there was also a dark, thoughtful look on his face as he contemplated the top of Xander's head.   They were resting comfortably in front of the fire, one of their favorite activities.  

Despite Xander's firm insistence that he was okay with the short-term status of their relationship, Angel still had doubts.  Uncertainty and worry circled around in his head, erasing the pleasure he took in Xander's company and seductive body.

“You're brooding again….” Xander said abruptly.  He put the comicbook he was reading on the chest that they were resting against and twisted around in the small space provided.  Not even blushing anymore at his scanty attire, or the fact that he was practically bare-assed nekkid under the little apron -like garment that Angel considered appropriate attire.

“Now what did I say about you being broodboy?”  The young man had a severe expression on his face.  A serious look that sat oddly on his usually merry features.

Angel smirked.  “Uhm, that you would screw the expression right off of my face?” he said mischievously.

Xander blinked, dazed by the erotic imagery.  Half-way tempted to agree.  “NO!   We agreed that for five hours a day, I'd paraded around the room butt-nekked and let you have your wicked way with me if you'd stop brooding.”

“That's what I just said…” Angel retorted with a lecherous smile.  Then his smile faded.  He stared searchingly into Xander's eyes.  The intensity making the young man sigh in defeat.  Grabbing the comic again, he faced forward.  

“What is it now?”  he heaved a put upon sigh.  They were just getting to the good part.   Where Wolverine and Cyclops were arguing.  Now that he finally understood the sexual tension between him and Angel, he was convinced that Logan was smacking that ass.  How they were doing it right under Jean's telepathic eyes he hadn't quite figured that one out.   Hmmm, maybe Professor X was helping them!  Oh, yeah, cause Charles was probably doing the nasty with Magneto!  He smirked at the scandalous thought.

“Xander…” Angel hesitated when the boy turned those beautiful, dark eyes on him.  “Are you sure you're okay with this?  I mean, us being like this for only a short period of time?”  He managed to stammer out.  

Impatiently Xander rolled his eyes.  “Of course, I'm sure!”   He turned his attention back to the comic book that Angel had procured for him.   Tacitly trying to end the disturbing conversation.

Angel ran a hand through his hair.  He sighed heavily.  

“Hey, watch it buster!  You're wrinkling my skin,” Xander complained mildly.  But his heart was starting to race.  He had a feeling that Angel wasn't going to leave this alone.  Not this time.

“Look, I told you that I don't have a problem with this fling-thingie we're doing,” Xander said in a quiet voice, without turning around to look at the other.  

“But why?”

The young man groaned as he twisted around to look incredulously at his friend.  “You're not gonna quit until I give you an answer, right?”

Angel nodded.

Xander blew out an exasperated breath and turned back around.  “Fine!  But you're not gonna like the answer,” he said warningly.  Pretending great interest in the dialogue between the two hunky X-men, he said, “Because I never expected anything to last with me.  The only thing that we Harris' excel at is how to be a miserable bunch of screwups!  Every chance of happiness I've ever had, I've managed to fuck up.  This time, I'm letting go before I ruin things.  If I don't hold on, we'll still be friends.  Anyway, I'm not your type.  You get off on blondes, not brunettes.  This is just about sex.” His voice was quietly pragmatic as he explained the reasons why he wasn't phased by their short-term fling.  

“I learned to be happy in spurts, ya know, snatch a little bit here and snatch a little there.  It sorta keeps the Xanman going in the lean times.”

Angel blinked at the casual way Xander dismissed his belief in his chance of being forever happy.  Of deserving more happiness in his life.  “Xander, everyone deserves to be happy,” he protested softly, disturbed by the sheer calmness in the boy's words.

“Maybe, but not the Harris'…” Xander shrugged with seemingly carelessness.  But Angel's sharp eyes caught the faint trembling in the comic book the boy held.  “Either I mess things up, or people leave me.  Take your pick.”  

“But Xander…”

“I don't wanna talk about this anymore!”  The young man twisted around to say adamantly.  “You asked me a question, I gave you an answer!  One question, one answer…those are the rules!”

Angel, seeing Xander was getting agitated, backed away.  And he wondered if Xander was unconsciously including him in the people that left him.  Was he doing more harm than good in continuing this madcap affair with the boy?  His return to brooding came to an abrupt halt when Xander, growing impatient with the silence, pounced and began tickling him.  Laughing, he quickly rolled the boy on the floor and sought his revenge with a deep, punishing kiss.

Giggling, Xander laughed up into Angel's face.  “Thought that would knock the brood outta ya,” he snickered.  He squirmed eagerly when a cool hand was thrust under his flap of cloth and began fondling him.

“Now you have to pay the piper,” Angel murmured bending quickly to seize the willing lips.  Grabbing a tube of lube off the chest, he was happy to see it was vanilla, his favorite flavor.  He licked his lips.

He had it open and a generous amount was applied to the excited, wiggling boy.  Slicking the entrance, he played languidly in the sweet, silken sheath.  His eyes fixed on the storm of emotions that washed over Xander's passion flushed face.  

“I'm all for paying my debts,” came a breathless reply.  Xander arched his hips with lewd, wanton enthusiasm.   Sometimes he felt like the biggest slut at how eager he was to present his ass to Angel.  But to his surprise, that thought didn't dismay him.  He would rather be Angel's slut, than somebody else lover.

All he wanted in this world was to be able to hold Angel and to be held by him.  Most often it was enough to simply rest against the big, cool body and simply talk.  Or just listen to the fire crackle, or even to those dumb CDs that Angel loved to play.  Grudging he admitted that some of Beethoven stuff was okay, but he much preferred Mozart.  Especially that Jeunehomme Concerto from 1777.  That slow middle movement in C minor sounded almost like people talking.  It sound so sad, yet dignified. Then the first and third movement of the concerto kicked in and BAM!  It made him shiver at the contrast between whoever was playing the piano and the orchestra.  Angel told him that in the first movement, the pianist answered the orchestra's opening phrase, which was surprising `cause it was usually the exclusive rights of the orchestra.  Then in that last part of the concerto, it got lively.  Angel called it a minuet.  Xander smiled, recalling that Angel said back in his day, they used to dance to this type of music.

Sex with Angel was okay.  Actually it was more than okay, Xander thought guilty pleasure.  It was wild and crazy, and absolutely mind-blowing to taste Angel and be tasted in turn.  To lick his way over the massive chest to the waiting lips.  To feel that big body pressed tightly against him, in him.  Feeling all that power and hardness slamming into him.  Possessing him with a soul-damning ecstasy.  It felt like he became even more alive when Angel was pressing deep inside.  He shuddered, reaching eagerly upwards and pulled that cool, endlessly seductive mouth to his.  

Angel took…and took more.  His fingers thrust with slow easy, sliding movement into Xander's supple, back passage.  He shivered at how incredible the boy felt nipping at his buried fingers.  It always amazed him that no matter how much he took from Xander, his dark-haired lover had an almost inexhaustible supply.  The more he demanded, the more the boy gave.  Xander's response to his loving was always a heated, generous, uninhibited response that seemed to increase with every beat of his human's heart.  Doubling, tripling their pleasure over and over again.  Sweeping him up in the sheer intensity of the wonderful gift Xander gave to him.  Every time.  

It wasn't totally about the sexual romps between them.  Some nights and days, they were content to simply lay in front of the fire and talk.  He recalled the time when Misty was linked with Xander, and after she had left, with a warm glow.  It wasn't just the fantastic sex he was interested in.  Though that was a decided plus, he thought just before he lost himself in the soft magic of his gift.  Tasting the hot, honeyed warmth that lurked in the boy's mouth.  Tasting, caressing and enjoying Xander with slow caressing movements of his tongue.  Luring his boy deeper and deeper into the wild, urgent passion that seemed to grow in bounding leaps between them.  Gentle at first, his need grew, expanded until all he could think of was how much he wanted to feel Xander writhing under him, crying, screaming with passion.  Making those hoarse, choked cries that he loved to hear, making his dick stiffened even harder in the boy's constricting, slick heat.  

When Angel's fingers caressed his prostate, Xander's cry of delight was muffled by a devouring, ravenous mouth.  Angel greedily drank that sound of passion, determined to wring more from his sweet, sensual angel.   His hand moving at a staggered pace, infrequently brushing across Xander's nerve nodule, and he gloried in the choked cries coming from the boy.  That look of blind, helpless passion spurred him on.  

Xander gripped Angel's shoulders tightly, his feet flat on the rug as he lifted his hips eagerly, thrusting his ass shamelessly on the deeply embedded fingers.  His breath ragged and coming in sobs of pleasure with each scorching plunge of the thick digits in his spasming entrance.

“An…gel…please!  Oh…GOD!   OhgodohgodohGOD!  Harder…!   YES…!   Right there…THERE!   DEEPER…!  Oh God…deeper…!  Please…please…Oh God YES…!  Yes…yes…yes…YESSSS!  Mmmmm…!  Mmmmm…please…!”  Xander babbled desperately.  He undulated frantically on the hard, probing fingers before yanking Angel back down for a long kiss.  He wrenched his mouth away and screamed his release, his eyes nearly blind as milky fluid shot from his rigid shaft.  Splattering him and Angel with thick, wet globs of semen.

And distantly, he was aware of the tight smile on Angel's face.  Watching him.  It only made his orgasm that much more intense.  Knowing that every little contortion of his face was being observed.  It was also as embarrassing as hell, he thought resentfully as he came down from his high.

He flushed at the wicked look Angel gave him, still very much aware that long, thick fingers were still nestled in his ass.  Motionless.  Involuntarily his muscles clenched.  And he was gratified to see that smile disappear off Angel's face.

“Not so smug now are you…?” he murmured.  An unexpected moan slipping out when Angel scissored his fingers.   Rolling over, he presented his butt to his lover.  Casting a blatant look of need at the towering erection Angel was sporting, he licked his lips lewdly.  He faced forward, and wickedly wiggled his hips in invitation.  His reward was a hard thrust as instead, fingers, slick and nimble, struck his prostate dead on.  He keened loudly and arched back for more, his breath ragged.

Angel groaned at the lecherous display of eagerness.  He roughly yanked apart the little cloth that rested around Xander's hips, covering that delectable pucker from his rapacious view.   With hungry delight, he watched his hand plunge in the hot, buttery depths of his boy's wanton little entrance.  He swallowed hard, his mouth dry at the erotic sight of that sweet, circlet of flesh stretched around his thrusting fingers.   

The eighth wonder of the world had to be Xander's ass, he thought dreamily.  Hungry for a taste, he pulled the boy back.  Removing his fingers, he pried the supple cheeks open, greedily feasting his eyes on the beckoning, pouting lips.  Then he pulled Xander back, inexorably towards his salivating mouth.  

Abruptly, Xander felt himself yanked backwards and Angel's fingers removed.  His asscheeks were spread so wide he felt a slight strain on his pucker.  He could feel Angel's eyes burning, staring at his opening.  He blushed, equally turned on and mortified at the unnaturalness of being so…open.   

That was all forgotten as something wet squirmed around his quivering entrance, then sank into his ass.   Shocked, he momentarily froze.  A lightening bolt of extreme pleasure slammed into him.  With a choked cry of surprise, he managed to scramble away from the electrifying touch.   Flopping over on his ass, his hands braced behind him, he stared wide-eyed at Angel.

“What the hell…?” he managed to get out.  He trembled all over when Angel stuck out his tongue and lewdly licked his lips.   Xander's breath went out in a great rush, a forbidden thrill surging through him.   Then Angel was crawling towards him, a hungry, predatory intent look on his face.   He quivered, shaking with aroused shameful need.  All Angel did was just look at him, he thought dizzily.  

And obeying that silent command, he turned over and resumed his previous position, a moan ripped from his throat at the first wet caress licking his backside.  He tightened his fingers in the fur and spread his legs, trembling, whimpering with desire as he offered his ass to Angel's greedy delectation.

He quivered, swallowing hard as his asscheeks were grasped in a firm grip and spread apart.  Revealing him to Angel's avid gaze.  A gaze he could feel touching him, stroking him.  His muscles involuntarily clenched in embarrassment, but he was more turned on than he had ever felt in his life!  At the soft gasp from Angel, he looked over his shoulder, shuddering at the look of ravenous hunger on the pale, beautiful face staring at the quivering hole.  He tightened his ass again, this time deliberately.  His cock, achingly hard, stiffened even more at the sight of Angel licking his lips.  

God, he never noticed how thick Angel's tongue was!

“My, what a long tongue you have there, Angel,” he said faintly, trembling with the need to be fucked or whatever was going to happen.

Angel raised his head slowly; barely able to tear his eyes from the pouting little hole, blowing delicate kisses at him.  His eyes were blazing with hunger.  A deep gold.

“All the better to eat you, my dear,” he growled with a wolfish grin.  Dipping his head, his eyes fixed on Xander's widening gaze, he ran his tongue along the sparse, hair-lined crack.  A wicked smile crossing his face briefly at the dazed look that settled on Xander's face at his actions.  Lowering his head again, he devoted his attention to the tender brown circlet.  It had been a long time since he had tasted such a sweet ass.  And he planned to make the most of it.  He settled in for a long prolong session.

At the wet caress caressing his inner walls, Xander moaned low in his throat.  His mind blazing with the incredulity.  Angel was eating his ass!  And GOD ALMIGHTY did it feel good.  He groaned with pleasure, bucking when Angel licked a blazing line of wet against his perineum.  He writhed, moaned and cried with pleasure as that long, cool tongue bathed the inside of his ass.  

Flick…flick…flickering like a snake, twisting, sleek and far more flexible than Angel's thick cock.  Not quite as fulfilling but…

…he screamed, his stiffened arms collapsing and dropping him to his forearms on the rug.  Panting he lay there for a few seconds before he attempted to get back into position, all too aware of the wet, probing tongue now pointed like an arrow burrowing deep in his ass.  A hard hand at his back kept him in his current position, torso lowered, ass elevated in the air.  A dizzying wave of weakness and heat overcame him.  He started arching, riding Angel's limber, nimble tongue for all he was worth.  Sobbing for breath, a mewling cry escaped his lips at the voracious, greedy sounds Angel made tongue-fucking his wrinkled flesh.  

With a hungry groan of regret Angel pulled his tongue from the warm, puckered opening.  However, he couldn't resist diving back down and pressing a deep, opened-mouth kiss to the pouting mouth.  Drawing back, he noted with deep satisfaction the red, spit glistening lips that he had just fucked so thorough.  He ran his tongue over his lips, still tasting the boy's incredible flavor and the hint of vanilla lube.  His favorite.

Xander groaned softly as he was impaled slowly.  He writhed helplessly as he was skewered on the thick fleshy pole that drove relentlessly up his ass.   Trembling, he relaxed his muscles, gasping when that allowed Angel to go even deeper.  He breathed deep to accommodate the huge battering ram.  For some reason Angel felt even larger in this position.

He began pumping his hips, meeting Angel's thrusting cock, stroke for mighty stroke.  He squeezed tightly around the invading shaft, an unseen smirk on his face at the grunt of pleasure that came from Angel.  Then it was his turn, and he groaned at the tiny twist that Angel gave when he slammed back into him.  He felt as if he could taste the ramrod dick in his throat, it was pistoning in him so deeply.  Satisfyingly.

Bracing himself on one arm, he reached down and began pumping his erect shaft in time with Angel's penetrating strokes.  Gasping and groaning with each deep, hard-hitting lunge in his ass.  Moans and whimpers of pure bliss dropping unnoticed from his lips as he arched and shoved the turgid organ deeper into his willing body.

Angel groaned at the tight, silken heat of Xander's ass.  He pulled out, then shoved back inside, circling his hips and forcing a yelp of pleasure from his boy.   His hands tightened on Xander's hips, pulling him back, pushing the boy forward, almost using Xander's sweet pucker to masturbate his aching dick.  He slid his hands along the long torso, wrapping his arms around Xander's waist then pulling the boy up straight, then down, almost sitting, on his pistoning dick.  

Both of them groaning loudly as this shoved him deeper into the wantonly, churning body.  

“Put your hands on my thighs, then raise and lower yourself…” Angel grated out.  His hands were busy, one tugging and playing with the boy's hard little nipples, the other fisting the thick, drooling erection Xander was sporting.    His mouth was busy also, tonguing, licking every inch of the warm, sweaty flesh he could reach.

Closing his eyes, Xander drew in a deep ragged breath.  Angel's hands and mouth were driving him insane.  All he really wanted to do was lay flat on the rug and just let Angel pound his ass to mush.  He let out a shuddering breath, writhing then mewling when the huge organ seemed to pulse in his ass.  Placing his hands on Angel's thighs, he shakily raised himself up.  Groaning throatily at the heady, pleasurable glide of the cool massive flesh sliding from his body.  He rested, panting with just the wide, flared head still tightly clenched in his ass.  Then taking another deep breath, he plunged down, screaming with the pleasure that raged through him.  And he rode Angel's hard cock like there was no tomorrow.  Twisting, writhing, squirming with joy he slammed his ass repeatedly on the massive dick, whimpering with abject pleasure as his shaft was stroked in time with his motions.   He could feel Angel being carried along in his wake, trailing behind him as they hurtled towards a mythical point, gleaming on the horizon.  They were like shooting stars, racing against the sky.  Hurtling towards a shattering release.

“So good…so…fuckin' GOOD…!” he shouted, flinging his head back.  Lost in his dizzying, ecstatic ride of bliss.  

Angel gritted his teeth, struggling to hold on and allow the boy to finished riding his shaft.  But the incredible wild way Xander was bouncing on his dick was driving him insane.  Abruptly, he cracked.  Pushing the screaming boy forward, he shoved harder, forcing Xander almost flat.  Raising the boy's hips in his hands, he laid in a scorching, triple-hammer, pulse-pounding beat into the squirming ass.   Banging, plowing deeper into Xander's moaning, writing body with frantic thrusts of his hips.  An inferno of fire building, growing, creeping up his spine with unnerving intensity.  

He pounded relentlessly into the wet heat, blind to almost everything but the headlong quest for completion.   His movements rough, yet graceful.  Powerful and urgent.  He coiled tightly against Xander, nearly vibrating with an awesome, incredible tension.  And when it came, when his release finally came, he lifted off Xander for a brief, timeless moment.  Connected only by the wide, flared head gripped securely in the snug, grasping channel.  Then dropped, ramming his shaft deep…deeper still, burrowing, spewing milky fluid into the scorching, clenching passage.   Convulsions shivering, rippling through him and near insensate with pleasure, he was distantly aware of the stuttering, orgasmic cries coming from the boy beneath him as he emptied himself into Xander, filling the boy with cool liquid heat.

Xander quivered, his mind nearly lost in osculating waves of so much pleasure he thought he would pass out.  He came and came, writhing and pumping his release into the silky fur.   He could feel Angel shuddering violently against his back, a thick, creamy richness filling his ass to near overflowing.   His hands fisted desperately into the rug, his breath ragged and harsh, feeling a wave of blackness creeping over his vision.

Slowly…slowly he relaxed, faint tremors of sensation twitching throughout him, tiny bolts of lightening flickering through him.  He sighed, resting his cheek on the rug, as Angel pulled away from him.  And regretfully, out of him.

A long arm rolled him on his side, and tugged him close into Angel's body.  The coolness of his lover going a long way towards easing his overheated skin.  He shivered, wiggling back closer to Angel, his eyes closing drowsily.

Angel cradled the limp bundle in his arms, also feeling weary exhaustion riding him.  One thought though was uppermost in his mind was finding a way to build some confidence in his boy.   Xander had too much spirit, too much love to allow him to remain like this way.  If he wasn't careful, having sex with the boy would do more harm than good.  What really worried him was that time was running out…for both of them.

*          *          *

The next morning after a hot shower and breakfast, Angel sat comfortably propped up in the bed, the weight of his lover resting warmly against his side.  Despite his inclination to do so, he found himself brooding over the studious way Xander was reading his comic book.   He slid a hand down the boy's side, stroking, thrilling at the feel of firm, supple flesh.  Finally smoothing his hand over the rounded rump that he loved coaxing those endless shimmying movements from.  He loved how the boy was so responsive to his touch, rising quickly and eagerly to his caresses.  Xander was no delicate, shy little creature.  Thrust for thrust the boy met him with satisfying sensuality.  Vocal with pleasure and enthusiasm.

He smiled when Xander flashed him an absent smile and wiggled in his palm before returning his attention to his comic book.   Angel's smile faded somewhat.  No longer angsting over whether the boy was at ease in this short-term relationship, he now brooded over Xander's lack of self-esteem.   Underneath the bright smiles, the babbling and endless jokes the boy suffered from a critical shortage of confidence.  Angel snorted silently.  Though who wouldn't surrounded by a Slayer, a burgeoning Wicca, her werewolf boyfriend and the highly intelligent Rupert Giles?  It was almost as if the boy deliberately sought out people that would reinforce his lack of belief in himself.  Why did he…

“Did you know that in a recent survey, 8 out of 10 people stated that too much brooding by their lover really pissed them the fuck off?”   Xander said soberly without looking up from his comic.   He felt Angel start and reluctantly concluded that he wasn't gonna get to finish his latest X-Men comic book.   It was a new one, and that Remy was so freaking cool.  He wondered if he started dressing like that, would he look that mysterious and sexy?  He already had the shaggy long hair down pat.   He turned his head up and gave Angel a very intellectual look.

Angel slanted an amused look into Xander's earnest face.  He raised a brow, a slight look of disbelief on his face.  “Is that a fact…?”  he said dryly.

The young man nodded earnestly, struggling to contain his fit of giggles at the look on Angel's face.  “Yep…and statistics show that 4 out of 5 respondents agreed that brooding should be banned,” he added.  His expression was uncommonly serious.  And were it not for the laughter lurking in the sparkling bright eyes, Angel thought he MIGHT have been tempted to believe his boy.  Despite the incredibly ridiculous `survey'.

Xander's merry mood soured slightly.  He heaved an exasperated sigh.  “Angel, dude…
you're seriously ruining prime cuddletime with broodface,” he complained softly.  

“Broodface…?” Angel murmured, a smile beginning to twinkle in his eyes.

“Broodface…” Xander said firmly.  Then with a sly and mischievous air, he slid a hand between Angel's powerful thighs.  Obliging the curious boy, the vampire parted his legs further for the boy's exploratory hand.

“I wasn't brooding,” Angel's protest ended in a groan of pleasure when warm, nimble digits stroked gently over his awakening organ.

“Yeah, right…!  A brood by any other name is still a brood,” Xander misquoted absently, his eyes fixed on the thickening shaft as the mushroom shaped head pearled up.   He squirmed with mounting excitement when a hard, callous finger glided gently over his quivering hole.  “I told you that I'm good with this no-strings attached thingie we got going.  Any way you look at it, we're friends!” he said in a burst of inspiration.

“And the fringe benefits ain't half bad,” Angel remarked wryly, grinning at the wild blush the boy sported.   Despite the fact that he had a finger firmly up Xander's ass, the boy still looked embarrassed.  

“Ah, m'boyo…” Angel murmured, pulling Xander up to his questing lips.  “Ya do please me, with yer comely ways.”  He muttered, stealing another kiss from the willing lips that parted for him with a hungry moan.  His maps and papers forgotten as desire swiftly ignited, he rolled over.  And with Xander sighing, groaning enthusiastically he proceeded to pound the squirming boy into the mattress…

….a few sweaty hours later, they were back in almost their original positions.  Naturally, the bed was a complete mess but what the hell, they had FUN.  However, neither were inclined to change the sheets, nor did they have much energy to do anything but rest and bask in the afterglow.

Xander gave a mournful look to his messed up comic, damn and it was relatively new.  But he sighed, then perked up.  Oh, well, there was always his vampire to pester and distract.  He was really getting into this cuddling business.  He slumped further against Angel, feeling a strong arm wrap around his shoulders and pull him closer.  Man, I am so loving this cuddling business!

He peered at the sheaf of papers clutched in Angel's hand, his brows raising at the scribbled lines on the map.  Glancing up, he noted the tiny wrinkle of annoyance on the pale brow, and abruptly thought better of his plan to bedevil Angel.  That annoyance might just turn into `really get mad at Xander'.  That would result in a severe lack of cuddles and sex.  A fate worse than death in his opinion, considering how much time he had left with Angel.  Not a lot.  Not enough.  He shivered at the coming separation, his heart feeling like a lead weight.  

Absently Angel caressed the boy as he studied his papers.   Crap! He snarled mentally, sorely tempted to hurl the maps and papers away.  He simply couldn't figure out a way out of the trap he and the others were in.  

He only joined the group in desperation, tentatively offering his services.  He was one lonely vampire when he first came to Sunnydale.  And finding the underground community, eventually joining it, starved off some of his forlorn feelings.  But he had still been an outsider.  The only vampire demon below.  Which, naturally the humans of Undervale were VERY wary of being around.   They were no fools.   There were far too many places to hide, especially in the various tunnels that criss-crossed below Sunnydale.

For months, two weeks, he and dozens of other gamers competed in war games.   Several impartial Game Masters conducted the entire event and maintained a satisfying, flowing game.   You rose in skill level each time you defeated your enemies' army.   It was strictly all on paper and scale model, of course; but it was surprisingly challenging and engrossing nevertheless.   

Pitting wits against another opponent, banding together to wage war against a ruthless foe.  Crowing and doing the victory dance, the chagrin of your enemy, celebrating your annihilation of their pathetic excuse of an army.    His group consisted of four demons and now, a human female named Sally.  She had taken his place; he flinched mentally at the searing images of flames, when he was `away'.   

Unfortunately his group, the Stormrunners, was up against a foe more ruthless and deadly than them.  Black Death.   

And they were being systematically eliminated.  

To his vast surprise, he wasn't having fun.  It was a lot more fun being the one giving of the mighty death blows than to be on the receiving end.

That mixed group of demons and humans so far held the title of Overlord of the World for the past three years.  With cheerful, vicious glee they rose to prominence by slaughtering every group that faced them.  Merciless.  Ruthless.  Devastating.

And now, the Stormrunners were facing them.  Oh be still my heart, Angel nearly moaned, then paused.  Oh, yeah, right, it IS still.

They were dead.  Dead….dead…dead.

He scrutinized the map with even more care, studying the supplies they had on hand, struggling to figure a way out of the trap.  Because despite their seemingly solid stance on the board, he knew in his bones something was wrong.

“Whatcha doin'?” Xander said quietly, sitting up and peering closer at the map.  His curious gaze roaming over the valleys, hills and mountain tops and passes that made up the map.

Angel blinked, called back to the present at the boy's soft question.  He smiled at the intense way Xander was studying the map.  It was so cute, he thought with a fond look at the unblinking gaze.

“Oh, you know that war gaming group I play with?”  At Xander's nod, he continued.  “Well, this is the final match.   In about six more days, there'll be a new group of Overlords of the World, or another bunch of dead people,” he muttered sourly at the last.

“This,” he shook the map slightly, “Shows the Stormrunners position, which is my group.”  He removed his arm from around Xander's shoulder to indicate on the map with a long forefinger.  Then moving his hand several inches away, “And this is the position that our `scouts' show the Black Death's army encampment.  Smack dab in front of us.  We have to go through them, and the only way through is at this pass,” he said, pointing to a tiny area between mountains.

He frowned darkly at the map.  Unaware his eyes were paling to a soft amber as his temper rose.  “And I'm sure that once we're all through, they'll slaughter us,” he said angrily.  “That pass is just too narrow for a quick retreat!”

“What's this…?” Xander asked, ignoring the growling coming from Angel.  He slid his finger along the closest mountain.  “Can't you go up the mountain, and sorta come at them from behind?”

Angel lost his angry look to give the ignorant boy a tiny smile.  “That's Renco's Razor.    According to the GameMaster, the mountain is called that because it's virtually a sheer wall.   No one would be crazy enough to attempt to go THAT way!  You would lose almost half your people doing something that stupid.  No, going through the pass is the only way,” he sighed, turning his attention back to the map.

Xander looked at the map, looked at the position Angel's people were in.  He raised his brows.  “So, what's your point…?” he asked reasonably.  “If you distract them by sending only a small portion of your troops through that pass, and have them circling it for a few hours, that'll make them think your main force is coming through.  But in actuality your main force would be climbing that damn mountain.  And if you could get more than half your people up that mountain, you split them up and send one force behind them, the other group here,” he indicated a high cliff.  

“And when all your forces are in position, you attack.   They can't go forward, because your other men are right at the pass; they can't go backwards, you'll have people waiting for them.  Plus you'll have people shooting at them from the cliff.  They'll be like sitting ducks,” Xander finished, looking excited.

“But that…that…that's insane!  You…I…somebody would have to be crazy and…” Angel was sputtering as he looked at Xander with wide-eyed amazement.

“…ruthless and want to win.” Xander nodded, then taking note of the astonished look in Angel's eyes, he sighed.  “Sorry, it's a stupid idea.  You're right, a person would have to be insane to do something like that.  I'm sure you have a better idea.”    

Angel stared goggled-eyed at the boy for a few minutes.  Then at the map.  His eyes were narrowed and calculating.  If somebody was that crazy, that insane sending your troops up a sheer rock wall would be considered a sound tactical move, he thought tentatively.  Nodding his head, he made an abrupt decision.  

He needed help.

“Get up…” he said shortly, already sliding out of the bed and heading for the bathroom.

Confused, Xander did as requested and followed after the vampire.  He was surprised to be pulled, sputtering into the shower and roughly washed and scrubbed.


“We're going to see Jaile.  He's the leader of the Stormrunners,” Angel explained rapidly as he toweled his boy off.

“Right now?!” Xander asked, looking scandalized.  He blushed at the amused look the vampire directed at him.  So sue him for wanting to stay in bed with his lover, he thought resentfully.

Dressed in short time, the two ventured outside their quarters for the first time in days.  Ignoring the puzzled looks directed at him, Angel towed Xander along with him to the Erosnos quarters.  Stashing the boy in the study, he hurried to Jaile's bedroom.

Entering, he ignored the fact that the other demon was having a bit of fun with his squirming, moaning lover.  Explaining Xander's idea to the Erosno, he watched comprehension dawn in the silvery eyes.  Excited, Jaile, to his lover's astonished disbelief, jumped up.  Then he and Angel hurriedly left the room.

They sent for the others in their group and repaired to the study where Xander anxiously waited.  While waiting for the others, Jaile and Angel hovered over a huge mockup of the battleground.   Xander looked on in confusion as the two muttered to each other, which seems to be a very normal state for me, he thought in rueful amusement.  

The door to the study opened suddenly and the rest of the party entered.  The first one in was a fierce, lumbering dark purple demon that had Xander drawing back fearfully in the chair.  Deathly afraid of being noticed by the creature.   Narrow, glaring red-gold eyes created the ultimate effect of menace on a brutish looking face.  The white tusks protruding from thick, wide lips added the finishing touch.   It was unmistakably a male, and one of the few demons that Xander gave a wide berth to.  He had never `met' an N'desh demon officially, but just seeing any of them set off all his primitive instincts to run screaming to fetch a shotgun.  Or just plain run screaming.  It was the `running' and putting some distance between him and one of them that was most important.

Gratefully, he turned his attention to the other demon that sauntered into the room.  A gentle lavender colored face was framed by sleek blue hair cut in a feathered, layered style.  He was slender, almost to the point of being feminine, Xander blinked at the Doen demon.  He restrained a smile at the mincing way the guy walked.  God!  He hoped he never, EVER developed a walk like that now that he was on the road to gayness.   All the demon needed was a hanky to…Xander goggled, almost losing his battle not to laugh when the demon whipped out a handkerchief and delicately wiped a patrician nose.  The pale, sea-green eyes blinked politely at him before turning away.  

Xander abruptly lost his urge to laugh.  Not since he stood head to head with Angelus had he ever seen colder eyes.   While not all demons could be said to have anything remotely like human emotions, but they came very close.  In the Doen's eyes, he saw that it did have some humanlike emotions.  The sociopathical kind.  The pulling the legs off little boys and girls kind.  The setting inhabited houses on fire to toast marshmallows and sing camp songs kind.

Gratefully his attention turned to the large, grandmotherly woman that walked, somewhat, breathlessly into the room carrying a large satchel.  She beamed at him, and he hesitantly smiled back, his smile growing wider at her twinkling blue eyes.

“Angel!  Is this your precious boy?” she exclaimed in delight as she plopped her ample butt in a chair.  Startled, Angel and Jaile raised their heads just noticing their gamemates entrance.  Blinking, Angel glanced at a very red-faced Xander.  He hid a smile.  His pretty-pretty looked like he wanted to melt into a chair as everyone turned interested gazes on him.

“Yes, but he likes being called Xander…” he said with a hint of a smile as he crossed over to his lover.

“Uhm, hi…” Xander popped out of his chair and bowed respectfully to the demons and the woman.  Angel pulled the boy to his side, pleased at the show of courtesy.  He glanced around at the others, nearly puffing out his chest in pride at the manners Xander displayed.

“Xan, this is Delorez,” Angel said, gesturing to the elegantly attired Doen demon.  Delorez, now that he was introduced, inclined his head to Angel's human.  His eyes warming a trifle, laughter growing in them at the fearful look the boy gave him.  He lowered his eyes, not wanting Angel to see the approval of his choice of bedmates.  Nor did he wish the vampire to become curious and asking questions at this stage.

“This is Janus and that's Sally,” Angel continued, pulling the boy around to face the N'desh demon sitting next to the woman.   Xander blinked, then blinked again at the sight of the huge hulking demon…knitting!   

Sally patiently held a skein of yarn for Janus.  People paid a high price for his sweaters and scarfs.  And she was getting one free!  In your face, Annie Mae Jenkins, she gloated triumphantly of her friendly rival.

“Hello, Angel's Xan…” Janus lisped out.  His voice was incongruously high and squeaky.  He lowered his eyes shyly from the boy's staring.  Human males always scared him.  They were so…violent and unpredictable.  He shivered, and was soothed by Delorez and Sally's stroking his leathery hide.   Delorez bent and kissed his friend's shoulder softly, to instill courage in the hulking, timid demon.

Okay…Xander thought confusedly.   He glanced at Angel, then lowered his head at the amused patience in the brown gaze.  That's it!  No more jumping to conclusions, he thought firmly to himself.

“So, what's the purpose of calling us here at this late hour?” Delorez soft, silken voice brought everyone's attention to Angel.

Angel smiled.  Actually it was more of a smirk than anything.  “I think the Black Death have a little surprise coming for them.”

Janus looked up, a questioning look in his eyes.

“Xander came up with a novel idea on how to get the drop on them…” Angel grinned wolfishly.  “Tell them, Xan.”

Xander paled, and tried to retreat behind his lover's broad back in panic.  Angel merely reached around and pulled him forward, whispering to him, “Courage…the only one in here that will bite…is me.”  Softly, he kissed his boy's neck and felt the lithe body relaxed.  

Stammering under their inquiring gazes, Xander explained his `stupid, crazy idea'.  When he was finished, there was a moment of stunned silence.  It was broken by Delorez cool voice.  “You're quite correct.  It is clearly a wild and utterly insane idea.”

He paused, then a smirk of his own appeared on his face.  “I love it!”  His bow to Xander this time was very respectful.  His eyes were thoughtful and interested on this human of Angel's.  Now that was a interesting development.  Who knew the boy was that clever?  He saw the warmness in the look Angel gave the boy, and the flush of happiness reflected in the child's shining eyes.  Suddenly becoming aware of Jaile's stare, he raised a brow, looking between Xander and Angel.  The Erosno demon smirked knowingly and looked away, neither confirming nor denying.

Delorez hid a inner smile.  It was good to see the vampire opening up.  All he could do was fervently hope that Angel did not allow this opportunity to slip through his fingers.    There was much riding on the vampire's broad, yet clueless shoulders.   He sighed, while loath to leave Undervale, he would be most glad to return to his proper abode.

Later on, back in their quarters they were lying in bed, clean sheets bunched around Angel's waist.  Xander rested with his head on Angel's flat stomach, both enjoying a quiet contented moment of simply being.  Long fingers carded gently through Xander's silky hair as Angel mused on the unexpected gift of victory the boy may have given him and his gamemates.   Then he stilled, his eyes widening as a thought occurred to him.  His hand involuntarily stopped stroking through the boy's hair.  Xander wiggled unhappily against him, butting his head against Angel's hand in an effort to continue the petting motions, and the broad hand resumed its interrupted journey.

“Xander, who's idea was it to get the rocket launcher to destroy the Judge?” he asked with seemingly casualness.

“Mmmm, what Judge…?”  Hair stroking was soooo good, Xander thought dreamily.  It was quickly becoming one of his favorite things, just below chocolate and Twinkies.  His eyes were half-closed in pleasure.

“Shopping mall?  Angelus?  Dru and Spike?”  Angel said softly, not wanting to disturbed the pliant figure resting trustingly against him.  He didn't need to bother, however.  It probably would have taken a dozen snarling vampires, lead by Angelus himself to bestir Xander at this moment.  He was basking in the glow of having fingers running through his hair.  He was vaguely amused to note that if he had been a cat he would definitely be purring right now.

”Mmmm, mine…”

Other thoughts began occurring in the vampire's mind.  Scents and odors that didn't make sense then, but now he was beginning to puzzle things out.  That night he, Buffy, Faith, Willow and Giles battled a demon and stopped the Hellmouth from opening.  He was sure he heard Xander.  He was equally positive that he smelled the boy too, but in the confusion of the fight, he had forgotten.  Now, he wondered.

 “You know, that's a very special gift…” the vampire stated gently instead.  He stopped his soothing motions in Xander's hair.  He wanted the boy's full attention for this conversation.

Xander insistently moved his head under Angel's palm, and when that wasn't enough to get things moving, he reached up and began moving his lover's hand himself.  Hoping Angel would get the message.  No response.  Grumbling he sat up, the sheet covering his back slid down to pool slightly below his hips.  He gave a half-hearted glare at Angel, wondering what was with the non-petting of the Xanman.  

“What are you talking about?  No, on second thought, don't bother answering!  Can we get back to the cuddling?” he pouted prettily, lowering his eyes shyly.  Unaware of the incredibly sexy and seductive picture he made, he slithered closer to Angel's side and snuggled against his lover.  Drawing aimless circles on the washboard stomach, he peeked up at Angel.  “Please…we don't have that much time together and I want to get all the smoochies and kissage and…and…the cuddling…oh and lots of snuggling, that I can before we hit topside.”

He leaned up, his lips parting for the anticipatory kiss as he slid his hand up Angel's chest and around the vampire's neck.  He wasn't disappointed in the hungry, passionate kiss his lover laid on him.  But Angel managed to draw back from the too tempting creature.  

“Xander, I'm serious…”

“So am I…” the boy breathed in return, tugging on Angel to bring him back down to his waiting lips.

Angel suddenly laughed at the sultry look of desire on Xander's face.  Dear Lord, his boy was a tempting piece of baggage!

Xander drew back, wounded.  Hurt reflected in his dark eyes at being laughed at.  He sighed and looked away.  “Xander, mo choi, I wasn't laughing at you,” Angel said immediately, pulling his lover into his lap.  “It's just incredible how you, so young and new, can easily tempt and bend me instantly to your will.  All with a glance from those big brown eyes of yours,” he continued softly.  Sweetly dropping tiny kisses on the closed eyes, the flickering of Xander's eyelashes tickled his lips like the flutter of butterflies' wings.

“You're beautiful, sexy as hell,” he smiled at the pink cheeks the boy developed, “And funny.   But most of all, you're a brilliant tactician.”

The young man blinked, looking confused.  “What's a tactician?”

“A tactician is someone that can plan strategies.”  At the blank look, Angel further explained.  “You see, while fighting is all well and good, it really doesn't mean shit if you don't have a plan.  You seem to have an innate skill that only an experienced and seasoned commander would possess.”

Xander frowned.  “But I don't plan…I just…do,” he said looking muddled.  “Buffy and Giles plan things, not me,” he said in protest.

Angel snorted slightly.  “As much as I admire her fighting style, the only thing Buffy can successfully plan is the perfect accessories to wear with her attire.”  Xander quickly brought up his hand to muffle his giggles, but his shaking shoulders and dancing eyes easily gave him away.  “Seriously, Buffy's skills lie in her ability to fight almost without thinking.   It works well for a short period of time, but in the long run it's going to be the one thing that brings her down.  She doesn't plan ahead, as well as being a little rash and impulsive.  Giles does the thinking for her; he arms her with sufficient knowledge to get the job done.  But if she ever comes up against a thinking demon, one that's extremely old…she's going to be in a lot of trouble.  Because the older a demon gets, the more canny and battlewise it becomes.”

The young man sobered, thinking over Angel's words.  He still looked doubtful, however, there was a certain look of wonder in the boy's eyes.  As if he wasn't sure whether to believe the words or not, but there was a faint glimmer of hope.  

It wasn't much, but it was a start in helping Xander believe in himself.  He felt that with time the young man would grow to know, to understand that what he said wasn't mere token words from one lover to other.  It was truth.  

*          *          *

Four days later, they were ready for the final match.  For most of those intervening days, using some of the young human's hesitant ideas, they plotted their strategy. Angel and Xander made their way to the vast underground center.   There was an almost droning sound coming from up ahead.  Xander frowned, wondering if something else was going on that somebody forgot to tell him about.  The closer they got, the louder it became, his eyes widening as the sound broke down into a great number of voices talking.  Entering the amphitheatre Xander goggled at the vast number of people in the huge area.  

Jaile, turning to say something to Angel, noticed the astonished look on the boy's face.  He smiled.  “These tournaments are much like your basketball games up above.   People are extremely interested in watching the matches.  More so now that this is the final deciding game between the reigning champions and us, the contenders.”

“Damn…” Xander whispered to himself.  He craned his head, mentally counting all the people and finally giving up after 197.  He stuck closely to Angel as they walked to auditorium style bleachers surrounding the center.  He waved at Jilly, and a couple of others that he had become friends with in the previous weeks.  His eyes lit up at the sight of the Nestors, returned from waging a bloody war against the Harken-dal.  Or what was formerly the Harken-dal.   Word had reached Undervale that every last member of that family was now on a death list.   The Mother of that branch of the clan had been challenged by Mother Tanglefoot herself.   

Xander looked in concern at the numerous gouges and scratches on the hugely imposing female.  He winced in mute sympathy.  He tugged on Angel's sleeve and pointed to the Nestors, at Misty who waved at them merrily from her father's lap.  Angel smiled and with a quick word to his gamemates, walked with Xander over to them.  

Quickly the group of demons made a space for their human family member to sit and observe the match.

Angel turned Xander to face him.  He smiled at the worried look in the boy's eyes, knowing that the young man felt he would be blamed if they lost the match.  “Xander, stop fretting, didn't I tell you that no one would hold you responsible if something goes wrong?”  He gently shook the boy's shoulders for emphasis.

“Yeah, but hearing and believing is two separate things, ya know,” the young man muttered, feeling his horrible feeling of terror lift slightly.  

A slow smile spread on Angel face as he peered at the downturned face.  “Ain't you gonna give me a kiss for luck…?” he teased gently, knowing the boy would blush at such a public display of affection.   Sure enough, Xander's face turned red.

“Will you keep it down…!” the boy hissed, covering Angel's mouth with his hand.  He looked frantically around to see if anyone heard Angel big mouth.  He smiled nervously at a couple of demons looking their way, not really liking the smirks directed at them.  Really, REALLY not liking those smirks!

Turning back to his vampire he was taken aback at the mournful, lost look that was on Angel's face.  “Angel…?” he said tentatively, sliding his hand from the cool lips to cup the strong jaw.

His lover hid a smirk of his own, resolutely keeping his expression sad and hurt.  “I'm sorry, I just…” he shook his head roughly.  “Stupid of me,” he mumbled, daring to peek at the boy's confused expression.  “I just thought…”

“Thought what…?” Xander whispered, stepping closer.

Gotcha!  “I know we're just friends and stuff, but sometimes friends kiss their friends for luck.  To encourage them and…stuff,” he said vaguely, lowering his head.  Out of the side of his eye, he could see a couple of demon's laughing silently at his ploy.   He shrugged helplessly, keeping his head lowered.  “I just…wanted…” his head came up, a resolute look on his face.  “But that's okay…I understand that you want to keep us behind closed doors.”  But his expression said how badly he wanted to be kissed, in full view of everyone.  Though it started out as an act, he really wanted Xander to kiss him.  It did kinda hurt to know that the boy was ashamed to let anyone know that they were lovers.

Xander blinked, his confusion lifting and making way for amazement.  Despite what Angel thought, he wasn't that good of an actor.  But the look in those brown eyes did hold a look of pain.  Angel really cared about how he felt about him.  He melted, a goofy smile of joy spreading on his face.  

“That's not it…” he said, stepping even closer to Angel, pressing against the broad frame of his lover.  Linking his arms around the strong neck, he gently rocked his hips forward.  “It's just that every time I kiss you, I forget where we're at.   And all I can think of is you, me and the bed makes three.  You in me, me touching you, holding you.  Fucking you until neither one of us can think of anything but the crazy, wonderful feeling of our flesh sliding, pressing together.”  He licked Angel's parted lips, pressing his mouth quickly to the other's and backing away.

“You win this match, and baby, I'll fuck you so hard you'll remember this day every time you try to sit down,” he promised with a bold, wicked look in his eyes.  He stepped back, an alluring look of heated anticipation on his face.

Angel shuddered, his eyes flaring to an incandescent gold.  Taking a deep unneeded breath, he squared his shoulders and a grim look of resolution was on his face.  The Black Death was going DOWN!  If his reward was getting Xander to FINALLY fuck him, if he had to kill them with his bare hands he would.

Storming back to his gamemates, he took his place.  “Let's do this…” he grated out.