Pairing: A/X
Summary:  Angel and Xander, transparency and rage.
Rating: NC-17
WARNING: Contains semi-consensual sex.
Disclaimer:  They ain't mine, folks.  All here belong to Joss and Mutant Enemy.
Notes: I will love and cherish all feedback.
Spoilers:  Angel and Buffy, current seasons.
Improv: Flow, rave, blue, fall.



Smoke


by
Pet


The slip-slide-and-CATCH of fingers, light as feathers, light as air sometimes Xander thinks, so light he might be...invisible.  Such a little thing, this lightness, and yet so essential.  Hands in pockets, his own, other peoples', taking bits of their lives bits of their souls and anchoring his own into place, into this strange Hellmouth reality where everything tilts sideways and nothing works out right.  Demons after him, hurting him, but really that's ok because it means he's HERE, they can see him, feel him, damage him, and he's not invisible at all.  And then they notice him, his family, his sisters and father-librarian and why doesn't he have any male friends?  Riley almost made it, almost, but got lost somewhere and Xander's hands were too light slip-slide-like-smoke to hold him.

Trading insults with Spike and hadn't it been nice to have someone tied down and WATCHING him all the time?  But Spike's eyes were filled with blond hair and hard fists and a soft wounded mouth now, and he didn't see Xander, didn't see him at all.  
The new apartment too big, too empty, too much space for Xander to get lost in, lost and never found again.  No one there to watch him.  Anya's eyes sliding past his face to someone else, someone he is NOT and will NEVER be and does not WANT to be and why can't she see him?  

Little pieces, then.  A lucky rabbit's foot from Giles, a hairclip from Buffy and so hard to get past the Slayer-senses, but slip-sliding vapor fingers and it was his and Willow's Cross pen.  An earring from Anya, backless, left in her pocket for safekeeping not safe not and his best prize, his most recent, Angel's ring.  A tiny ring, old and silver, hearts and flowers twined.  A trip to pick up some goblet, a coat left draped on Giles' chair and a slide and CATCH because vampires could tell, could always tell if you moved near them and now it was in his pocket, in Xander's, a piece of Angel
that he could touch.  Would always be able to touch, even after he finally became entirely intangible, undetectable, invisible.  

Not expecting the call, days later.  

"Xander?"

"Hey, Wills."

"How are you?  I haven't seen you in a few days."

"You know me, just goin' with the flow.  What's up?"

"You remember when Angel came, a few days ago?"

"Yeah, Deadboy's visits always leave a big impression.  What, did he leave his soul here by accident?"

"Xanderrrr...."

"Sorry, sorry Willow.  What's up?"

"Did you see a ring fall out of his pocket anywhere?  He just called and he's FREAKING, told Buffy and Giles to search the house and the grass and, and everything, everywhere he was."

"A ring?  What, is it another Gem of Amara or something?  Sounds important."  Heart beating faster why is Willow calling HIM oh god she knows Angel knows his secret his dirty little secret

"Noooo...I think it belonged to his sister or something.  The one that named him, remember that story?"

"God, yes.  Remind me never to tell Cordelia anything I ever do...I had NO idea she talked that much drunk.  Slayage of the family, start eternity out right.  Nah, I didn't see a ring.  Did he check his car?"

"Of COURSE he checked his car.  We can't find it anywhere, though.  Do you remember anyplace else he went?"

"Yeah, Wills, you know how I stalk him when he's around.  I'm just a big, vamp-sitting restraining order waiting to happen."

"OK, no need to get all sarcastic..."

"Sorry again.  Bad day at the office.  Hey, I'll look around, see if maybe it dropped somewhere near here."

"Thanks, Xander.  Sorry to bug you, but Angel seemed so upset on the phone, and you know he's usually Mr. I Have No Emotions Thanks Anyway."

"Yeah, I know.  I'll talk to you later, 'kay?"

"'Kay.  Bye."

"Bye."

And he's not caught, but almost worse, because this is bad, a very bad thing he's done.  He remembers now, the story of Catherine, the one that Angel feels the worst about after centuries of concentrated evil and pure demon rage.  The little sister that thought he was an angel.  The small body, neck snapped, and now he can imagine the demon taking the slender silver band as a trophy to gloat on, and the soul holding it after like a lifeline to heaven.  This is the worst thing his fingers like dust in sunshine, no weight, in-and-out so quickly have ever taken, and he can feel his careful heart, his delicate rationalization, breaking.

His car is ready to go in minutes, he's changed from work clothes to something he thinks of as more LA: clean snug blue jeans and a tight-sleeved long-sleeved no cloth to brush, no weight to catch thermal shirt, and new boots.  And he is on the road.  Long ribbon of black, and it can't pass quickly enough.


~*~*~*~*~


The empty hotel rang around the THUMP-THUMP-SKID-THUMP of his restless bootheels.  It was daylight now, no way to go out and continue his search.  Not that he really had anywhere left to look, but tearing the hotel and the garage and his car and the city apart at least made him feel like there might be SOME hope.  He wondered if it would be worth it to take out one of those silly back-page ads in the neighborhood paper.  The ones that always made him shake his head and pity the hopeless fool that thought someone would ever find their dog/locket/notebook/true-love-met-at-a-rave or that, if someone did, they'd bother to return it.  No.  Can't quite do it yet.  Maybe if Willow calls back with bad news.

He couldn't believe that the little silver ring was disturbing him so badly.  It was a thing, a trinket, something tying him to that
humanity he was so busy shedding these days.  A cool reminder, against his hand in his pocket, of the agony of the memories that had been haunting him for a hundred years.  And when you've carted something around for centuries, he supposed, it became even more valuable.  Tied to you, somehow.  Wrapped up in the things you'd done and the places you'd been.  Not that most of them were really worth remembering...

THUMP-THUMP-TURN-THUMP Was the sun EVER going down?  He was driving back to Sunnydale, that was it.  Despite his frantic search here, he'd been pretty certain that the ring had been in his leather jacket when he'd been there, and gone afterwards.  Maybe it had slipped out when he was clenching his hands in his pockets, facing Buffy and her painful beauty.

Or when he'd jerked them out in an aborted reach for her when he'd scented Spike on her and just who were you jealous of there, Angelus, hmmm?.  

Or when he'd thrown his coat over that chair, furious with himself for rising to Xander's commonplace taunts, even more angry when he'd felt his lips twitch almost into a smile at the familiarity of it all.  This. Was. Not. For. Him.  These people were not his, their troubles not his own, their joys not accesible to him.  The Powers had wanted a warrior to battle evil on their behalf?  Fine.  But he was damned if he was going to be all sunshine-and-light about it, as they dragged him into one impossible situation after another.  Fuck it.  He'd do this his way or they could find another damn vampire to jerk around.

Was the sun EVER settin-wait, is that someone at the door?  Cordelia, back to remind him how much he sucked?  Or...shit...news about Wesley...  He was at the door in two strides, yanking it open, staring into the startled brown eyes of

"Xander?"  What the-

"Hey, Deadb- er, Angel."  And that was definitely fear, he could smell it, and...guilt?  What was going on here?  "Um...can I come in?"

"I don't know.  Are you here to toss more insults, or do you have some other goal in mind?"  The boy looked good, he had to admit, even standing twitching on his thankfully shaded doorstep.  He'd filled out recently, and the shirt showed strong arms and wide shoulders, and dipped low enough to reveal the clean knifeblade of a collarbone...Angel shook off the thoughts, and stepped back to allow him in.  

"Thanks.  Well...I guess you're wondering why I'm here..."  And Xander wasn't meeting his eyes, was, in fact, staring with remarkable concentration at the apparently fascinating marble floor of the lobby.  Come on, Xander, spill.  

"I, well, I needed to talk to Cordelia...is she here?"  He peered hopefully around Angel's shoulder.  

"No.  Cordelia doesn't work here any more."  Keep it short, simple, and keep staring at the boy until he caves.

Eyes, part horrified, part reluctantly amused, finally shot up to his face.  

"You FIRED CORDELIA?  You're braver than I thought, Deadboy."

And there it was, that reluctant smile that wanted to break out so badly.  But Angel was pretty sure stoic silence and continued staring would remain his best weapons here, so he just kept on.  

"Oh.  Well, I guess, I suppose I should just go to her place, then.  I really just came to see her.  Er, can I use your bathroom first?"  

"Sure." You're a terrible, terrible liar, Xander.  "Go ahead.  And then you can tell me what's going on, before I pound you into my currently clean floor and you make a mess I'll be forced to clean up later."  Xander jumped a foot, and looked at him, and those eyes held pure terror, now.  He'd known he was growling, but that reaction seemed a little extreme.  But the boy had settled back was that a deep breath he took? and moving to walk by him WAY too close, what the hell?- and WHY IS HIS HAND IN MY POCKET?


~*~*~*~*~


Last tatters of courage gone at the door, and Xander's completely adrift.  Staring at the floor, at the wall, anything but the vampire currently drilling holes in him with his eyes He SEES me, Angel SEES me but those eyes are so cold.  Cold in a hard face, over a still body dressed all in that tailored, formfitting black.  He shivers a little, asks about Cordelia, is shocked out of his drifting by the news that she's been fired.  There goes his excuse, then...can't stand around chatting about old times when the only old time present is someone you've sent to Hell Please don't let him remember that right now and taken from and insulted.  Must get this done, get it done getitdonegetitdone so he can run back outside, back to his car, back to his life, no piece of Angel to hold...asks about the bathroom, is casually threatened, and he knows but those eyes are merely empty, not angry.  Not anything.  

Sooo...brush by, then, and slide...so careful now, so cautious with those supernatural senses all trained on him, but Angel will think the ring was never lost, that it was simply overlooked, that it was in these pants all along.  Careful reach, slip-slide-like-air but vampires can feel air.  He had forgotten that.

His wrist is caught in iron-cold fingers, wrenched around and yanked, and his gasp of pain is lost in the growl.  

"What are you DOING, boy?"  And that sounds very little like Angel, and very much like what he remembers of Angelus, but he won't think of that now, can't...

"I-I-I-I..."  No words coming, no matter how hard he tries.

"Spit it out, or you lose this arm."  And he means it, Xander can tell.  No mercy here.

"I couldn't help it, just wanted to see if those pants were really cashmere." And is that the stupidest, or only second-stupidest, thing you could possibly have said?

Growl again and YANK.  Screaming now, with his head bent down almost to the floor, because his arm feels like it's about to leave the socket, and he wonders dreamily if Angel has neighbors, if he can be rescued, if he wants to be.  Because Angel is seeing him, Angel is hurting him, and that means he can touch him...not intangible yet.

"If I didn't know better, I'd think you were copping a feel.  But you'd never do THAT, would you, Xander?  Not the good little suburban Sunnydale boy.  So WHAT. IS. GOING. ON."

Thank you, Angel, for giving me the most humiliating out possible.  "I'm sorry...didn't mean to insult you, but I've
been...wanting to touch you for so long..."  Gasped out against teeth grit not against pain, but against the shame.  He'd never thought of Angel that way, never, and here he is, rejected before he could even make his fake pass...it's oddly amusing, actually.

And Angel's letting go of him Shock?  Probably and he's falling down on his face with the release of pressure.  And his hand opens to break his fall, and there is the tiny, shiny tinkle of metal-on-stone, a damning sound, as the ring rolls across the floor, spins twice around, and settles with a final 'CLINK' into the awful silence.

"Where did you get that?"  Simple question, quiet voice.  And Xander's never been so scared.  

"I found it."  Terrified whisper-squeak of his own voice.

"And tried to slip it back into my pocket?  No.  Try again, and do better."

"I....I took it."  He can feel his arms shaking, as they brace him, keeping his face from the floor.  His knees aching against the
marble.  Angel standing behind him, utterly still.

"Ah."  Still no movement, no further words, so he pushes up, ready to stand and face...whatever, but-there's a COLD hard hand on the back of his neck, holding him down and still, and he can feel the rage in it, and freezes.

"Stealing is wrong, Xander.  Hasn't anyone ever taught you that?  No?  Well, perhaps I'll try to make it clear to you."  And that silk-smooth-cold voice unfreezes him and he bucks back against the hand, tries to get his feet under him, because this is going so BADLY and he needs to stand up.  But the hand is like iron, and he moves barely an inch, and whimpers.  Can't believe that small animal sound is coming from his mouth.

"Why, Xander, I don't understand.  You've been 'wanting to touch me for so long.'  You don't want to add LYING to your current list of sins, DO you?"  A frantic shake of his head, not denial, just a need to explain, and he opens his mouth, but there's another hand there.  "No, I don't think I want to hear about it.  I think it's really best that you SHUT. UP. NOW."  And the small part of his brain that, so far back in time, used to be a small prey animal agrees that yes, that is probably best.


~*~*~*~*~


The rage and the demon were controlling him now, and Angel just couldn't bring himself to care.  This was the person who had sent him to hell.  This was the person who had never, ever had a kind word for him, who had always talked to him with a stake ready-to-hand, who had now STOLEN from him one of his most precious possessions.  Perhaps it was his recent focus on vengeance instead of right.  Perhaps it was nights and days and decades of agony and atonement for actions that
the demon, not the soul, had perpetrated in his body.  But right now, all his parts were in accord, and they demanded that this boy pay.  Pay for the screaming pain of five hundred years of torment, for the distrust, for the theft, for the humanity he'd forced in with the loss of the ring.  

But rape?  No, not really.  That was both too much and too little punishment, and while the demon craved the violence, both Angelus and the soul yes, a little insane now, but whose fault was that? scoffed at the inelegance of it all.  No, this would be something far better.

He gentled his voice, allowed the hand still at the nape of that bowed neck to run down the broad back.

"Xander..."  Felt the shiver and exulted in it.  Fear now, yes, but desire soon.

"Xander, don't you think you owe me something?"  Softened his voice still further.  "I'm not so much angry, as...disappointed.  I can't believe you would do such a thing.  You can't deny you need to make this up to me somehow..."  Wide brown eyes swiveled to stare at him, where he was crouched beside the boy.  Disbelief, and guilt...yes, this was right on track.  

"Here, I'll show you."  And with a casual grab-and-tug, he had Xander sprawled on his back, stiffening now as the shock of what he was saying set in.  He settled his body over the boy's, letting his weight ride out the struggle and push-shove-NO! that he'd been expecting, until the other man subsided, shaking.  Took that opportunity to drop his mouth to Xander's face.  
The cheek first, then feathering over eyelids, shut tight in denial.  Brushing, so lightly, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, over tensed-shut lips.  The brown eyes were open now, begging, please-don't-do-this, and he just smiled, and brought one hand up to pinch the jaw-nerve, THERE, and thrust his tongue into a mouth opened to gasp.  Plundered it with his own, diving deep into the wet heat I'd forgotten how HOT mortals are and the demon giggled I hadn't, teasing Xander's out to play.  

And yes, there it was, a tentative stroke against his lips, and he purred his approval.  Activity down below, too.  He could feel Xander hardening against the juncture of his thighs, where they were pressed together, and rocked his own length once, twice against it.  Sucked in the moan that came then, and hid his satisfaction well.


~*~*~*~*~


This can't be happening can't be happening nonononono and Xander knows he's not thinking straight, not thinking well at all, but there's all this heat and hardness pressed against him, and a cool tongue playing with his own, and he can't help it.  Can't help reacting to the touch, the notice, the promise of attention and warmth.  Maybe he has been wanting this, maybe...  And Angel's hands are sliding under his shirt, lifting it over his head, and he finds himself raising his arms obediently.  Angel's shirt gone too soft black cotton, would have felt nice but the smooth, chilly skin rubbing against him is probably nicer.  

That talented mouth running down his neck, sucking on the small ridge of his collarbone, tongue lapping at the hollow beneath.  Long fingers pulling at his nipples, and his hands finally find their way from the floor, to curve around broad shoulders, slide up the strong column of neck and tangle in short, spiky brown hair.  This feels...wonderful.  Beyond anything.  He is HERE, he is under Angel, who is making him feel things...

Angel's holding himself up on his forearms, now, as one hand reaches down to pull at the button on his jeans.  Xander feels a brief rush of panic returning, bucks up once, groans back down as his cock is all the blood in my body there? makes hard contact with a muscled thigh.  His jeans being stripped down, now, and he can feel the hard, cold stone under his hips and shoulderblades for the first time, as Angel pulls at his own belt.  Oh shit.  This is wrong, this is wrongest... he rolls to the side, scrambles to his knees, only to have his hands yanked out from under him again and end up on his face.

"None of that, now, Xander.  We were doing so well..."  That voice is still velvet over iron, still soft and cajoling, no hint of passion, and Xander feels a strange shudder pass through him.  Shouldn't Angel be hot, impatient-  But his mind goes screaming away again when he feels a naked all naked, all skin body lower itself onto his own, and that mouth is on his back, now, and hands rubbing up and down his sides and down to his flanks, weight shifting, and one finger at the base of his spine, tracing small circles.  Drifting down to stroke the cleft in his buttocks, not pushing in, just gliding along the crease.  And back to the circles, when he tenses.  Over and over, and a mouth on his neck, licking and sucking, until he's moaning and spreading his legs and thrusting against the floor, begging for more, more anything.  Mindless.


~*~*~*~*~


This is so easy, it's hardly worth the effort  Angel frowned slightly down at the sweat-slick body writhing under his hand and his mouth.  A bit of lifelong denial, there, Xander?  I'd better get on with it then.  

He raised one finger to his mouth, sucked it slick, and probed gently at the little hole.  This was the tricky part...getting past that first resistance.  After this he was home free.  And there it was, the tensing muscles, body bowing up off the floor, babbled denials.  But he pushed in anyway, ruthless past the first barrier, crooked that finger and found the sweet spot.  And
Xander's body went completely limp, and the babbling was not denial, now.  He stroked again, felt the shudder of pleasure, and slid another finger in.  Ignored the shout of pain, and went back to that gland, fingers thrusting slowly.  Stretching.

Lube.  Hmm.  Wasn't thinking so far ahead.  I suppose my blood will have to do.  A fang in his wrist was all it took, and his blood was flowing, in his hand, coating his cock.  Still hard.  He IS rather pretty, I suppose.  

Fingers still pushing in and in, he slid around between the boy's sprawled legs.  Nudged the thighs further apart with his own.  Pulled his hand away, slowly, and smiled toothily at the mewl of protest from below.  Angel slid his hands around to cup
hipbones, pulled back and up, so gently.  Couldn't have second thoughts intruding, now.  

And Xander was on his knees, head hanging between his arms, still quivering.  Pushing back a little with his hips, unconsiously.  Angel met one of those pushes with his own, sliding in just a bit, catching the jerk away with arms holding
Xander's hips hard.  Pulling him back, screwing his own hips a little, pushing in.  Smiling, still, at the small broken sounds the boy was making.  And...there.  One long slide, past the final resistance, and he was in.  Holding a jerking, shuddering, hot body in his arms, and it felt GOOD.  He couldn't remember why he'd been denying himself this for so long.  Thrusting, long and sure, careful not to touch the penis whose tip brushed, hard and wet, against his arm where it was still holding Xander's hips.  Faster now, harder, the friction intense and hot and so amazing, and he could hear the slapping of flesh on flesh, that sweet sound, and finally, finally, he came...


~*~*~*~*~


Xander's brain had been lost somewhere along the way, but he's conscious enough to know that this, this is sublime.  He has taken Angel into his body, and it feels good, feels RIGHT, touching inside and out, skin on skin on skin, and every thrust sparks fireworks behind his eyes, and nothing is sliding away, he's here, solidly, knees aching and back aching, cock throbbing and so hard, and he finds himself thinking foolish thoughts like what will we talk about tomorrow?  He's grinning, he can feel it, and pushing back into Angel, wanting more.  Can sense the thighs tensing behind his own, feel the arms almost crushing him, hear Angel howling as cool wetness floods him.  Collapses down as weight hits him from behind, and is still.  For just a moment.  The body rolls off of him, and he rolls too, onto his back, still grinning, for surely it's his turn now?

There's something wrong.  Angel's not smiling at him, kissing him, reaching for his erection to make him come.  He's standing, zipping pants already on, staring at him with so-cold eyes and a little smile, and Xander can feel it, feel the shaking start, feel the blood freezing in him as he realizes Angel isn't even really looking at him.  Can't see him at all.

"You can go now."  Voice casual as he turns away.

"But...wait..."

"What?  You want me to PAY you?  This was nice enough, boy, and I suppose I'll call it even.  Here..." and he grabs a few small bills out of his pocket, tosses them down beside Xander's frozen body, "...gas money.  Wouldn't want you thinking you'd wasted the trip."  Tall figure walking away, all in black again.  "Oh, and Xander?  Take the ring.  I don't want it."

And Xander can feel it.  Slip-slide-like-air, like smoke, like a cloud in dry weather...  He is vanishing, dissipating, gone.  Never to be found again.




The End




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