|Primary Characters:||Xander, Angel|
|Description:||Angel discovers he has feelings for Xander. After a very close call, when Angel saves Xander’s life, it turns out Angel’s feelings are returned. But what will it mean to Willow?|
“Ok, I’m going. Wish me luck. Don’t wait up for me.”
Willow had left about an hour earlier on a long awaited date. Now Buffy was going to see her new date. Only a few weeks ago, nothing in the world could have made her leave Angel standing there looking at her with those eyes that seemed to see right through to her slayer’s soul. But common sense had reasserted itself. Their love wasn’t good for them. It could only harm them both. And though Buffy hadn’t thought she would, she was already getting over him.
As Xander and Angel saw the last of Buffy, they were both thinking about the same thing, from a different perspective. Xander was dwelling painfully on the fact that no matter how much he loved Buffy, she would never feel the same way about him.
What was on Angel’s mind was more complicated. He had no right to get involved in the affairs of the living. In all these years, hadn’t he caused enough suffering? But the loneliness wasn’t getting any easier as the years went by. There wasn’t much hope that his feelings would be returned anyway.
It was far too obvious how Xander felt about Buffy, but since she didn’t return those feelings, he wasn’t stepping onto her turf. What Willow felt about Xander was more than obvious, but if she did care about him that way, she had to do something about it. In the end it was Xander’s choice that would have to decide.
“Mm. Angel, why can’t she see how I feel about her?”
“Maybe she does. Sometimes it’s just hard to see what’s right under your own nose all the time.”
“And you mean that if she knows, she just pretends not to, so she won’t hurt my feelings?”
“That’s possible. Xander -“
“She’s not the only one around.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I know you’ll hate me for this, but I have to tell you. Xander, I think I have feelings for you.”
He couldn’t even believe it himself, so how could the mortal boy understand this bewildering change that had come over him?
“Feelings? You mean – ?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“But you’re not even alive.”
“Alive enough. Ok, I understand. I just felt it was only fair to let you know.”
“Oh, this is just great. No girl will even look at me. And come to think of it, no guy who’s alive either – No, of course I don’t hate you. But isn’t it ironic?”
“Tell me about it.”
“I never figured you’d be -“
“Gay? I’m not. Not really. But I’ve been around for a good many years. You’re not the first.”
“Actually, if you have to know, you’re the second. At least the second guy I’ve felt this way about. I don’t remember how many women it’s been.”
“When you say the second guy you’ve felt this way about – Does that mean there have been others? I mean guys that you didn’t feel this way about?”
“Are you sure you want to know this?”
“No, I’m not sure. Yes, I am. Tell me. I might as well know all about it. Oh, and while we’re on the subject – I am flattered, you know. For a dead guy, you’re really quite good looking. And nice and everything. I’m just not -“
“Me neither. But things happen. Things you don’t want. And at other times, you just get so lonely and you need someone. Even another guy. This was before I was made a vampire.”
“Are you saying you were – ?”
“I’m not going to tell you about that. It takes you a very long time to even begin to forget. And I really don’t want to remember. But those other times – You may not want to know this, but in the end it really doesn’t matter if it’s a guy or a girl.”
“Really? I would have thought it’s one hell of a difference.”
“You’re right. It is different, but you can get really desperate at times.”
“Tell me about it. But couldn’t you just – you know – ? That’s what I do.”
Angel smiling was a rare sight, and there was a time when Buffy would have done anything to see it. And though Angel had felt a love for her that had threatened to endanger his very existence, he had come to realize that they weren’t meant for each other.
Maybe he was a fool to feel this way about a mortal boy. Xander really was too young to understand. How could he even dream about taking advantage of him? But the way Xander was feeling there would be no danger of that anyway.
“Believe me, you get a little tired of it after a while.”
“I know. I can’t wait for the real thing.”
“It’s going to happen sooner or later. Don’t worry about it. Well, if all this is cleared up, it’s time I left you. No rest for the wicked. Or even the repentant. Xander, I’m really glad you took it this well. I’d hate to think I’d lost your friendship over this.”
“No chance of that. Like I said, you’re the nicest vampire I know.”
When the door slammed shut behind him, Xander knew he had made a serious mistake. And knowing who was on his trail, he was fairly sure it would be the last one he’d ever make. How could he have been foolish enough to have followed Tess, knowing she was a witch?
But evil or not, she was also the sexiest girl Xander had ever seen, Buffy included. And he had really wanted to bring back some major evidence to Buffy and the others. To prove to them all that he was a valuable member of their team and not just the geeky boy who could never get a date. His thoughts were interrupted by the low, husky voice he knew so well even after such a short time.
“Xander. How nice of you to drop by. Just the thing I was looking for. How did you guess I needed a human heart for my potion? You’ve saved me a trip back to town for that ingredient. Thank you. To show my gratitude, I’ll let you do what I know you’ve been dreaming about ever since you first saw me. Go on, don’t be shy. I’ll bet it’s your first time with a girl. Not a bad trade, huh?”
Xander had never been less in the mood for sex than right now. His knees were shaking, and he was trying to back away from this girl who suddenly wasn’t as irresistible as she had seemed only minutes ago. Something about her eyes chilled him. There was no doubt she would do what she had said she would.
He was backing away from her slowly, inch by inch. After only two steps, he hit the wall behind him. No way to escape. Tess was advancing on him, slowly, and deliberately sexy. She was unbuttoning her flimsy, short blouse and Xander could see that she wasn’t wearing any bra.
Under any other circumstances Xander would have been ecstatic. With a few important exceptions this could be taken straight out of one of his overheated dreams. He closed his eyes, willing himself to wake up, but he knew this was no dream. Maybe she really intended to have sex with him first, but Xander had no doubts at all that before long he would be dead, permanently dead, and he would end up an ingredient in this witch’s brew.
Now he could feel her hands moving across his body. He had to open his eyes. Not seeing was even worse. She was touching his chest, ripping his shirt open, seemingly effortlessly. This was one of Xander’s favorite fantasies, but he knew she was only measuring out the spot where she would make the incision. She was playing with him the way a cat would play with a mouse before pouncing.
And she wasn’t quite done with him yet. He could feel her hands moving down to his jeans, unbuttoning them. Her hands were playing with him through the fabric of his shorts, but she wasn’t provoking any reaction. By now he was so terrified, all he could do was keep himself from crying and begging. Tess wouldn’t be moved by any pleading, he knew that.
Suddenly, he could hear the door being kicked in. Tess didn’t even bother to look behind her. Now she had a knife in her hand. Its sharp edge glittered in the weak light from outside. Whoever was coming to his rescue would be too late. Already Xander could feel his skin being cut. But the knife didn’t continue its relentless work on his chest. Tess was being flung away from him.
Blinded by tears, Xander didn’t see what was going on in the dimly lit corner. Not until a familiar face hovered over him, and a steadying hand was held out. Xander didn’t hesitate to take it. It was a long time before he could get his voice back. In the meantime, Angel was leading him outside, into the last of the fading sunlight. The strong arm around him was reassuring. Xander leaned into Angel, taking some comfort from that strength. He didn’t really pay attention to where they were going, but after a while they stopped.
“Xander? Do you think you can sit down by yourself for just a moment? I have to make sure she was alone here. I won’t be long.”
“Yes, I’ll be ok. But hurry.”
“I will. Are you ok? How bad is that cut on your chest?”
It seemed Angel was reluctant to touch him. The hand hovered just out of reach.
“It’s nothing, I think. Just do what you have to do. I’ll check it out.”
Angel was telling the truth. Xander hardly had time to miss the comforting presence, before he was back by his side.
“Let’s get in the car.”
“There’s a lot about me you don’t know.”
They got in the back of the car, and Angel anxiously took in Xander’s appearance. What had that witch done to him? Angel wanted to make sure, but out of respect for the boy’s feelings he couldn’t just begin a physical examination. At first, Xander had appeared to be in unexpectedly good shape. But by now the full realization of how close he had come to dying had sunk in. He began to shake uncontrollably.
“Angel? Please hold me.”
“Are you sure?”
No reply. Angel felt it was best to do as Xander asked him. The boy was in a state of shock, and there was nothing else Angel could do to comfort him. It felt far too good, even under the circumstances. Angel never wanted to let go. And to his surprise, Xander didn’t seem to resist his touch. In fact, he was clinging to Angel as if his life depended on it.
The strong arms around him were having a soothing effect on Xander. He didn’t want the embrace to end. As long as Angel was here, nothing bad would happen to him, he was sure of that. He had never been as pleased to see the vampire as he was now. If only he had used his brains and not gone after Tess in the first place. Now that he had learned his lesson, he would never make the same mistake again. He couldn’t expect Angel to come to his rescue every time.
Afterwards, Angel couldn’t believe he had been so foolish. Knowing how Xander felt, it wasn’t right of him to take advantage of the boy’s emotional state, but for the first time in centuries, Angel felt like he was alive again, and young. He wasn’t really thinking at all.
All he could think about was the way Xander’s mouth would feel against his. His face moved closer to Xander’s and their lips made contact. Had it really felt this good in the past? There was moment of stillness, then he could feel Xander tense up, and Angel cursed himself for his insensitivity. He began to pull away, but was checked by Xander’s arms holding him back. Still close enough to feel the boy’s breath on his face, Angel waited anxiously.
“You don’t have to stop.”
“But you said -“
“I know what I said. Can’t a guy change his mind? Keep doing what you were doing. Who am I saving myself for anyway? Buffy will never want me. Just promise me you won’t do anything I won’t be comfortable with.”
“You don’t even have to ask. I’d never do that. All I’ll do is what you want me to. You can tell me to stop any time you like.”
“Just be patient with me. This’ll take some getting used to.”
“I know. Believe me, I know. I can still remember my first time.”
“How long ago was that?”
“Too long ago. I was younger than you are now.”
Xander didn’t ask anything else. He just let Angel go on touching him. To Xander’s surprise it didn’t bother him at all. Maybe Angel was right. It didn’t really matter who it was, as long as it was someone you cared about and trusted. Angel would never hurt him, he knew that, and this was the moment he had been waiting for, for so very long. How could someone so strong have hands that were so gentle? So skillful, so expert? Sure, he’d had a lot of practice, but still…
This was everything Xander had ever dreamed of and more. He found himself responding far more forcefully than he had expected. When his clothes melted away in Angel’s wake he didn’t know. Maybe they just materialized on the floor of the car, maybe Angel really undressed him in an earthly way. Xander felt as if his skin was on fire. When Angel’s lips brushed over the slight wound Tess had left, Xander shuddered, but not in any bad way.
There was no blood, he was sure of that, and now Angel moved on to caress other parts of his skin. Xander could hear his own breath, his own heartbeat. It could be that they just drowned out the sounds from Angel. Or maybe a vampire didn’t make any sound at all? Xander wasn’t really paying attention. The only thing that mattered right now was the way Angel’s skin felt against his own. How could a vampire be this alive? But it really didn’t matter, any more than the fact that Angel was a guy, not a girl as Xander had visualized his first lover. The rest of his thoughts were lost in the passion of the moment.
When they were once again aware of their surroundings, hours had passed. Darkness surrounded them, but in their minds there was only light. Xander stayed in the back seat, while Angel, who was now as if by magic dressed again, moved into the front seat. He stopped outside Xander’s home, and let the boy out. For a second, Xander experienced a painful sense of loss. When would he see Angel again? But he needn’t have worried. Angel got out after him, and gently kissed him goodbye.
“I’ll be back soon. Get some sleep.”
“You too. I love you, Angel.”
“You don’t have to say that. And I won’t sleep, but I’ll be waiting for you. Go on.”
“Ok. See you soon.”
Xander turned to go inside, but he couldn’t bear to leave Angel so he turned again and looked. To his relief, Angel and the car were still where he had last seen them. He had feared that Angel would once again pull one of those vanishing acts. But he seemed to sense Xander’s mood and remained in place until Xander had closed the door behind him.
“Come in. They’re all gone.”
“How long do we have?”
“Hours. What are you waiting for?”
“Great. I can’t remember the last time I took some time off for myself.”
“Buffy’s on a date and Willow’s away doing something or other, I’m not sure what.”
“Good. At least I don’t need to watch over our slayer this time.”
As always when Xander and Angel were alone together these days, they ended up in bed. Already, Xander was far from the innocent boy he had been only a few short weeks earlier. Together he and Angel had learned all about what pleased Xander. It had been an exciting voyage of discovery to undertake together. By now they were well atuned to each other’s bodies and minds. When they were together not many words were needed.
Xander had made a point of showing Angel a good time in other ways as well. They watched videos, listened to music, looked through Xander’s old magazines. He hadn’t really expected Angel to be interested in those, but apparently his remark about how little Xander knew about him was right. Angel appeared to enjoy it all, every bit as much as the mortal boy.
This time, however, they wasted no time in getting naked. As always, they lost track of time. When the front door opened, they didn’t even notice. Not even Angel had any idea until Willow was standing breathlessly in the doorway.
“Hey, Xander, guess what I -“
The girl broke off her happy chatter and stared in shock and disbelief down into Xander’s bed. Underneath the tangled sheets her old friend, the boy she had secretly loved for such a long time, wasn’t alone. There was a small sound of distress, and she turned on her heel, running blindly out of the room and out of the house.
Angel was on his feet and fully dressed more quickly than Xander’s eyes could follow.
“I’ll talk to her.”
Xander didn’t know what Angel might say to Willow. His mind was in chaos right now. While he was alright with the relationship, he had never even considered explaining himself to his friends. How could this be explained? He realized that the issue wasn’t simply that he was involved with another guy.
For the first time he allowed himself to dwell on the fact that his lover was technically dead, and hadn’t been alive for centuries. That really gave a new definition to the word kinky. No. Xander refused to think that way about his lover. Angel was far too alive for that.
Xander reluctantly got out of bed and tried to find his clothes. His legs were leaden and he had a hard time making his arms obey him. There was a hollow feeling at the pit of his stomach. No matter how fulfilled the relationship was making him feel, he had never intended for Willow to find out this way. Losing her friendship didn’t bear thinking about. She meant every bit as much to him as Angel did. Would Angel even be able to get through to her?
But he should have had more faith in his lover. By the time he had his clothes back on, he could hear the front door open and close again. Anxiously, Xander awaited whoever was coming back to him. When his door swung open, the first person to walk in was Willow. Her face was streaked with tears, and the hurt look in her eyes made Xander wince. He had never fully realized how much she cared about him.
Angel encouraged Willow to sit down, but remained standing by the door. The look in his eyes was veiled, and Xander had a chilling premonition that Angel would withdraw from him. What had Angel told Willow? And what could he say? He looked to Angel to help him out of the predicament. As he had known, he could count on his lover.
“Willow, I’m really sorry you had to find out this way.”
“I had no idea you guys were -“
“No. We’re not. Not really. This just happened.”
Now Xander felt he had to speak up, before Willow gave up on him.
“Angel’s right. For some reason we just – I don’t know -“
“Don’t be too hard on Xander. Please. He’s not really like this. Me neither, but I guess that’s different.”
“I didn’t know you how much you cared.”
“I – how could I tell you?”
“Ok. Do you -?”
“How do you feel about all this? Do you hate me?”
“No. You never promised me anything. But I’d just been hoping you’d finally realize how I felt about you.”
“Do you still feel that way? Or have we ruined everything?”
“Did you think I’d get this upset if I didn’t care about you at all?”
“So you do still care? You don’t think we’re, I don’t know, disgusting or something?”
“No. In fact, I think you looked very sexy together.”
At that, there was a ghost of a smile on Angel’s lips. Xander felt a faint hope stirring inside him. How could he have been so blind? Willow was nothing like Buffy, but now that he knew how she felt, he couldn’t help being pleased. More pleased than he ever could have guessed.
And she still wanted him, after seeing him in this situation. The two of them so closely entwined. At least they had already been done. She hadn’t seen them actually doing anything. He only wished he had time to hit the shower. He was beginning to feel decidedly uncomfortable, under Willow’s intense scrutiny.
“That’s right. You belong together.”
Willow and Xander looked up to find Angel’s hand on the door. He was leaving them. Both of them spoke up at once.
“No. Don’t go.”
“Angel, please stay. I don’t want to lose you.”
“I don’t want to come between the two of you. Can’t we all be together?”
Completely stunned, Angel and Xander spoke together.
“Why not? You’re both very attractive guys.”
For a second there was a breathless silence. Neither Willow nor Xander dared say a word. Just when they thought they had lost him, Angel appeared to relent. He moved closer again.
Angel knew he shouldn’t be this weak. Mortals did belong together. He had no business interfering in their personal lives. And after all the suffering he had caused, did he even have the right to expect any happiness? But his existence was a lonely one, without Xander’s love.
And Willow – He had never really allowed himself to pay much attention to her. That she would have any kind of feelings for him came as a total surprise, but not an unpleasant one. This definitely had possibilites. He could take the time to get to know this girl better. Maybe he had underestimated her.