Tired of Complications
Summary: Xander goes to L.A., he and Doyle get more than a little friendly and Angel gets more than a little jealous

********************

“So, remind me why we’re here again?”

Willow sighed and glanced at her oldest friend. “Xander, we’re here to offer moral support to Buffy. You know she’s going to be upset after she talks to Angel, even if they are only discussing a new demon.”

The two Slayerettes were currently in the waiting room of Angel Investigations, Xander sprawled out on the couch and Willow behind Cordelia’s desk. The Witch had graciously offered to take over any secretarial duties while the ex-May Queen attended another audition.

“Okay, moral support. That explains why you’re here but what about me?”

“You’re Buffy’s friend too.” The redhead insisted.

“Right, so the fact that, besides Giles, I’m the only one of us with a car had nothing to do with it?” Xander caught the fleeting look of guilt that passed over the witch’s face. “Yeah, I thought so.” There was no hurt or offense in the teen’s voice only a slightly bitter resignation.

“Oh Xander. . .” Willow attempt at comfort was interrupted by a certain vampire slayer barreling out of Angel’s main office. Tears streamed down Buffy’s face as she motioned for Willow to follow her. Xander watched the melodramatic pair make their way out of the building.

“Oh no, I’ll just stay here. Don’t worry about me.” He muttered to himself as he closed the door behind them.

“Nice friends ya got tere.” Xander started slightly at the soft Irish lilt behind him.

“Sorry, didn’t mean ta scare ya.” The dark haired man dimpled at the teen.

“Don’t worry, I’m used to it.” Xander answered slowly taking stock of the new arrival.

“Name’s Doyle.”

“Xander.” The boy responded shaking the offered hand.

“So, you’re down here with Buffy and tha redhead?”

“Willow. Yeah, I am.”

“You’re not goin’ after them?”

“They’ll find me when they need a ride home.”

Doyle frowned at the compliant tone of the teenager’s voice. He had heard it before, most recently coming from his own mouth. The half-demon made a firm decision then and there to raise the younger man’s spirits. “Does that mean you’re free fer tha rest of tha evening then?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Good,” Blueish-green eyes twinkled. “How do you feel about sports bars?”

**********

“Doyle?”

“Yeah Xander.”

“Is your apartment gonna spin like the hallway does?”

The half-demon gave his inebriated new friend a pat on the arm. “Let’s see when we get in there.” He said as he fumbled with his keys.

Xander nodded then clutched the doorframe for support as his world skewed even more.

“This is bad.” The teen said as he was ushered into Doyle’s apartment.

“What?” Doyle fervently tried to remember if the young man possessed any special powers. It would have been just his luck to be thinking not so pure thoughts about a mindreader.

“Drinking. Bad things happen when you drink.”

“Oh, that.” Relief rang plainly in his voice. “Believe you me, I’ve got plenty of Advil on hand.”

“No, no. Evil things happen. Like spells and cavemen.”

Doyle arched an eyebrow. “O-kay.”

“Trust me, drinking is almost as bad as having sex. Everything just turns into one big evil mess.”

“Un huh.” Doyle said absently. The utterance of the act he had begun to hope the night would cumulate in had shot his attention span to hell. He did, however, find himself able to focus on the movements of the mortal’s lips and the thoughts of where those lips could be moving. The half-demon resolutely decided it was now or never time, and he had had far too many nevers recently.

“What about having sex when you’re drunk?” Doyle mentally kicked himself for letting the timbre of his voice get so low.

Xander stared at the older man, eyes wide wide. “Drunken sex! You might as well just reserve your spot in the morgue.” He gave the other man a funny look. “Why?”

“Oh, no particular reason. Just wondern’.” Doyle tried to slow his breathing. With a nonverbal ‘what the hell’ he continued. “Actually, the reason I asked was because I find myself with a complete compulsion to kiss that beautiful mouth of yours.”

Xander waited while his brain processed this information. After a few beats he frowned. “So why don’t you?”

“Fear of retribution?”

Boldened by his first true meeting with liquid courage Xander moved closer to the older man. “Is that always a bad thing?”

Doyle found himself unable to answer as his mouth was instantly and thoroughly covered by Xander’s lips. Coherent thought was lost in the messy jumble of emotions and flailing limbs, the latter overwhelmed by the desire to touch every inch of the other man’s skin.

Tongues met hesitantly, then retracted and met again, pulled together by insatiable lust and want. As much as the older man craved to wholly let go and ride whatever wave he would find himself on that night, something unrelentingly nagged at the back of his mind. It seemed his conscience was not as easily distracted as the rest of him.

“Wait, wait, stop.” With willpower he didn’t know he possessed Doyle pulled himself away from the warmth of the other man’s body.

Xander failed miserably at containing the dejected expression on his face. “Did I do something wrong?”

“No! God no.” Doyle ran a shaky hand through his thick, dark hair. “It’s just. . .”

“What?”

“Um, there’s something ya need ta know, before. . . well before we go any further.”

The teen fidgeted as he tried to pay attention to what the older man was saying. All he wanted was to feel more of that soft flesh under his hands.

Doyle cleared his throat, his pale blue eyes focusing on everything but the passion darkened brown ones of the boy in front of him. “Uh, see. . . tha truth of tha matter is that. . . well basically. . . “

“Doyle.” Xander’s voice was strained. “I really want you, so could you hurry it up?”

“I’m half demon!” Doyle blurted out.

Xander’s expression immediately became guarded, his body tensed. “Let me guess, you’ve killed a bunch of people.”

Doyle flinched slightly. “No.”

“You’re going to kill a bunch of people.”

“No.”

The teen frowned. “Then what’s the big?”

“Huh?” Shock showed openly on Doyle’s features. “You’re not repulsed?”

Xander let out a small chuckle. “Doyle, sometime that’s not now, remind me to tell you about my date for the Senior prom.” He leaned in and placed soft kisses around the older man’s mouth. “But for the sometime that is now, let’s not do anymore talking.”

With silent assent Doyle’s hands rose and grasped Xander’s head bringing that hot, moist mouth back in contact with his own and no words were spoken for the rest of the night.

**********

Angel closed the gate to the elevator with unnecessary force and began his morning assent to the office. He was tired of trying to shake the melancholic mood that so often accompanied a visit from Buffy. The fact that the slayer was still in town didn’t help.

When Angel had learned that Buffy and Willow couldn’t find Xander he had been worried. He honestly didn’t know if the teen could handle Los Angeles nightlife. When they had found the note from Doyle explaining Xander was currently being shown the town with him Angel had been relieved, until Buffy had asked in a cloying voice where she and Willow were going to stay that night.

She had flatly refused to let Angel pay for a hotel room and the vampire was ready to have a breakdown when he was saved by the arrival of his quasi-secratary.

Angel thanked every deity that he knew of when Cordelia had offered to house Willow and Buffy for the night. Of course offered wasn’t the right word, relented, yes that would do. Cordy relented, after making the vampire plead, beg and basically grovel at her recently manicured feet, but anything was better then the alternative.

Even simple conversations with Buffy had devolved into being either tense or tear filled, but they were always painful. The vampire was certain if she had tried to stay the night in his apartment he would have been dust by morning, either by her hand or his own.

Buffy and Willow had gone home with Cordelia and once again, the vampire was left alone to wallow in his self imposed misery. Everyone, including himself, knew that that was what he really wanted. Then again, if that was true why had Angel found himself periodically cursing Xander, Doyle, and any of the various strip clubs they had most likely found themselves in last night.

Angel sighed as he finally got out of the stopped elevator. He knew exactly why he was upset. It was why he had really left Sunnydale. Just when he though he had gotten over his forbidden little crush, something would happen to send him hurtling back to that lust-filled place of his own personal hell.

It wasn’t meant to be. It could never be. He repeated that mantra in his head as he mentally prepared himself to face emotional agony again.

Angel stood in the center of the waiting room and lightly sniffed the air. He sighed again as he recognized the two scent signatures he had been hoping not to find. He walked out into the hallway never imagining the surprise that was waiting for him.

“Ugh, Angel. Weren't ya supposed ta remind me ta never drink again.” The Irish half demon was leaning against the wall, his head grasped firmly in his hands.

“I would have if I had known where you were going.” Angel said dryly.

Doyle, sensing hostility, gave the vampire a puzzled look. “What’s your problem?”

“Nothing. Where’s Xander?”

“Oh, he’s gettin breakfast from tha diner cross tha street.”

“No he’s not. He’s here, I can smell him.”

Angel frowned as he watched an ‘oh shit’ look pass over Doyle’s face. He was about to ask another question when everything clicked into place. The vampire’s eyes widened with shock as he realized that the scents he were smelling weren’t Xander’s *and* Doyle’s but Xander’s *on* Doyle.

**********

“Angel, man, it’s not what ya think.” Doyle said desperately.

“You. . . and. . . Xander. . .” The vampire tried vainly to make a coherent sentence.

“Okay, it probably is what ya think, but, hey I don have ta explain this ta you. You’re not tha boss a me. . . Well, okay so technically you are tha boss a me but. . .”

“Doyle!” Angel held up a head hoping the half demon would get the hint and stop talking. “I don’t believe this! How could you do this, Xander’s just a kid.”

“He is not! We’re both adults and as a vampire I don think your in a particularly good place ta put forth any moral arguments.”

“Oh, so what, you met him yesterday and you already know everything about him.” The vampire fought desperately to control his temper.

“Not everything but I know enough.” Doyle put a hand to his forehead as a pain shot through his skull. In a softer voice he continued. “I know he was feelin lonely an dejected. I took him out ta cheer him up a bit, an things. . . happened. It’s not like I planned anything.”

“Oh, I’m sure that will go over real well when the regret sets in.”

“I don have any regrets Angel.”

“I wasn’t talking about you.”

Doyle frowned as he tried to understand his friend’s mood. “Look, tha only regret Xander may have is underestimating his tolerance fer liquor.”

“So that’s what happened. You got him drunk, well that certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise.”

Doyle flinched at the venom coming from the older man. “What is your problem? I thought you two were supposed ta hate oh my god you’re jealous.”

“Jealous?! Hah, that’s a laugh.” Angel let out a humorless chuckle to illustrate his point. “Who exactly would I be jealous of?”

“Me. Because a Xander.”

“You? Believe me Doyle, if you really want Xander Harris, you’re more then welcome to him. I don’t know what I was thinking raising any objections, you two are perfect for each other.” Angel crossed his arms over his chest, hoping desperately that he had convinced the younger man.

Doyle paused for a moment, quickly taking stock of the situation. He wanted the truth from the vampire and it that meant pushing a few of Angel’s buttons, so be it.

“I do want him. So he’s a bit immature at times, he’s still a teenager, he’ll grow out a that.” Blueish green eyes narrowed as he watched muscles silently work along the vampire’s jaw line. “You wouldn't believe how good a kisser he is.” The smaller man continued. “That mouth a his is so soft, and that body! He may wear baggy clothes but that boy’s all muscle. Then, of course, there is that perfect, tight, ass. . .” Doyle’s world suddenly spun and the next thing he knew he was pinned against a wall by a very angry Angel in full gameface.

All pretense of civility disappeared as the vampire snarled at his struggling captive. “You don’t deserve him.”

Doyle felt true fear pool in the pit of his stomach as the yellow eyes of the demon bored into his soul. “You love him.” His voice was small and shaky but sure.

Angel tightened his hold on the half demon’s throat. “You shouldn’t have touched him.” The vampire tried desperately to contain his rage. Doyle was a friend, he told himself. Doyle was a good friend. Doyle was a good friend who had dared touch his Xander. And the rage boiled over but before he could do something everyone would regret the third person in the triangle intervened.

Angel howled in pain as a crucifix suddenly slammed down on his hand. The vampire had been so preoccupied he hadn’t even noticed when Xander had entered the office.

“Get the hell away from him.” The teen yelled, still brandishing the cross.

“Xander, wait. . .” Doyle rubbed the bruised flesh around his neck.

“He’s evil again.” Xander insisted.

Angel was surprised just how much his heart dropped at those simple words. “I’m not evil.” He whispered cradling his injured hand.

“Oh, right. So you were just going to rip his throat out in a nice friendly way?”

“Xander, pu tha cross down.” Doyle put a restraining hand on the boy’s arm. “Angel’s not evil, we just had a little argument about something. Things got out a hand.”

The teenager turned back to him. He gently stroked Doyle’s cheek. “Are you okay?”

The pure concern in Xander’s voice reamed another hole in the vampire’s heart. Without a second glance at the obviously loving couple, Angel retreated to his apartment.

**********

With a shaking hand Angel retrieved the medical kit he kept under the sink. It took a few minutes before his normally adapt fingers were able to remove the cap from the small tube of topical ointment.

Angel winced as the cool cream came in contact with his burned flesh. The physical pain was bearable but the emotional pain would most likely last several centuries. Doyle might forgive him in time, but the vampire knew any relationship he may have had with Xander was lost forever. Trust was a delicate thing and the boy’s trust in him had already been shattered once, it would not be rebuilt again.

But maybe that would be a good thing. After all that was why he had left Sunnydale, to remove himself from the temptation. If Xander hated him again he would avoid the vampire like the plague. It would be easier that way.

Angel’s body tensed when he heard the sound of the elevator. He idly wondered if someone was coming down to put him out of his misery. No, he thought to himself, he wasn’t that lucky. Angel slumped into one of the kitchen chairs and waited for the confrontation.

The vampire heard the gate being opened and soft footsteps coming into his apartment. “I guess I owe you an apology.” Angel’s jaw dropped slightly at the sound of Xander’s voice.

The teenager walked around the table and dropped into the seat beside Angel. “Here, let me do that.” Xander said as he took the ointment and began to gently apply it to the cross shaped burn.

Angel was speechless as he watched the younger man work. he finally found his voice and could have punched himself for the words that worked their way out. “You’re not going to finish the job.”

“I was thinking about it.” Xander said, still concentrating on Angel’s hand. “But Doyle convinced me that it was easier keeping you around then trying to find him another job.”

The weirdness of the situation hit Angel hard. Xander wasn’t trying to kill him, he was making jokes. The look on his face wasn’t angry or hateful, just pensive. Angel was unwilling reminded of an old movie he had seen years ago, something about pods. He was so wrapped up in his thoughts he didn’t hear Xander’s question. “Huh?” Was his articulate response.

“I asked what the argument was about?”

Angel stared blankly at him. “Argument?”

“Doyle said you and he had an argument. I was just wondering what got you mad enough to go all Grrr on him.”

Angel thought for a moment, wondering how much the half demon had already told the boy. “He took something of mine.”

“I didn’t think you were the possessive type.” Xander remarked.

“It was something very important.” Angel suddenly found the the top of the table extremely interesting.

“Oh.” The teen had gotten out a strip of bandages and was now wrapping the vampire’s hand. “Refresh my memory, when exactly did I belong to you?”

Angel’s head snapped up and he met Xander’s wide brown eyes. He had expected anger but instead found a kind of calm acceptance. Doyle was right, this was no kid, at least not anymore.

“Uh. . .” Angel tried to swallow. “I don’t know what you’re talking about?”

Xander’s eyes narrowed. “Is that how we’re gonna play this?”

Angel didn’t answer, couldn’t answer. Xander had finished bandaging the vampire’s hand but he hadn’t released it. It felt like tiny sparks were emanating from the mortal’s skin. Maybe it was time for the truth, maybe it was time for everything to be laid out in the open. Angel knew that this wasn’t the same immature sixteen-year-old he used to know. Maybe this Xander could handle it.

Xander finally broke the tense silence. “Not that it’s any of your business, but nothing happened.”

“What?”

“Between me and Doyle. I mean we kissed and groped and stuff, and then we kinda. . . passed out.”

Angel thought about this for a moment. “Oh.”

“Not that it’s any of your business.” Xander said again.

“Then why did you tell me?”

“Why did you go after Doyle?”

“I asked you first.”

“Answer mine and I’ll answer yours.”

“I think you already know my answer Xander.”

“Maybe. Maybe I just want to hear you *say* it.”

Angel sighed and wondered if anyone bothered to listen to prayers from creatures like him. “I couldn’t stand the thought that he had. . .”

“What? Had me before you did?”

“Yeah.” Angel bowed his head.

“So you attacked one of the few friends you have because you were upset because you weren’t the first man I had a sexual encounter with?”

The vampire flinched slightly.

“Uh huh. Would it make you feel better if you knew Doyle wasn’t my first either?”

“What!” Of all the things the vampire had expected to hear, that was not one of them.

Xander took a deep breath. Pain briefly flashed over his features. “His name was Larry. We had a . . . thing the summer before Senior year. Buffy was gone, no one knew what had happened to you, and Giles and Willow were still pretty much . . . broken, I needed someone and Larry was there for me.”

“Oh.” Jealousy surged through the vampire at the thought of this faceless person comforting Xander.

“You never knew him, did you?”

Angel slowly shook his head, suddenly realizing Xander had been talking about this mystery person in the past tense.

“That’s a shame. He was a nice guy.”

“What happened?” Angel’s voice was soft as he ached for the haunted look in the younger man’s eyes.

“Graduation.” The boy absently reached up and wiped the wetness from his eyes.

Angel’s uninjured hand reached out and cupped the young mortal’s face, lifting it gently. “I am sorry.” He knew intimately the pain that came with losing a loved one.

“Thanks.” Xander’s smile was a genuine one that Angel felt to his bones. His smile disappeared as he pressed his cheek into Angel’s palm. Do you know what I truly hated about my relationship with Larry?”

Angel could only shake his head as an answer.

“No one ever knew. I was so afraid of what other people would think about me, what they would say about me, that I made him keep it a secret. I loved him, but I never told anyone because I was too scared.” Xander frowned slightly. “I think Willow figured it out though. After I found out he was. . .gone, I kinda fell into a depression. Willow came by every day, I think she figured it out.” Xander said again, his eyes clouded over with unpleasant memories.

Angel’s thumb had begun to rub little circles over Xander’s cheek. Protectiveness surged through him. The only thing he wanted at that moment was to alleviate some of the younger man’s pain.

Xander’s eyes cleared and he snapped back to the present. He moved his head and Angel’s immediately withdrew his hand. “In case you were wondering, all this does have a point.” Xander stared hard at the vampire. “I’m tired Angel, tired of being afraid to rock the boat, tired of bending my will to suit the complications in my life, and most of all I’m tired of lies, both giving and receiving them. I’m going to ask you some questions and I want the truth. Not some complicated thing that would take me a week to decipher, but the simple, absolute truth. Understand?”

Angel nodded once all the while maintaining contact with the younger man’s deep brown eyes.

“Good. What do you want from me?”

Before he could stop himself Angel said. “Is it too cliched to say I want you?”

“Why?”

“The absolute truth?” At Xander’s nod Angel steeled himself. “Because you’re mine. You have been since the moment I saw you.”

Xander eyes widened, then rolled in his head. “Oh great, this is some kind of freaky vampire thing isn’t it?”

“Partly, yes.” Angel admitted. “Vampires are pack creatures. We’re all fiercely protective and loyal to our surrogate families. When I came to Sunnydale I had been souled for about eighty years, that’s a long time for a vampire to be alone, so when I met Buffy and saw the little group she had gathered around her I decided to. . .”

“Adopt us?” Xander offered.

Angel gave the teen a smile. “Yeah. It was nice to belong to something again, even if most of it was just pretend. I used to follow you and Willow home at night, just to make sure you got there safely.”

Surprise showed on Xander’s face. “I never knew.”

“You weren’t supposed to.” Angel chided gently.

“I was attracted to you the first time I saw you. You were truly beautiful Xander, you still are.” Angel smiled at the blush which had swept over the mortal’s cheeks. “I should have left then and there, but I thought I could control myself, and I did, until I got to know you. Every part of me wanted you. Not just the man, but the demon also. Every waking hour was filled with the need to possess you, and it scared the shit out of me.”

“I was so stupid. I was convinced that my soul made the demon and I two separate beings locked in the same body. I was wrong. I’m not human any more, I never will be again. The demon is as much a part of me as my soul is.”

“But, back then I was in denial, I thought that anything that would make my demon happy was wrong. That’s why I got involved with Buffy, my demon hates her.” Xander cocked an eyebrow at the smirk firmly plastered on Angel’s face. With a slight cough the vampire’s face was back to it’s normal languidness.

“Okay, I think I get all that,” Xander said. “But I thought Buffy was your true love. I mean, that is why you lost your soul when you and her did. . .uh, you know, *it*.”

“No.” Angel shook his head. “After I got back from hell Willow showed me the transcripts of what. . .Jenny had found. I didn’t lose my soul because I had a moment of true happiness, I lost it because I denied myself true happiness.” The vampire smiled at Xander’s confused expression. “I know, I had to go over the whole spell a few times before I finally got it. The gypsies who had cursed me were not a malicious tribe, they wanted me to be penitent for my crimes but they also wanted me to forgive myself. I didn’t sleep with Buffy because I was looking for happiness, just the opposite. I thought I deserved to be miserable. That night was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back, the spell wasn’t designed to take that much sorrow.”

Xander slowly processed all of this. “So, why did you and her get back together? Why didn’t Willow say anything?”

Now it was Angel’s turn to roll his eyes. “Come on Xan, you’ve seen Buffy’s bad side, it’s not a great place to be. It was just easier to play along. I figured after a while she would get tired of the whole masochistic thing and move on.” Angel frowned. “I don’t see how she does it, the girl seems to thrive on emotional pain.” He shrugged. “Anyway, I broke first. I told her it was over and I left.”

“You should have said goodbye.” Xander said solemnly.

“Buffy and I had already said our goodbyes.”

“I wasn’t talking about Buffy.” The teen focused on Angel’s pale face. “I deserved one too.”

“I didn’t think you cared.” Angel said honestly.

“You were wrong.”

“I didn’t think you cared.” The vampire said again, his voice close to a whisper.

“I know we weren’t bestest friends, but come on, that was as much you as me.” Xander said, trying to lift the melancholy mood that had descended upon them.

“I thought it would be safer that way.” Angel admitted. “You know, maybe if I kept you at arms length I wouldn’t be. . . tempted.”

“I’m not at arms length anymore.” Xander said softly.

“No, no you’re not.”

Xander suddenly slid off his chair and kneeled on the linoleum in front of Angel. “So, if I understood you right, the only way for your soul to stay permanently anchored is if you stay happy?”

“Yes.” Angel shivered as the teenager’s hands planted themselves on the vampire’s upper thighs.

“Do I make you happy Angel?” The beginnings of a smile tugged at the corner of Xander’s mouth.

“Very much so.” Angel knew that if his heart had still been beating it would have leapt out of his chest by now.

“Would you like to make me happy?” Xander grasped Angel’s injured hand and gently began to kiss each fingertip.

Part of Angel’s brain wondered if this nineteen-year-old boy had any idea to what lengths the vampire would go to please him. “Oh yes.” His hips unconsciously bucked as Xander’s tongue swirled around one finger.

The younger man release the hand and moved upwards toward Angel’s face. “Would you like to know what would make me happy?”

Angel closed his eyes and nodded. Every nerve was on fire, his dead body had never felt so alive.

“Doyle. . .”

Angel’s eyes flew open to see the teen’s smirking face just inches from his own.

“. . . and you.”

The older man blinked. Once again the mortal had managed to surprise him. “You mean. . . both of us?”

“Uh huh. Of course I don’t know if your bed can hold three people.”

“I was thinking of getting a new one anyway.”

Xander grinned as he leaned in and pressed his mouth against Angel’s. The vampire wrapped his arms around the younger man and held him close, each little movement sending a spark running through him. After a while they broke apart, Xander needed breath and Angel need to ask a nagging question.

“What if Doyle isn’t interested?”

Xander shrugged. “His loss.”

“Definitely.” Angel agreed before pulling the mortal back into his rightful place, firmly nestled in the vampire's arms.

**********

Sticky and Sated
Summary: This is Angel’s POV on a Doyle and Xander induced afterglow   
Dedication: This is for Cinder, thanks for the poodle ;)
 
********************


I’m happy.

It’s still kinda hard for me to wrap my mind around this latest emotional development.

But, I’m happy.

I’m also imbued with this irrational need to express my happiness in un-me-like ways. If I wasn’t so elated I might be scared of the urges I’ve been getting. Urges to sing at the top of my lungs and do a few cartwheels around the room, of course if I did that Doyle and Xander might get the urge to have me committed, or at the very least, heavily sedated.

Nope. I’ll just stay right here, thank you very much. Here in my nice, warm, crowded bed. After all, the absolute last thing I’d want to do is disturb the two dark haired men who are currently using my body as a pillow.

Xander was right, this bed really wasn’t made for three people. It’s kind of nice though, in order for us to fit we had to press in together. Xander on the right, Doyle on the left, and a happy me sandwiched in the middle.

They’re both wrapped around me. Their arms hugging my waist. Their legs draped over mine. Their heartbeats echoing through me, making me feel more alive then I have in centuries. . . And I’m smiling again. I just know a great big goofy grin is plastered on my face and I can’t do a damn thing about it. I suppose that’s the price I’ll have to pay to stay in this sweaty, euphoric haven. Oh great, now the muscles in my cheeks are actually starting to hurt.

Okay, I need to calm down. I need to relax and get some rest. Cordy should be in soon and Buffy and Willow will most likely be with her. I’ll need energy for that conversation.

‘Oh, hey Buffy. Yeah, Xander’s here. No, he’s not going back to Sunnydale with you. Why? Well, Doyle and I have discovered the joys of threesomes and we’re keeping Xander chained to my bed for the foreseeable future. Would you like some coffee?’

Oh yeah, that’ll go over well.

Maybe I’ll just tell her the truth. How Xander and I talked, finally airing out the problems that have plagued us for four years, and how we then decided to celebrate by grabbing Doyle and jumping into the nearest available bed.

Right, and I’m sure I’ll be perfectly happy in my new home, the slightly used bag of a Hoover.

It’s not going to be easy explaining this to her, especially since I’m having more then a little trouble excepting that it all actually happened.

Me, Xander and Doyle.

A vampire, a human, and a half demon. It sounds like a set up to a truly God awful joke, but it’s not. It’s not a joke, or a dream, or one of those particularly nice fantasies I sometimes get in the shower, it’s reality, one which bypassed any and all expectations.

The kisses and nips and gentle bites, and the incredibly urgent need to remove each and every article of clothing. The remarkable want associated with possessing each new inch of skin with fingers or tongues, or both. Then, the three of us sliding against one another, thrusting in a rhythm only we could hear. We weren’t looking for torturous anticipation, just a quick, primal release. Tenderness and true exploration could wait.

Lips and tongues and teeth danced across flesh as our bodies melded together. Xander came first, he is only human after all, then Doyle. Their bodies shuddered violently, against mine triggering my own release. We collapsed in a tangled, undignified heap, no one wanting to expend the necessary energy to move.

After a few minutes the satisfied pants gave way to smooth, even breaths and my new partners fell into a deep, exhaustive sleep. Me, well, I just fell into a deep thorough. . . contentment.

Contentment, that’s a really good word for this.

I swear I feel like a great big cat just basking in the offered warmth of my mates. That analogy fits, I think I actually did purr earlier. Thank you Doyle.

Now, the only sounds I can hear are those made by my lovers. I’m sure living creatures never know just how noisy they are, even in sleep. The rhythm of breathing, the steady rush of blood through veins and most importantly, the cadence of the heartbeat. These wondrous, completely normal sounds have filled me with a sense of complete and total safety I haven’t felt since I was. . . human.

I wonder if they know that? If they have any idea what they’ve done to me. They set me on fire. Each touch, every kiss, every lick, branded me as their’s and I wonder if they know it? I wonder what they’ll do when they find out.

No, I’m not going to let myself worry about the future, the present is going to be hard enough. Another sound has joined those emanating from my lovers.

It’s the elevator.

Well, this should be interesting.

**********

The Mid-Morning After
Summary: Angel, Xander, and Doyle wake up to a few problems.

***************

As he heard the elevator descend Angel gave a silent thanks that someone had had the presence of mind to close the doors to his bedroom. Mindful of his still sleeping lovers the vampire quickly extracted himself from the covers and threw on a robe. He eased out the door just as Cordelia opened the grate on the elevator.

"Angel, you're a good friend, but if you *ever* pawn those two off on me again, I'll stake you myself." The brunette gave him a very put upon sigh.

"Where are they now?" He asked, trying not to let any negativity leak into his voice.

"Oh, they're upstairs. You know, I almost feel sorry for Xander when he finally turns up. I don't know what Buffy's planning on doing first - beating or bitching him to death."

Angel swallowed a growl at that thought. The Slayer wasn't going to get a chance to do either of those things ever again, not if he had any say in the matter.

Cordy stepped back, frowned, and gave her boss a once over. "Why aren't you dressed yet?"

"I, uh. . . overslept."

Cordelia's eyes narrowed slightly, but if she caught the lie she didn't acknowlege it. "Overslept? Right, whatever. Look, just find Xander so you can send the three of them back to Sunnydale."

"Back to Sunnydale." Angel repeated fighting to let his face stay passive.

The ex-May queen put her hands on her hips and gave the vampire a hard stare. "Are you sure you're okay? You know, besides being dead and all?"

"I'm fine Cordelia. Really." Angel gently turned her around and put a hand on the small of her back. "Go back to the office." He said steering her towards the stairs. "I'll be up in a few minutes."

"Should I maybe try to call Doyle's place?"

"Yeah, yeah, you do that." Angel watched as the brunette threw him one last suspicious frown before she walked up the stairs. He waited a few beats to make sure she was really gone before opening his bedroom door and coming face to face with his new lovers.

"Ya think she knows?" Doyle spoke first.

"She knows something's up, but I don't even think Cordy suspects anything like this. I'm just glad she didn't notice the miscellaneous clothing laying around." Angel said, blatantly watching Xander bend over to retrieve his jeans.

Doyle nodded, momentarily distracted himself. "I guess we should think up a good cover story."

The vampire shrugged. "We could just tell them the truth, with the omission of several obvious parts, like everything that happened down here."

"I don know. From what Cordy said Buffy's already on tha warpath. It probably wouldn't be healthy fer either a us ta say that tha reason she an Willow had ta spend tha night in L.A. was because me an Xan got fallin' down drunk."

"Good point." Angel conceded. "We should think up something a little less. . . alcoholic. What do you think, Xan?" Angel and Doyle turned toward the third member of their party, who had so far remained silent.

Xander, now fully dressed, was leaning against a brick pillar with his arms crossed over his chest and a very pissed look on his face. "I think. . . that when Buffy, Willow and I get back to Sunnydale, *I* am going to tell them the truth."

Doyle knew the look of shock currently marring his features was mirrored on Angel's face.

"Don't worry, I won't tell them who my partners were, I'll just make up a couple names. The two of you will be safe. Nobody'll *suspect* a thing." The last statement was pure acid as came out of the youth's lips.

Angel cringed. "That's not what I meant."

"It isn't?" Xander cocked his head to the side. "You don't want anyone to know what happened here, do you?"

Doyle cleared his throat. "I think *we* should try ta figure out what happened 'fore anybody spouts off about it."

Xander snorted. "Funny, I thought I did know what happened since I was there, but why don't you tell me your version of the events?"

Blue-green eyes narrowed. "Well, they might differ a little since I wasn't aware that one a my bedmates was such an immature child."

"Enough!" Angel's voice echoed through the apartment. "We don't have time for this."

Mumbled apologies came from both of the younger men.

"Okay then." The vampire took a deep, albeit unneeded, breath. "Xander, what brought this on? I told you earlier how I felt about you."

"And I told you earlier about my new no-more-lying philosophy." The mortal began picking at his pullover. "I'm not ashamed of what we did, and from the way the two of you were talking, it. . . sounded like you were."

Doyle mentally flinched. He had only know Xander for a short time but the Irishman had already discovered the mortal boy's painfully fragile self-esteem. The words he and Angel had used flitted through his mind and the half-demon did the first thing he could think of to repair the damage.

Doyle strode over to the teenager and immediately swept him into a passionate kiss. Xander retained his indignation for a brief moment before he returned the heated embrace.

As his two partners reaffirmed their attraction Angel smirked and realized that watching Xander and Doyle together was rapidly becoming his second favorite pastime.

Finally, when lack of oxygen became too essential to ignore, the two men released each other and drew in ragged breaths. When he got his air intake under control Doyle firmly grasped Xander's head and stared into the chocolatey eyes he found there.

"I could never be ashamed a somethin' like that." He said emphatically. "Are we clear?"

Xander nodded mutely.

"Good." The half-demon gently stroked the mortal's flushed skin. "Believe me, if I had my way I'd shout from the rooftops about how Xander Harris was goin' ta spend tha rest a his existence chained ta my bed."

Angel started slightly at that particular admission. With a silent chuckle the vampire wondered if he and Doyle shared any other thoughts concerning the delectable mortal boy.

Doyle noted, with some satisfaction, the deep crimson blush that had settled on Xander's cheeks. "That's what I want ta do. . . but life isn't that simple."

"Then we shouldn't make it even more complex." Xander pulled back slightly. "That's why I think we should come completely clean with our friends." He saw the other men open their mouths to protest. "Please, just hear me out. If what you both said was true, then no one wants what happened this morning to be just a one time thing. Am I right?"

"As rain." Angel responded.

"Then we all know that it'll be impossible to keep this relationship a secret forever. The truth is going to come out eventually, and I just think it would be better to get it out now then later."

"Valid point." Doyle acquiesced. "It's just, we don want your blonde friend ta come after Angel here wit' anythin' sharp, wooden, an pointy. . . which is somethin' that could be very detrimental ta our health as well."

"That's why I'm gona wait until we get to Sunnydale to tell them."

Angel frowned. "So, you know how we both feel about you and you've still decided to go back *there*. . . with *them*."

Much to the vampire's chagrin the boy smiled. "Do you know how adorable you are when you get all jealous?"

Doyle dimpled at the flustered older man. "He's right you know, completely adorable."

Angel growled at his two partners, which just made their grins wider.

"Turn off the possessive mode Deadboy." Xander chided. "I'm going to take them back to Sunnydale and then I'm going to pack a few bags, say goodbye to a couple people, have a long, emotionally painful, angst filled conversation with my closest friends, and be back here tomorrow morning." Xander placed a hand on the back of the vampire's neck and began to gently rub the corded muscles he found there. "I somewhat agree with Doyle. I don't think telling Buffy here would be a particularly smart move, not with you so close. But, I do think that waiting, dragging it out, is only going to make it worse when she finds out, and like I said before, eventually, that's gonna happen."

"Okay, telling her in Sunnydale might be best for me, but what about you? I can't protect you there."

"Angel." Xander gave him a light smile. "Buffy isn't gonna hurt me. Oh sure, there's going to be some yelling, and screaming, and most likely throwing of things, but she's not going to hurt me."

"How can ya be so sure?" Doyle asked, remembering stories he had heard about the obsessive slayer.

The teenager shrugged. "She just doesn't feel that strongly enough about me." He clasped his hands together. "Okay, I think I've made my opinions on this matter known. Now it's up to you guys, I'll go with whatever you two decide to do."

Angel and Doyle looked at each other. The half-demon nodded his assent and Angel turned back to Xander. "All right, you'll tell Buffy and we'll . . . tell Cordelia."

"Hey!" Doyle exclaimed. "How come he gets tha easy one?"

"'Cause I'm lucky. After all, I got the two of you didn't I?" The teen batted his thick, dark lashes.

Doyle groaned. "Save me from tha saccharine."

Angel chuckled. "Am I going to have to separate you two?"

"Nah." The mortal glanced at the stairs. "I should go, I think I hear Buffy's foot tapping." His eyelids drooped slightly as he gave each man a lingering kiss. "See you soon." It was a promise, not a good bye that he offered his lovers.

"Be careful Xander." Angel called out, wanting desperately to shake the melancholic feeling that had descended upon him.

"I always am." Xander said, purposely letting his mouth spread into his most reckless grin.

Doyle chortled as Angel looked heavenward and sighed. It was going to be a very long day.

***************

Eventualities
Summary: The truth comes out
 
**********

Xander nervously glanced around Giles' apartment. He had told Buffy and Willow there was something he wanted to discuss with them, but only when they were all together. Now, with the attention of the remaining members of the Scooby Gang focused on him, Xander wondered if telling them was really such a good idea.

“So,” Buffy impatiently tapped her finger on the arm of the couch. “We’re all here, what’s the big?”

“Oh, is this like a Slayerette thing?” Willow perked up. “’Cause maybe we should wait for Spike.”

“He’s in the other room, watching his soap opera.” Giles commented dryly.

“That’s okay.” Xander said quickly. “What I have to say doesn’t really concern him anyway.” The boy took a deep breath and steeled himself. He had spent the entire trip back from LA trying to think up the best, least emotionally painful way of breaking the news of his new relationship. It had taken him a while, but he finally came up with a speech that he hoped would correctly express his feelings, while sparing those of his friends. “See, basically. . .“

“All right.” Spike stomped down the hallway. “You’ve people got ‘til the end of the commercial, so make it fas. . . “ The blonde vampire paused at the entrance to the living room, his nose twitching violently. His shocked eyes fell on Xander. “Holy Shit!! You slept with Angel!!!”

*****

Cordelia frowned in the middle of flipping through the latest issue of Allure. With a roll of her eyes she looked up to find her two male colleagues staring at her. “What?” She asked in annoyance.

Angel and Doyle glanced at each other. The younger man made some jerky head movements and Angel cleared his throat. “Cordelia, we have something to tell you.” The vampire said hesitantly.

The brunette closed her magazine. “Wait, lemme guess. Um. . . we’ve got another paying client?”

“No.” Doyle squirmed under her inspection. “Cordy. . .”

“Oh! You had a vision that we are gonna get a paying client?”

“Cordelia, just listen. . .” Angel shifted uncomfortably.

“Hey, I’ve got it. . . You two boffed my boyfriend.” The brunette gave both stunned men a dazzling smile.

“How did you. . .” Angel stammered out.

“You forget, I am an ac-tress. My calling in life demands I be a student of human behavior. . . plus, I saw Doyle and Xander’s clothes crumpled on your floor this morning.”

“Are ya okay wit tis?” Doyle asked.

“Depends on what *this* is. I mean, psychotic slayers not withstanding, Xander usually isn’t the type for one night stands.”

“It wasn’t a one night stand.” Angel assured her.

“Good. I know he and I haven’t always had the bestest relationship, but under that dorkish exterior, and horrifying fashion sense, Xander’s a good guy. He deserves to be loved.” Her hazel eyes narrowed dangeriously. “Just keep in mind, either of you hurt him, and you’ll find your next permanent residence in an ashtray.”

Doyle grinned at her overprotectiveness. “Nice sentiment Princess, but I won’t turn inta dust when I die.”

Cordelia graced the half demon with the sweetest of smiles. “You will if I set you on fire.”

*****

“What!?” Buffy’s voice cut through the shocked silence. “Spike, what the hell are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about the fact that your boy over there has Angel’s scent all over him.” Spike smirked. “And someone else’s too. A threesome, Xander? I. Am. Shocked.”

The boy glared at him and quickly considered his options, all of which somehow involved him getting something wooden through Spike’s chest. “Bite me!” He scowled at the vampire. “Oh wait, that’s right, *you can’t*!!”

“He’s wrong, right?” Buffy stared at Xander. “Tell Spike he’s wrong.”

“Buffy. . .” Xander started softly.

“No!” The Slayer violently shook her head. “This is impossible, Angel doesn’t swing that way.”

Spike smirked. “Pet, Angel’s a vampire, we swing every which way we can.”

“How could you do this to me?” Buffy’s eyes were wide with unshed tears as she stared accusingly at Xander.

The boy sighed. “This isn’t about *you*, Buffy.” Xander ran his hands through his hair. “I’m sorry you’re still upset over Angel leaving and I’m sorry you haven’t yet figured out that what happened between the two of you had nothing to do with real love, and I’m very, very sorry that you found out this way. I really am. I wanted to try to explain what happened. . . to, maybe, help you understand, so that we could still be. . .”

“Still be what, Xander?” Buffy gave him an incredulous look. “Friends? Friends don’t do this kind of thing.”

“Since when have we been friends, Buff? When was the last time you asked about my life? Huh? Or, hell, when was the last time you even talked to me without having some ulterior motive, like needing a ride?”

“Don’t even try to turn this around on me.” Fury seeped from the girl. “You just can’t keep your hands to yourself, can you? Well, you’re right, we’re not friends. Why the hell would I want to be friends with a skanky, sick fuck like you!?”

“STOP IT!!! Now, both of you!!” The enraged voice of the former Watcher shook the apartment. All eyes turned to Giles, who looked upon the scene with a mixture of offense and despair. “Buffy, go home.”

“What?!” She looked at the older man with surprise. “But. . .”

”Go. Home. You’re upset and you’re not thinking clearly. Please leave before you do something you’ll regret later.”

The blonde glared at Giles for a minute before she headed for the door. “Come on Willow.”

The young witch chewed indecisively on her bottom lip. She wanted so badly to say something, anything, of reassurance to the boy who had once been her best and oldest friend.

“*Willow*.” Buffy crossed her arms indignitly.

Xander gave Willow a tiny, understanding smile, which was somehow worse then if he had turned his back on her completely. Green eyes dropped and the girl followed the Slayer out the door.

“Well, I must say mate, I haven’t been that entertained in nearly four decades.” Spike sneered.

Giles turned an evil eye on the vampire. “Get out.”

“But, my show. . .”

“You heard me you animated worm food, Get Out!” A menacing glint formed in the ex-Watcher’s eyes.

Spike had heard enough stories about Ripper to know he didn't want to be on the receiving end of that part of Giles’ personality, especially not when he was defenseless. The bleached vampire muttered obscenities as he wrapped his coat around his head, and sprinted off into the early evening.

“Is it my turned to get yelled at?” Xander asked warily.

“I think you’ve had quite enough of that for one day.” Giles turned soft eyes toward the boy he had come to regard as a son. “And, I’m not going to lecture you either.”

For the first time since he had gotten back to Sunnydale, Xander smiled. “Sometimes I like your lectures.” He shrugged. “It means you care.”

Giles resisted the urge to give the boy a reassuring hug. “Please tell me you know what you’re doing.”

Xander sank down onto the couch. “Haven’t a clue.” He admitted. “but I know I love them.” He flung his head back and let out a tortured moan. “How messed up is *that*? I hardly know Doyle, and Angel. . . I’m supposed to hate *him*, right?”

“This is all certainly. . . unexpected.” Giles said carefully. “If I may, what exactly brought this about?”

“You think this is some kind of sowing oats, rebellious teenager, youthful indiscretion thing, don’t you?” Xander’s eyes were downcast as he picked at his jeans.

“Is it?”

“I don’t know. . . I don’t think so.” The boy frowned. “Have you ever had things click? You know, it’s like one second the whole world’s fuzzy, but you don’t know it’s fuzzy because it’s always been fuzzy so you had nothing to compare it to, and then you realize it was fuzzy because all of a sudden everything is *so* clear, and you finally understand all the stuff that’s been right in front of your face for the past four years?” He took a badly needed breath. “That’s what happened, Giles. I opened my eyes, *really* opened them, and found two amazing men staring back at me. I’d be a complete idiot to let them get away.”

“Well, a relationship involving three men isn’t exactly normal. . . but, then, I don’t think any of you children can ever be accused of being norma. . .”

“Question,” Xander interrupted. “Is it a good thing when stoic British guy starts making jokes?”

“Depends on the jokes.” Giles deadpanned.

“True.” The teenager laughed. “So, you’re okay with this?” He asked shyly.

“I am if you are.” Giles paused and a serious expression settled on his face. “I am truly sorry for Buffy’s behavior.”

Xander shrugged. “Hey, it was better then the worst case scenario I imagined, which involved me in ending up in traction. Buffy’ll either accept it, or she won’t, but I’m not going to spend time worrying about it.” Xander’s mouth twisted into his signature grin. “I’ve got more important things to focus on now.”

*****

“Ya know this makes absolutely no sense.”

“What?” Angel distractedly looked up from his book.

“This, man.” Doyle waved a hand around at the office. “You, me. . . I mean, what are we gonna do, just sit here til Xander gets back?”

“That was my plan, yes.”

The Irishman fidgeted silently for a second. “Well, I can’t.” He got up and began to pace. “I need ta be out, doing somethin, ya know?”

Angel watched the other man’s frantic movements. “What’s wrong, Doyle?”

“Nothin’. . . Everytin’. . . I don know. . . I just met Xander less en forty eight hours ago an I already feel so. . . deeply fer him. It’s. . .”

“Scary?” Angel offered.

“Yeah. An I just feel so. . .”

“Tense?” The vampire closed his book and stood up.

“Very.” Doyle said rubbing the back of his neck.

“Here, let me do that.” Angel moved behind the half demon and started kneading the warm flesh.

Doyle relaxed and leaned back against the solid chest. “Ya don tink she’d really hurt him, do you?”

“I hope not, Buffy’s the best slayer I’ve ever seen.” Angel stopped his massage and wrapped his arms around the younger man. “I’d really hate to have to kill her.”

Doyle turned around, his pale blue eyes locked onto Angel’s chocolatey brown ones. The younger man then reached up and brought the vampire’s face down to his. Cold lips were warmed by the half demon’s mouth.

Doyle pulled away all too quickly and gave his partner an impish grin. “What’s say you an me go downstairs and relieve some stress?”

*****

Xander closed the trunk of his car and looked up at the house he was raised in. He tried to pull up a feeling, any feeling, to associate with this place he had once called home, but nothing came. With a slight jolt of what could only be described as freedom, he realized that this part of his life was truly over. He had already said his goodbyes, made his peace with those he could, now, it was time to go.

With a rueful smile Xander turned around and almost ran right into Buffy. They stared at each other for a moment. Assorted emotions blended together behind two sets of proud eyes.

Xander finally spoke first. “If you’ve come to yell at me some more, just keep it down, okay? Uncle Rory’s still sleeping it off.”

Buffy kicked a few pebbles with the toe of her shoe. “I didn’t come here to yell, I came here because I got yelled at.”

“Giles?”

“Willow.”

Xander’s eyes widened. “Whoa, are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I think Wil may have popped a blood vessel, but I’m fine.” The blonde gave him a self-depreciating smile. “I’m also a major jerk.”

“Buffy. . .”

“Xander, shut up and let me apologize.” She ordered. “These last few months have been really hard on me, what with college, and the Initiative, and all, but none of that excuses how I’ve treated you, especially since you’ve always been there for me.” The Slayer squinted into the morning glare. “See, I spent hours ragging on you last night, ‘til Willow called me on it. . . in a very scary, un-Willow like way.”

“You mean where her lips curl up and her eyes kinda bug out?”

“Full bug.”

“Been there.” Xander nodded sympathetically. “Willow’s bad side is not a very pleasant place to be.”

“Oh yeah. Anyway, she reminded me of a few things, kinda topping it off with how you brought me back from the dead.” She paused and blinked into the sun for a few seconds before she turned back and stared deep into Xander’s eyes. “Do you love him?”

“No, I love *them*.” He said honestly.

“Do they love you?”

“Yeah, I think they do.”

“Then you are a really lucky guy.” Buffy wrapped her arms around her surprised friend and gave him a tight hug. Xander smiled into her hair as he returned the warm touch.

When she pulled away Xander was alarmed to see tears falling down her cheeks. “Buff?”

She used her sleeve to wipe her eyes. “I’m fine, it’s just. . . I can’t believe you’re not going to be here anymore. I’m losing you too.”

“Hey. You’re not losing me.” Xander said firmly. “L.A.’s only three hours away, and I dare you to find a closer place to get your Neimen Marcus fix.” He smiled. “We can e-mail each other, and you know, I’ve heard of this invention some people have. . . it’s called a tel-e-phone.”

Buffy smacked him lightly on the arm. “Smart ass.”

Xander gave her his best innocent look, which just set both of them off giggling. When they sobered the boy glance at his watch.

“I’d better be. . .”

“Going.” Buffy finished for him. “Yeah, me too. In fact, I’m just gonna go now.” The blonde slayer turned and began to walk away. “Take care of him.” She said over her shoulder.

Xander climbed into his car and as he checked the rearview mirror he absently wondered when his heart had gotten so heavy.

**********

Doubts
Summary: Xander has a conversation with himself on the way to L.A.
Notes: For this part of the series I decided to delve into Xander’s thought process. . . . . .help. . .


**********

What the hell have I done?

{Here it comes.}

Oh God, what the hell have I done?

{The self-doubt and disparagement, right on schedule.}

I mean, I’ve done some stupid-assed stuff in my life, but *this*, this just blows every other mistake out of the water. What was I thinking?

{At least you know what you were thinking with.}

This is wrong. I’ve got to turn the car around.

{And, where exactly would you go?}

Home. I’ll just firmly tuck my tail between my legs and go back home. Tell everyone that it was all a big joke. Yep, that’s me, Funny Xander.

{You’re already headed home.}

No, I’m not. Angel’s apartment isn’t home. I don’t even know if he’ll want me to live there. And Doyle. . . Buffy was right, I am sick. . .

{Stop it}

Huh?

{Just stop it}

What?

{Xander, you’re not going to do this to me. . . you. . . us. . . whatever, I won’t let you.}

Great, even my conscience has no idea what it’s talking about.

{I’m talking about the fact that you’re trying desperately to sabotage this relationship before it even starts.}

Am not.

{Are too. It’s the exact same thing you did with Larry, Cordelia and even Willow.}

Is not.

{Is *too*. You’ve got a self-destructive streak in you a mile wide and I, for one, am not going to let you wreck the best thing you’re likely to find in this lifetime.}

::Snort::

{You love them.}

I’m an idiot. It’s well documented.

{They love you.}

They can’t.

{Why, because you don’t love yourself?}

I am *so* not having this conversation right now.

{Hah. Try and get rid of me.}

::Sigh::

What exactly do you want?

{I want to know why you’re doing this. Why, suddenly, you’ve become convinced that the truest emotions you’ve felt in a long time have all been a lie?}

It’s just. . . they’re so much more then I am. Why would they want me? Why would anyone want me.

{And with that stunningly self-confidnet statement I think the question is “Why *wouldn’t* anyone want you?”}

Aren't you supposed to be helping?

{I’ve tried. *Someone* just doesn’t want to listen, color me surprised.}

At least now I know where I get my sarcasm from.

{Do me a favor}

Why should I?

{Who told you to unplug the food processor before you stuck you fingers into it?}

Uh. . .

{Who reminded you that it wasn’t such a great idea to climb a tree in the middle of a thunder storm?}

Oh yeah.

{Who. . .}

Okay, okay, I’m listening.

{About damn time. Now, I want you to remember everything that’s happened in the past twenty four hours. Do you remember what Doyle said?}

Yes.


{What Angel said?}

Yes.

{How they both looked at you, touched you, kissed you. . . Hey! Hey! The car’s supposed to be *between* the yellow lines!}

Oh, and who’s fault was *that*? You should know better then to distract me while I’m driving. See why I don’t normally listen to you?

{Figures. The first time I’ve really gotten through to you in seven years and you nearly off yourself by careening into a UPS truck. I don’t think Angel or Doyle would be pleased if they had to come scrape you off the pavement.}

I don’t know, it might be easier for everyone that way.

{ARRGGHH!!! I swear, if I wasn’t just part of the black expanse you call your mind, I’d smack you!}

What?

{Why can’t you accept that they love you? It wasn’t so hard a few hours ago.}

A few hours ago, this wasn’t so real.

{Ah, I get it now. You’re scared.}

Terrified. I’ve never been on my own before.

{Sure you have. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about last summer, Besides, you’re not going to be alone. You’ll have An. . .}

Yeah, yeah, Angel and Doyle, they’ll be there for me. I. . . know that.

{Finally}

And, last summer doesn’t count, because that’s all it was, a summer. This is. . .

{Life.}

I don’t know if I’m ready for it. . . the whole, real grown-up thing.

{You were born and raised on a Hellmouth, Xander, you’ve seen the worst this world has to offer. . . and you’ve also seen the best. I think you’re ready.}

Stroke egos much?

{Only when you let me, which hopefully will be more often.}

You really think I can handle this?

{Well. . . the constant, mind-blowing sex sessions with two unbelievably attractive men might be too much for you after a while. . . Why, Mr. Harris, is that a grin on your face?}

Maybe. Is it just me, or does the future suddenly seem very bright?

**********

Home Sweet Home
Summary: Xander arrives at his new home and gets quite a welcoming.  
Date: March 20, 2000

**********

“Hi honeys, I’m. . .” Xander dropped his bags by the door and glanced around the apartment. “Completely alone. . . Doyle? Deadboy?” The teenager frowned for a moment. He had hoped to catch his two lovers in bed, but a quick check proved that he was indeed the only soul in the apartment. With a mental shrug Xander rode the elevator up to the office, where he was immediately greeted by his ex-girlfriend.

“Oh, it’s you.” Cordelia remarked as he got out of the elevator.

Xander smirked. “And, it’s nice to see you again too.”

The girl put her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes. “Oh please. We did that whole - ‘Oh my God. How have you been? What’s been going on? - thing the other day. Not *that* much has changed in our lives. . . at least not in mine.” Cordy gave him a knowing smile. “So, Mr. involved-in-a-homosexual-threesome-with-a-nearly-three-hundred-year-old-souled-vampire-and-a-prophetic-Irish-half-demon, anything new with you?”

“They told you.” Xander was promptly rewarded with a ‘duh’ look. “Yeah, stupid question.” He swallowed nervously. “Are you okay with this?”

“No. I’m going to get into a catfight with Angel to win you back.” She smacked him on the shoulder. “Of course I’m okay with it. . . what’s so funny?”

Xander snorted. “Sorry, catfight, mental image.” He explained.

Cordy smirked. “I’d kick his ass, ya know. Go for his precious hair, it’d be over in under a minute.”

Xander laughed, as he felt any apprehension he had disappear. “Where are. . .”

“Your two bunkmates? Out fighting evil, of course. Doyle had another one of those nasty visions of his.”

“Oh.” He tried to keep the disappointment out of his voice.

“They’ll be back soon.” Cordelia gave his arm a reassuring squeeze before she walked out to her desk. “I honestly didn’t expect you’d get here so quickly, but. . . since you’re here and in one piece,” She paused and looked pointedly at his crotch. “As far as I can tell, anyway, I take it either things went well in Sunnydale, or you’re still practicing the whole run like a woman routine’.”

He smiled at the familiar insult. “Things are. . . good. Buff and I, we worked it out.”

“Glad to hear it.” Cordy said. “We’ve got enough problems. Speaking of which, Angel didn’t offer to put you on the payroll, did he?”

*****

“That was, witout a doubt, tha *grossest* ting I’ve ever seen.” Doyle slowly trudged into the office. “An I used ta teach third grade, so I know from gross.”

Angel nodded as he shut the door. “It certainly did have healthy mucus glands.” He commented, looking down at his ruined clothes.

“It’s about time you two got back.” Cordelia rose from behind the desk and slung her purse over her arm. “Do you know how late it is? I’ve got a date at seven. And, can I just say - *EW*. You two look. . .”

“Like we just had a long, arduous battle with a Regurgitating Cavetsh demon?” Angel offered.

“Actually, I was gonna say ‘like shit’. But hey, if the analogy fits.” The brunette gave the two goo covered men a wide berth as she walked to the door. “By the way, Cop Lady called, twice; Wesley said he’d be by tomorrow morning with some new ceremonial thingamawhatist; and Xander’s downstairs, taking a nap. Bye.”

Angel and Doyle stood silently for a moment, slightly swaying in the wake left by the ex-May queen. A slow smile simultaneously formed on both their faces as their tired brains finally comprehended the last part of what she had said.

*****

Xander Harris was content. Yes, that was a good word for his state of being. He wasn’t really awake enough to remember the logistics of where he was, or how he had gotten there, he just knew he was warm, and safe, and. . . being very thoroughly kissed.

The mortal let out a happy sigh as a warm tongue invaded his mouth. Xander’s mind was still on the edges of the dreamworld, but his body was readily responding to the seductive assailant. Then, it was gone, and Xander whimpered at the loss.

“Time ta wake up luv.”

The soft Irish lilt shook the boy from his sleep induced haze. He was suddenly reminded of the when, where, and why of his current situation. Brown eyes flew open as hands reached for the wiry frame of the half demon.

“Mmmm, Doyle.” Was all that was said before a bruising kiss made the power of speech obsolete.

The contact was full of desperate lust, and Doyle wondered how he had managed to survive an entire day without the boy’s touch. Finally the kiss ended, leaving both men gasping for air and more then a little flustered.

The half demon’s eyes were a brilliant green as he gave his lover a tiny smirk. “Miss me?”

*****

Angel didn’t think he had ever bathed so fast in his life. He knew that Doyle had somehow fixed the coin toss that had let the half demon get access to the shower, and consequently the bed, first. . . even if they had used a coin out of Angel’s own pocket.

“My shower. My bed. My Xander.” He grumbled into the spray, letting the almost stinging pressure of the water rinse away the soap and slime.

He turned off the water and inhaled deeply through his nose. The scent of male arousal was already almost overpowering. The vampire hurriedly toweled himself dry, then stalked out into the bedroom, where he saw the most erotic thing of his long life.

Doyle and Xander, the two beautiful men he had invited to his bed, were stretched out across the covers, their nude bodies intertwined. Soft whispers of passion came unheeded from parted lips, as hands stroked and teased warm flesh.

The younger men both stopped their ministrations and turned toward Angel. His knees went weak at the twin looks of lust, love, and pure desire that shined from both sets of eyes.

Xander and Doyle each reached out a hand, wordlessly beckoning Angel to join them.

As the vampire walked to the bed, to the waiting arms of his lovers, he could have sworn he felt the echo of his long dead heartbeat.

**********

Entanglements
Summery: A PWP follow up to ‘Home Sweet Home’
Date: March 22, 2000

**********

Doyle arched his neck as the two mouths - one hot, one cool - latched onto his throat. Tongues, like rough velvet, scraped across the sensitive skin drawing an almost torturous moan out of the young half demon.

Angel and Xander chuckled into the pale flesh, then moved on to focus on other parts of the hairy, lithe body.

Angel nibbled lightly along Doyle’s stomach, stopping only to swirl his tongue in the younger man’s navel. The half demon’s hips bucked from the attention, but were immediately pushed back down to the mattress.

Doyle raised his head, and watched through hooded eyes as Xander’s soft mouth twisted into a wicked grin. The mortal’s head bowed, and he tenderly kissed the tip of Doyle’s penis. Brown eyes darted up, silently reveling in the older men’s reactions as his mouth closed over the head of the erection.

A shudder went through Angel’s body as he watched the teenager gently suck on their lover.

Doyle’s fingers knotted in the sheets. For a moment his eyes fluttered shut, but he forced them to open again. The half demon wanted to remember every nuance of this coupling.

Angel shifted slightly and let his fingers run down Xander’s spine. The boy paused in his task and arched into the touch.

Doyle saw the need plainly etched on the vampire’s face. He sat up and tugged at the mortal’s shoulders.

Confused, Xander raised his head, and barely had time to take a breath before his lips were crushed against the half demon’s.

Doyle leaned back and pulled Xander with him until their chests were flush together, and the boy’s ass was sticking up in the air.

Angel’s cool fingers delved into the cleft between Xander’s cheeks. The mortal pushed back against the vampire’s hands, trying to silently communicate his need for further contact.

The weight on the bed changed, and both younger men watched as Angel almost languidly strode into the bathroom.

Xander raised a questioning eyebrow at Doyle who simply attempted to shrug.

After a moment, which seemed like forever, Angel returned, a bottle of something in his hands.

Xander, realizing his position, grinned and wiggled his ass.

A smirk worthy of Angelus settled on the vampire’s face as he once again took his position between Doyle’s legs, and knelt behind the mortal.

Doyle tangled his fingers in soft, dark brown hair and pulled Xander into another kiss. The boy sighed into the half demon’s mouth as he felt something cold drizzle between his buttocks.

Angel gently rubbed the tight muscle surrounding Xander’s hole. The mortal immediately relaxed and offered entrance. Angel licked his lips in anticipation as he let one finger press through the puckered opening. The vampire tensed as his mind was suddenly filled with images of just taking Xander. . . fucking the boy until he was raw. . . sinking his fangs into the smooth, pale neck. . . claiming him for all eternity. . . With a snarl Angel banished his ecstatically howling demon.

Worried blue-green eyes peered over Xander’s shoulder as Doyle watched the internal struggle play out. His muscles relaxed almost imperceptibly when he saw the man he had come to respect, and care about, regain control.

Xander whimpered, blissfully oblivious to everything but the nerve endings of every inch of his body. All he knew was that the two men who mattered most to him were close to, but not exactly, touching him in a way that he would gladly get down on his knees and beg for.

The boy’s tiny mewl worked. Once again Doyle and Angel’s attention focused on the mortal between them.

The vampire’s finger moved deeper into Xander, gently exploring and stretching the tight passage. Angel let the tip of the digit curl slightly and was immediately rewarded with a soft moan.

Doyle’s hands stroked Xander’s back as his tongue slipped into the moist warmth of the younger man’s mouth.

Xander sighed happily at the twin sensations. He would have confronted a hundred slayers for this.

Angel very carefully let a second finger slide into the teenager. He poured more oil over the point of their fusion, and began to move his hand. A soft squishy sound was made as the vampire pulled his fingers almost all the way out, then pushed them back in again. They easily slid in and out of the slick channel.

Satisfied with the preparation, Angel used his free hand to prepare his cock.

The mortal’s mouth stilled at the sudden loss of the filling sensation in his rear. Xander willed himself to stay relaxed as strong hands grasped his hips and something large pressed into his young body.

Flesh parted as Angel slowly sank into his lover.

Doyle was transfixed by the look of barely restrained passion on Xander’s face. The half demon arched his back and rocked his hips bringing his cock into agonizing contact with the mortal’s.

Xander groaned as indecision racked his lust addled mind. Press back and receive more of Angel’s cock, or press down and obtain blessed friction from Doyle.

The decision was made for him as the older men sensed his dilemma and adjusted for him. Angel flexed his hips and sank deeper into Xander’s burning warmth, while Doyle maneuvered his lower body so his cock slid enticingly along it’s mortal mate’s length.

A steady rhythm was built. Moans, and whispers of passion, and the simple sound of skin sliding against skin filled the room, echoing through it’s inhabitants and leading up to an inescapable crescendo.

Angel changed his angle of penetration slightly and a broken cry came out of Xander’s mouth as silver sparks danced behind chocolatey eyes. This marked the disintegration of all pretenses of civility. The bodies of the three men began to thrust and undulate against each other instinctively as they gave into the primal need roaring through their blood.

Xander’s fulfillment came quickly, his mouth opening in a wordless scream as his seed flooded the surface of Doyle’s belly. The boy’s quivering muscles still somehow supported his body as he waited for the older men to finish.

Doyle felt Xander’s body shudder, and a sticky warmth spread over his abdomen. With the assurance his young love was satisfied, Doyle concerned himself with his own release. He wantonly thrust against the boy’s thigh, carefully distancing himself from the delicate skin of the mortal’s neck as his demon side was revealed and dark blue spikes popped out over his face. With a feverish moan Doyle’s muscles spasmed, then melted under the warm release that diffused throughout his body.

The overwhelming smell from his lovers’ orgasms pushed the vampire over the edge. Angel came with a roar, his semen filling the ass of his neophyte partner.

For a moment everything was still as a sense of rightness washed over the three occupants of the now well used bed. . . then, it was over, and Angel slowly extracted himself from Xander’s spent body.

Tender, affectionate kisses were exchanged, and as sated exhaustion overtook them, the lovers nestled into the covers.

**********

Syrupy Goodness
Summary: This is a quickie PWP. The boys discover the *ahem* hidden joys of a certain pancake garnish.
Dedication: To Criss and her co-conspirators - see, begging works ;)

**********

“Un uh. Nope, no way, not going to happen.”

Xander Harris scowled at his undead lover. “How come you’re more than willing to soil your sheets with lube, oils, and various excreted bodily fluids, but when I suggest some Maple syrup you balk and go all anal retentive?”

Angel disdainfully eyed the squeeze bottle in the mortal’s hands. “Because it’s messy and sticky and. . .”

“But that’s what sex is like anyway!” Xander exclaimed. “At least, it is with us. . . and I don’t remember you complaining before.”

“That’s because my mouth was usually busy doing other things, quite well if I recall your reaction correctly. We don’t need breakfast food condiments.” The vampire sighed. “Doyle, help me out here?”

The half demon shook his head. “Sorry bud, I hafta go wit Xan on tis one.”

“What? Why?”

Doyle’s mouth quirked a little. “’Cause, I’m overwhelmed by tha sudden cravin’ ta lick that substance off every inch a your body.”

“Guh.” Was Angel’s articulate response.

“I don’t know. Maybe Angel’s right.” Xander put on his mock serious look. “This would be really messy. It would probably run all over, get into all sorts of. . . places. . .”

“Oh, I know what ya mean.” Doyle’s eyes twinkled, despite the frown on his face. “Sometimes tha stuff’s so stubborn ta come off skin ya have ta suck really hard an. . .”

Angel cleared his throat. “You know, I’m kinda tired of the particular pattern that’s on the bed right now.”

Doyle and Xander grinned in triumph as they closed in on the older man.

“I mean, change can be good, after all. . .” Angel’s voice dissolved into a ragged sigh as familiar fingers relieved him of his clothing. After the barrier of material was gone the vampire stood completely still, letting the two younger men study his nude form.

The three lovers had spent many hours just mapping the contours of each others bodies, but there was something different about this. In an unspoken agreement rules changed and a new game began. Angel was dominate by nature, but, with the promise of a thorough tongue bath from both of his young lovers he could certainly play a submissive for a while.

“Which side should we start with?” Xander finally asked.

“Well, which side do ya think’s more lickable?” Doyle rejoined.

Pure wickedness crossed over the mortal’s face as he leaned close to Angel’s ear and whispered. “On your back, Deadboy.”

The vampire felt a shudder run through his body as he complied, settling himself on the cool sheets. Doyle grabbed a plump pillow from the head of the bed and Angel immediately raised his hips, allowing the half demon to place it under his pelvis giving his lovers complete access to his body.

Xander unconsciously ran his tongue over his lips at the sight of all that pale flesh laid out before him. He and Doyle stripped quickly, then, the teenager uncapped the perfectly innocent looking bottle.

Angel closed his eyes as he felt the cool substance coat him, Xander was nothing if not thorough. He could feel the syrup roll over his chest and collarbone, across his abdomen, and down the insides of his thighs. He gave a tiny gasp as another stream ran over his balls and in between the cheeks of his ass. The anticipation was becoming truly tortuous.

Doyle watched all this, transfixed by the amber liquid’s path along the muscles of the vampire’s body. He finally reached out and stopped an errant rivulet with his tongue, savoring the unexpected saltiness Angel’s skin had added to the syrup’s flavor.

Xander lapped at the smooth chest before moving up to gently gnaw on the older man’s clavicle. He nuzzled against Angel as his teeth tenderly worked at the unnaturally pale skin.

The vampire groaned in ecstasy at the twin assault. One talented mouth at his neck, the other on his belly, both spreading a fire throughout his undead body.

Angel opened his eyes just in time to see a dark head descend between his spread legs. He pressed his head back and arched his hips as Doyle’s tongue traced invisible patterns over his sac before the Irishman’s mouth lowered even further.

Angel’s scream of pleasure was muffled by Xander’s mouth tightly covering his. The boy delved into the moist cavern, sharing some of the sugary substance he had taken from Angel’s skin. The vampire sucked at this offering while he opened for the other.

He could feel a pressure coiled unbearably tight inside him as the writhing tongues explored two of his openings. Angel whimpered as he felt his control begin to slip. He pushed Xander away before his human countenance completely dissolved. The mortal just smiled and placed a loving kiss on his partner’s ridged forehead while his hand snaked down to firmly grasp the vampire’s erection. That extra sensation threw the older man completely over the edge.

Angel roared as he climaxed, his fingers digging hard into the mattress beneath him. An uncontrollable shudder ran through his body as every muscle tensed then exhaustively relaxed, leaving him a boneless heap of happy vampire.

Doyle and Xander each wore a self-satisfied smirk as they watched the older man try futilely to compose himself.

“Yep. You were right. That definitely wasn’t worth the cost of an extra set of sheets.” Xander said cheekily.

And at that comment another nonverbal agreement was made, only this one was without the teenager’s knowledge. Rakish grins settled on the older men’s faces.

“Doyle, could you please get the chocolate sauce from the refrigerator?”

“It’d be my pleasure Angel.”

“Why. . .” Xander let out a squeak as the vampire picked him up and threw him on the bed.

Angel gave him a predatory smile. “Because, now, it’s your turn.”

**********

Domestic Bliss
Summary: Some midmorning randomness in L.A.  
Date: May 16, 2000

**********

The state known as sleep had steadfastly claimed Allen Francis Doyle, and was not about to let him go without a fight. However, it’s reign was about to come to an end. It had kept a tight hold on the young half demon through the assaulting aromas of fresh coffee and sizzling bacon, but even sleep was no match for the waking world’s latest weapon - one hundred and seventy five pounds of pouncing Xander.

The teen landed on his prey, and grunt of protest was issued as pale blue eyes flew open. Doyle blearily stared at his impetuous young lover. “W-wha. . . Uh. . . Go ‘way.”

Xander bounced a little, his rich brown eyes sparkling with playfulness. “Come on, not-so-Deadboy. Wakey, wakey.”

Doyle moaned and tried vainly to actually burrow into the mattress. “Ya. . . evil. . . bad. . . Go ‘way!”

“Noooo, I’m nice, good, and routinely lick parts of your anatomy til you scream. Remember?”

“Oh. . . yeah.” Doyle pulled his head out from underneath his pillow and tried to focus on the boy.

Xander smiled. “Good morning.”

“Good morrrraaaannning.”

“Nice yawn.” The boy said appreciatively. “I give it a seven point five.”

“Ten point scale?”

“Yep.”

“Well, if yer going ta insult me ya can leave.”

“Nope, not until I accomplish my mission.”

“I’m awake.” The Irishman said defensively.

“Yeah, but Angel specified that you had to be standing, of your own power, before I could rejoin the living. . . or what passes for it, upstairs.”

Doyle snorted and rubbed his head, making his already unruly ebony hair into little tufts. “Wha time is it, anyway?”

“Elevenish.”

“I can’t believe I slept this late.” The half demon groaned.

“You *were* pretty worn out.” Xander’s eyes twinkled mischievously.

Doyle sighed and shook his head. “Only a teenager an a vampire would want ta have sex after clearing out a nest a goblins.”

Xander rolled his eyes. “Well, you decrepit twentysomething year old, if you don’t feel up for it next time. . .” He trailed off under the weight of the other man’s glare. “Anyway, you’re lucky. The battle last night was nothing compared with the drama from this morning.”

Doyle raised an eyebrow. “Drama?”

“I’m surprised you slept through it.”

“What, man?”

Xander’s mouth quirked into a tiny grin. “Angel had a little trouble with the new coffee grinder.”

“What kind a trouble?”

“The kind where the offending appliance gets permanently embedded into the wall.”

Doyle winced, then frowned in confusion. “But, I thought I smelled coffee.”

“Wesley brought some over.” Xander grinned at Doyle’s expression. “Oh come on. He’s not *that* bad. . . at least, not anymore. . . in fact, he used to be much worse. What you see now is a vast improvement.”

Doyle mumbled something unintelligible and swung his feet over the side of the bed. “Tell Angel I’ll be up in a few minutes, ‘kay?”

The mortal watched as Doyle slowly stood, and stretched. “Sure. Oh, one more thing.”

“Yeah?” He turned toward Xander who gave him a slightly lascivious wink.

“You’ve got great bed head.”

*****

Angel took a slow, savoring sip of his double chocolate malted mocha, and blessed the sometimes bumbling ex-Watcher. While his vampire taste buds couldn’t fully appreciate the myriad of flavors found in most human foods, he could delight in the basics - sugar and caffeine - yum.

The vampire propped his feat up on his desk, and leaned back in his nice comfy chair. He was bound and determined to spend at least the next twenty minutes relaxing. Xander was downstairs trying to rouse Doyle, Cordelia was in the outer office practicing filling out purchase orders, and Wesley was somewhere doing whatever it was that he did these days. Angel was alone, and loving every fleeting second of it.

Not that the past week hadn’t been the happiest in his life, but he occasionally found himself craving solitude. And, with his two young lovers living in his apartment full time, solitude was a precious commodity. Besides, it was hard for the vampire to quit brooding cold turkey.

Those gloomy moments were coming less and less, however, as Angel’s thoughts all invariably led to two dark haired young men. The vampire couldn’t stop the grin that broke out over his face as he thought of Xander, and Doyle. . . and Xander *and* Doyle.

Angel suddenly leapt to his feet, his hands pressed firm against his mouth. His mind raced trying to find a plausible explanation, but the truth was inescapable. He, Angel - the soul having, angst filled, guilt consumed, king of all that broods - had. . . just. . . giggled.

Oh God.

The vampire sank back into his chair, afraid to continue trusting his knees. As soon as he was sure no other mirth filled sounds were going to escape his mouth, Angel removed his hands and placed them, palm down, on his desk. At that instant, there were two things he was certain of. One - it was a good thing that no one had been there to witness his display of unbridled glee, and. . . two - the whole complete happiness thing was going to take some getting used to.

*****

While her boss was having a mirth crisis, Cordelia sat at her desk. She chewed on her bottom lip, concentration marring her film star features. She just needed. . . a little off the side. . . now, even out the top. . . and. . . yes!! The brunette triumphantly held up her hand and admired her perfectly filed nail. One down, nine to go.

*****

As the mid-morning sun brutally beat down onto Los Angeles, a certain rouge demon hunter stood at the ready. Wesley glanced around the deserted roof. Once assured that he was indeed the only person on the top of Angel’s building, the ex-Watcher quickly assembled his latest purchase. When it was complete, he sat back on his haunches and simply admired the piece for a moment.

Wesley already knew what Cordelia, or that Doyle fellow would say about this particular hobby, and to the young Brit’s credit, he didn’t care. After all, there were much worse things to be involved in then flying model planes.

*****

Doyle leaned against the bathroom sink and stared into the recently hung mirror. It had been a long time since he had like the image that was reflected back at him.

But things had changed. . . he had changed, and the half demon decided that he didn’t half mind the guy he was looking at. . . and he certainly didn’t mind the dark haired teenager who suddenly came into view behind him.

Xander wrapped his arms around Doyle’s waist, and nuzzled the half demon’s throat. Doyle moved his head to give the teen better access and was rewarded with gentle swipes from a warm tongue.

“You okay?” Xander asked between licks.

Doyle smiled and leaned back into the boy’s firm chest. “Yeah, everything’s good.”

**********

Darkest Deeds
Summary: A new client comes to Angel Investigations
Date: May 24, 2000  

**********

It had looked upon thousands of beings that day, some human, some not, all inconsequential. There was only one living soul it was after. One mortal it would have the pleasure of devouring.

It watched as the pathetic creature left the metal conveyance, and hurried into a building. It circled, finally alighting on a nearby ledge.

It could wait.

*****

Cordelia impatiently tapped her fingers against her desk and once again tried to will Angel to hurry up. It had been five minutes since she had last ventured downstairs to tell her boss that there was an actual client waiting in the office. Five minutes, the vampire had yet to surface, and Cordelia was loathe to again descend into the apartment.

Not that the brunette had a problem with Angel, Xander, and Doyle’s relationship. . . she was just disgusted with it. The lovey looks, the soft touches, the sweetly romantic smiles. . . it was enough to make the former May queen want to drown herself in a vat of chocolate chip cookie dough.

After all, the dating prospects in L.A. were barren enough without Xander Harris swooping in and snatching up not one, but *two* eligible bachelors. But, Cordelia Chase was a big enough person to let that go. . . if they would just stop making with the kissy faces!

Speaking of kissy faces. . . Cordy once again studied the man sitting across from her. With short, curly blonde hair, cornflower blue eyes, and the poutiest mouth she had ever seen, this man was definitely of the yummy variety. . . of course, the fact that something had made him desperate enough to come knocking on *their* door seriously negated any physical attributes.

However, it paid to be polite - sometimes literally - and the secretary gave him the best fake smile she could muster. “I’m sure they’ll be up any minute now.”

The man shifted in the uncomfortable chair. “You’ve been saying that for a while now. Maybe I should just go.”

“No!” Cordelia’s eyes widened as her fingers dug into the desk. “No. You have to stay. We need. . .” She stopped short, realizing just in time that perhaps telling him about the severe lack of clients would be a bad way to start a professional relationship. “. . . to help you.” Thankfully the sound of the elevator stopped whatever else she was planning on saying.

The brunette smiled at the stranger as Angel stepped into the outer office.

“This is. . .” Cordy trailed off as she got a good look at her boss, specifically the soft rosy blush permeating his face. The girl violently shook her head against the thoughts trying to formulate there. She *really* didn’t need to know what would give a healthy flush to a dead man’s cheeks. “. . . Angel.”

The vampire raised an eyebrow at the halting introduction, and then turned his attention to the other man in the room. “Hello, Mr. . .” He extended his hand.

“Smythe. Mark Smythe.” He hesitantly shook Angel’s hand. “Please, just call me Mark.”

Angel nodded amiably. “Okay, Mark. Why don’t you come into my office and have a seat.” He led the way into the inner room. “My two associates will be up in a minute, and then maybe you can tell us why you need our help.”

Mark nervously chewed his lip and sank into an offered chair. A few moments later, Xander and Doyle tromped up the stairs. Cordy rolled her eyes at the matching glow the two men sported.

Angel suppressed a smirk. Playtime was officially over. . . for now anyway. The vampire cleared his throat and banished any lingering images of that afternoon’s activities. It was time for business. “All right, Mark, what seems to be the problem?”

The blonde mortal licked his lips, and fidgeted slightly. “Something's trying to kill me.”

“Some*thing*?” Doyle frowned. “Can ya be a bit more specific?”

Mark rubbed his eyes. “Look, I’m not crazy. Really.”

“We’re not suggesting you are.” Angel tried to placate him. “But, if we’re going to help you, we need to know what we’re up against.”

Mark glanced around at the intent faces. When he couldn’t discern any obvious contempt, the man took a deep breath, and let out the words he hadn’t even said aloud to himself. “It’s a big bird.”

“I guess it would be asking to much for it to be of the muppet variety, wouldn’t it?” Xander asked.

“You don’t believe me.” Mark let out a short bark of hollow laughter.

“No, no, we believe ya.” Doyle said quickly.

The blonde glanced at Xander. “But you. . .”

“Oh, just ignore him.” Cordelia said brightly. “We all do.”

Xander glared at his ex-girlfriend, then contritely turned back to the client. “Look, I don’t doubt that something really bad is after you. It’s just. . . we deal with a lot of weird stuff around here, and. . .”

“Makin unseemly attempts at humor is how he copes.” Doyle said with a shrug.

Angel pinched the bridge of his nose and wondered how his lovers could make him feel so young and vivacious one minute, and then somehow bring the entire weight of his two hundred and seventy some years crashing down on his head the next. “Why don’t you tell us more about this bird.” He suggested.

“Okay.” Mark nodded. “It. . . it’s after me. It keeps following me, and. . . I’ve been running for the past two days, different hotels, different parts of the city, it doesn't’ matter. This thing won’t leave me alone.” He looked sheepishly at the vampire. “I’d heard that you might be able to help.”

Angel leaned back into his chair. “You think it means you harm?”

“Well, Yeah!”

“That might not be the case.” All eyes turned to Xander, who flushed under the attention. “I-I mean. . . I’ve read that. . . that sometimes birds are omens, or portents. . . you know, a warning for something else.”

Doyle nodded. “He’s right, ya know. What makes ya so sure it’s out ta hurt ya?”

Mark looked at him solemnly. “Because it’s already killed my brother.”


**********


“Well, I must say, this is all rather exciting!” Wesley ignored the many glares that were sent his way.

One of the first things Angel had done after Mark had finished his rather gory tale, was to call the ex-Watcher, who had jumped at the chance to help. Shortly after that the vampire had ushered everyone down to the windowless, basement apartment. . . well, everyone except Cordelia, who had suddenly remembered that she was allergic to feathers.

So now, Xander, Doyle, and their brand new client - Mark, were gathered in the kitchen listening to the over exuberant Wesley. Angel, however, had escaped this particular torment by claiming that he needed to get some things together for that night’s excursion.

“Are you sure you can’t remember any more details?” Wesley asked.

“Uh. . .” The young blonde was a bit shell shocked at how quickly things had proceeded. “Like I said before, it’s about five feet tall, with these green and purple iridescent feathers. . . truthfully, it’s really beautiful.”

Wesley nodded wisely. “Yes, some of thet deadliest things are.” He rubbed his hands together in undisguised glee. “You know, I’ve heard stories about various bird creatures, but to actually go hunting for one. . . well, it’s all quite exhilarating, isn’t it?”

Doyle gave the British mortal a sour look. “Yeah, it’s a real kick.”

Mark cast a fearful look towards Wesley, then softly whispered to Xander. “Is he. . . all there?”

Xander patted the other man’s arm. “I’m gonna go check on Angel.” He announced to the group.

It was only after Xander had walked off that Mark realized his question had gone unanswered.

*****

Angel silently checked the various weapons that he would be carrying that night. The fact that the creature had already killed hadn’t surprised him, and although the vampire was quite sure that he could handle whatever it was, there was no harm in being adequately prepared.

Angel grimaced as he smelled Xander’s approach. Ever since Angel had announced that they should check out the first victim’s apartment he had been dreading this conversation. The vampire was fairly certain that Xander thought he was going, and correcting the boy’s assumptions was not something he was going to enjoy.

“Oohh,” Xander came to stand beside the vampire, and picked up a rather barbarous looking knife. “This looks like it might even be able to slice through Cordy’s cooking.” When Angel didn’t respond, the teen carefully set the blade back down onto the desk. “So, what do I get?”

Angel braced himself. “You get to stay here.”

“What?” Xander blinked.

“I need someone to stay here with Mark, and look through the books for a mention of this thing.”

“But, we don’t even know what it is.”

“I know, and Mark’s description was kind of vague, but there’s a chance you might find something.”

Xander sulked. “Why do I get stuck with the books, isn’t WatcherGuy better suited for that?”

“I’m hoping that we might find some kind of clue about this thing’s motives, and I’d like Wesley to be there if we do.”

“Okay, then why can’t Doyle babysit the client?”

“Because Doyle and I are the best suited for dealing with a supernatural threat.” Angel absently rubbed a bit of tarnish off one of his swords. “Look, we all have different strengths and weaknesses, and right now we have to play to those strengths and. . .”

“And, let the weaknesses thumb through books.” Xander finished bitterly.

Angel sighed. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it.” He resolutely shook his head. “No, you know what? I am not gonna get into this right now.” The vampire began cramming weapons into a large duffel bag. “If you really want to have this conversation, you can wait until after we get back.”

Xander silently seethed as he watched Angel heft the bag over his shoulder, and walk towards the kitchen.

“Mark, I want you and Xander to stay down here, don’t even go up into the office. We should be back soon. Doyle, Wesley, let’s go.” Without waiting for a response, the vampire stalked to the door.

*****

Mark nervously puttered around the apartment. After inspecting Angel’s eclectic art collection, and even more eclectic library, and checking his watch for what felt like the thousandth time since Angel and the others had left, he finally joined Xander in the kitchen.

“Have you found out what it is yet?” The man asked with a glance towards the thick open books on the table.

“No,.” Xander gave him a reassuring look. “But, I can almost, positively guarantee that when I do, it’ll have a really hard to pronounce name.”

“Oh. . . Okay.” The blonde apprehensively sat next to the teen. “Uh. . . what you said. . . before. . .”

Xander grimaced. “I’m really sorry about the muppet thing. It’s just that sometimes my mouth. . .”

“No. No, I meant. . . you said that you guys deal with a lot of strange stuff, and since I seem to be the only one here who’s particularly freaked at any of this. . .”

“Well, you have a pretty good reason to be freaked.”

“So do you!” He ran a shaky hand through his hair. “This thing isn’t supposed to be real. It isn’t supposed to exist.”

Xander calmly shut his book and turned his full attention to the distraught young man. “I’ve seen a lot of things that aren’t supposed to exist.” The teen decided to omit the fact that he was sleeping with two of them. “Look, I know you’re scared, and confused, and I can’t offer you any answers that aren’t glaringly obvious. . . but, I’m going to try and remedy that.” He stood up.

“W-where are you going?”

“To the office.”

“But, Angel told us to stay down here. It’s not safe upstairs.”

“Maybe not.” Xander conceded. “But these books are getting us nowhere. I’m gonna go check some places on the net.” He walked to the steps. “You stay down here, I’ll be back in a little while.”

Mark’s mouth set into a grim line as the teen bounded up the stairs.

*****

Doyle looked from the slip of paper in his hand up to the door in front of him. “This is it.”

Angel reached around the half demon, and tried the doorknob. He clandestinely looked around the nearly deserted hallway before sharply twisting and pushing in on the door. The lock gave way with a loud snap, and the three men gained entrance to Peter Smythe’s apartment.

Wesley simply couldn't help the “Oh dear.” that floated out of his mouth as he made his fourth illegal entrance since coming to Los Angeles. Even after a month of working above, around, under, and sometimes cattycorner to the law, the ex-Watcher still got a bit queasy over some of Angel’s. . . methods.

Angel and Doyle evidently shared none of Wesley’s lingering sense of propriety. They began to search the small apartment, and the mortal’s apprehensions faded completely when Angel asked him to look at something in the bedroom. As soon as Wesley walked through the door, his attention fixed on the murdered man’s nightstand.

“Jesus!” Doyle wrinkled his nose at the smells emanating from the small table. “What is all that stuff?”

Wesley crouched down and examined the alter’s contents. “It’s a recipe for vengeance.” He said gravely. “Evidently, Mr. Peter Smythe was not. . .” The ex-Watcher paused and peered closely at a vaguely familiar symbol that was etched into a small piece of sandstone. “Good Lord. . .”

Angel’s brow furrowed. “What’s wrong?”

Wesley stood up and began to herd the other two men towards the door. “We have to get back to the office. Now!”

“But, why. . .” Doyle asked in confusion.

“Because Xander is in incredible danger! Now Move!!”

*****

Xander frowned in concentration as he stared at the computer screen. The demon database had yielded no prospects so the teen was forced to resort to regular search engines. Now, after a few hits and misses, it seemed his quest had paid off. Xander didn’t know why anyone would spend their free time putting together a website devoted to mythological birds, but he was certainly going to send them a thank filled e-mail. . . if he found what he was looking for.

The teen scrolled down the page, carefully scanning the abridged descriptions of various winged creatures. His eyes widened as he got to a particular passage. With bated breath he clicked to receive the full details and a picture of the creature.

“Aha!” He grinned in triumph. “In your pointy face, Deadboy.” Xander gloated for a few seconds before leaning in to read the description. “The Hameh. The Hameh is a creature from Arabic mythology that springs from the. . . what? Wait a minute. . .” As he read further, a vile feeling formed in his stomach. “The creature’s sole purpose is to. . .” Xander contemplated the rest of the words with a dry mouth and a quickened heartbeat. There was only one response that seemed appropriate for what he had just learned. “Oh. Shit.”

Suddenly, a floorboard in Angel’s office creaked. Xander gasped and spun toward the sound, already knowing who he would find. . . and how much trouble he had just gotten into.


**********


Angel’s fingers tightened around the steering wheel as he deftly maneuvered through L.A. traffic. “Everything will be fine.” He absently wondered just who he was trying to assure. “There’s no way that thing can get into the apartment. Everything is fine.”

“If Xander stayed in tha apartment.” Doyle said derisively. “An we all know how much he *loves* following yer orders.”

“It wasn’t an order.” Angel growled. “It was. . . it was. . .”

“An order.” Doyle fumed. “One, which, knowing Xander, he probably disobeyed tha second we closed tha door.”

“Will the two of you shut your bloody mouths long enough for me to tell you what exactly we’re up against!!” Wesley roared from the back seat.

Angel and Doyle blinked at the outburst. “A big, evil, bird thing, right?” The half demon asked.

“No!” Wesley said irritably. “That’s not what Xander’s in danger from.”

Angel frowned. “What do you mean?”

The ex-Watcher responded tersely. “If I correctly interpreted what I saw in Peter Smythe’s apartment, then the creature we are dealing with is called a Hameh.” He rubbed his head. “I blame myself for not recognizing it before, but I’d never heard of one actually existing outside of an obscure. . .”

“*Wesley*!!” Angel’s eyes flashed gold. “Get on with it!”

“Right, sorry.” The Brit immediately refocused. “You see, the Hameh is a bird from Arabian mythology that originates from the blood of a murder victim. After it takes corporeal form, it’s mission, if you will, is to drink it’s fill of the *murder’s* blood. It won’t stop until it’s accomplished this.”

Doyle did not like where this was headed. “But, if this ting is after Mark. . . that means. . . “

*****

“H-hey, Mark.” Xander rose from his chair and began to slowly back away from the desk. “I thought you were gonna stay downstairs. It probably is safer down there.”

“It was definitely safer for you. . . or maybe not. You wouldn’t believe the kind of shit Angel has just laying around.” Mark walked further into the outer office and Xander got a good look at what was in his hand.

The teen’s throat constricted as he recognized the wickedly sharp blade that Wesley had brought over a few nights before. “Planning on doing ceremonial demon killing, are we?”

“I’m really not in the mood to play.” He smiled coldly at the teen. “Besides, your poker face sucks.”

“Okay, no games, I can do that.” Xander licked his lips. “You killed your brother.”

“Pretty much.” Mark nodded. “Yeah.” He cocked his head. “Want to know why?”

“Uh, cause you’re a bad guy?”

“Well, if you want to be all vague about it.” Mark frowned and looked at the computer screen. “But Pete wasn’t exactly squeaky either. I just can’t believe the hypocritical little prick did this to me!”

“I think I would feel a lot more sympathetic if you didn’t plan on killing me.” Xander noted.

Mark ignored the comment. “He knew. . . he knew exactly what he was doing, exactly what was gonna happen. I mean, look! It says it right there! This thing isn’t gonna stop til I’m dead. . .”

“And, I’m thinking that’s not such a bad thing anymore.” The teen began to slowly inch to his left.

Mark’s tone was glacial as he noted Xander’s movements. “You know that you’re never gonna make it out that door, right?”

“And, you’re not going to get away with this.” Xander shrugged, and shuffled a little more toward’s his goal. “Cliched, I know, but it’s also the God’s honest truth. You said it yourself, that thing that’s after you won’t stop until you’re dead, and if you add me to your body count. . . well, the Hameh is going to be the least of your problems.”

“What, you mean your little boyfriends?” Mark asked condescendingly. “Somehow, I don’t think I’m gonna be sweating over two half rate PIs.”

“Okay, first of all, they’re really good PIs, and secondly. . . Angel’s a vampire, Doyle’s a half demon,” Xander smirked. “Once they get through with you, even your own mother would have trouble separating you from a Rorschach blot.”

Mark chortled. “Wait, a *half* demon!? What, couldn’t afford the full scale model? Oh, and a *vampire* lover.” He wiped a tear of laughter from his eye. “Yeah, right. Tell it to Ann Rice, man.”

Xander didn’t say a word. He knew what needed to be done, and his conscious mind could aid him no further. With the ghosting remnants of a soldier’s training, the deeply buried instincts of a hyena, and the finely honed sense of survival that only living nineteen years on a Hellmouth could provide, Xander took action.

There was no time for doubt, or hesitation. . . there really wasn’t. . . because, what happened next, in reality, only took a few seconds.

The teen dove towards the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet. Mark’s eyes widened in surprise, before he rushed forward, dagger at the ready. Xander yanked open the bottom drawer and pulled out the loaded crossbow Angel had insisted on stashing there - Nothing like a few strategically placed weapons around the office, he had said, just in case. . . Just in case.

In less time then it took his heart to beat, Xander had aimed the weapon. His finger depressed the trigger, and a single bolt flew gracefully through the air. . .

Mark stared, dumbstruck, at the projectile sticking out of the middle of his chest. His nerves had yet to inform his brain of the burning pain, and part of is mind actually wondered why he was sinking to his knees. He would never fully comprehend what had happened. . . he wouldn’t have the chance.

Amidst flying glass, and with an unearthly wail born from the need for the ultimate kind of justice, the Hameh made it’s final entrance. The beast didn't even spare Xander a glance as it swiftly descended on it’s prey.

Xander quickly turned his head, and scurried into the corner. With his back against a wall, the boy drew his knees up to his chest and put his head down. He was too concerned with compressing himself into the smallest form possible to even notice the horrific sounds of flesh shredding. . . or to wonder what that warm, sticky substance spraying across him was. . . or to even realize when he began to softly whimper.


**********


Angel, Doyle, and Wesley practically charged into the underground apartment, sacrificing stealth for speed.

The vampire strained to pick up any heartbeats besides the two near him, but something else assaulted his senses first. “Oh God.”

“Angel. . .” Doyle’s pale blue eyes were frantic as he took in his lover’s slack features.

“Stay here.” Angel started toward the stairs.

Doyle moved to go with him. “But. . .”

“*Stay Here*!!” Angel growled.

Doyle recoiled from the fanged countenance. He had never seen Angel like this, and the possible cause of his savageness scared the life out of the young half demon.

Wesley placed a comforting hand on Doyle’s shaking shoulder, all the while trying to calm his own raging heart. The ex-Watcher wasn’t a fool, he knew what would agitate a vampire like that. Wesley closed his eyes, and sent a silent prayer out for the young man he had come to consider as a friend.

Angel slowly made his way up the stairs. At one point the stench almost brought him to his knees, but a faint glimmer of hope pushed him forward.

Tears sprang to the vampire’s eyes as he came out of the stairwell. The smell was so strong. . . but, under that there was something else, something that called out to the vampire, something stronger then the scent of fresh blood. . .

It was the steady thrum of a human heartbeat.

The vampire rushed into the outer office. He promptly ignored the shattered glass, and mutilated corpse, and instead focused on the one thing that he had been so afraid of loosing.

Unmindful of the gore, Angel knelt down and wrapped the trembling mortal into a tight embrace. He didn’t know if the Gods even thought of creatures like him, but as the vampire gently stroked Xander’s hair, he sent a thanks heavenward anyway.

*****

Angel crossed his arms over his chest as he surveyed the bloody mess that used to be his office. His face twinged uncontrollably, and not just from the proximity to a fresh carcass. The vampire stiffened as he heard someone come up the stairs, then relaxed as a familiar scent wafted over to him. “Is he okay?”

Doyle sighed. “He’s been better. Why don’t ya go down. . .”

“Not yet.” The vampire said tersely.

“Angel. . .”

“I said, not yet.”

Doyle sighed again. “He thinks yer angry wit him.”

“I’m not.”

“Well, yer acting like it.”

“I can’t. . . I just can’t look at him right now.” He ducked his head. “I need a little time.” The vampire’s next words so soft, Doyle strained to hear them. “I almost lost him.”

“No, Angel. *We* almost lost him.” Pale blue-green eyes flashed angrily. “Yer not alone in this cause I’m right there wit ya. Xander belongs ta me too, remember?”

Angel looked abashed. “Doyle, I. . . I’m sorry. . .”

The half demon nodded derisively. “I know, forget it.”

They stood in a troubled silence for a few moments, and guilt plucked at Angel’s consciousness. “It’s just. . . I want. . .”

“Ta take care of him.”

Angel nodded. “Exactly, and. . .”

“Keep him safe.”

“Right, and. . .”

“Keep him chained ta tha bed.”

Angel raised an eyebrow. “You think he’d actually let us do that?”

“I think, that we have a Democratic relationship.”

Angel smirked. “Two against one.”

“Ya catch on quick, bud.” Doyle’s eyes twinkled.

Suddenly Angel sobered and drew the half demon close to him. “Thank you.” He placed a gentle kiss on Doyle’s mouth, but the younger man pulled away before it could deepen.

“Now, now,” A beautiful flush had settled on Doyle’s cheeks. “There’ll be time fer that later. Right now we need ta get tha office taken care of.” He grimaced at the carnage. “Tha faster we get this cleaned up, tha faster we can. . .”

“Get downstairs, tie Xander to the bed, and ravage his body until we’re too exhausted to do anything other then moan in tired contentment?”

Doyle blinked at the vampire. “Well, I was gonna say tha faster we can call tha window repair guy, but. . . I think your idea’s better.”

Angel grinned and went in search of the mop.


**********

Affirmation
Summary: Happens immediately after “Darkest Deeds”. Xander’s in need of some reassurance from his lovers.
Date: July 3, 2000  
**********

Xander nervously paced around the apartment. Both Wes and Doyle had ordered him to rest, but the teen couldn't even sit still, let alone lay down. He was exhausted, yet energized. It was a paradox of feelings the teenager had experienced many times since meeting one Buffy Summers. . . however, this time there was worry added to the mix.

Strangely enough, it wasn’t over the life he had almost taken. Almost, because Xander was focusing on what had *technically* killed Mark Smythe. The Hameh, not the arrow the teen had fired, had ended the murder’s life, and that was a intermittent source of comfort. Of course Xander had decided to all together ignore the voice in his head that was demanding how he could have shot someone in the first place.

What concerned him the most had been the hard look in Angel's eyes. Xander had disobeyed him, and the vampire had not been pleased.

Doyle had more then made up for their lover's callousness, though. While Angel had opted to stay in the office, the half demon had taken the almost comatose Xander downstairs and flitted around like a mother hen. He had made his happiness at finding the mortal in one piece quiet obvious, but Angel. . .

They were both upstairs now, probably discussing what to do next. Several scenarios moved through the young man's mind, each one worse then the last.

Oh, Xander had known that he would mess up, like he always did. He just never imagined it would be over so soon. The vampire hadn’t even looked at him. . .

That was fine. That was just fine. Xander had lived without Angel’s touch, without his love, before. He could do it again. He could always go back to good old Sunnydale. Maybe Giles would put him up for a while. Oh, he and Buffy could commiserate on loving and losing a souled vampire. Wouldn't *that* be fun?

But going back to Sunnydale would mean leaving Doyle. . . if the half demon would even wanted to stay with him after this. After all, Doyle was Angel's messenger. A direct match up from The Powers That Be. Not even love could compare with a pairing sent from on high.

Xander resolutely shook his head. There was only one thing left for him to do if he wanted to try and salvage an iota of what they had here. He would beg. On his knees, if it was required. As far as he was concerned, his pride had done nothing but lead him into trouble, and then once there, bury him deeper then thought humanly possible.

Footsteps on the stairs sent his heart rate soaring. his palms started to sweat as his mouth went totally dry. Angel and Doyle came into view and the Xander’s mind blanked.

Angel's heightened senses had already picked up on the fear induced changes in the mortal's body. "What's wrong?"

"Ya need ta be resting." Doyle frowned, intent on steering the younger man back to bed.

Xander's gaze wavered back and forth between his two lovers. One face etched with deep lines of concern, the other painfully impassive. He blurted out the first words that entered his head. "I'm sorry!"

"Na need ta get all worked up about it," Doyle smiled gently. "Just go lay down til. . ."

"No." Xander spared a glance at the half demon, his heart breaking over the kindness he could feel radiating from him. Worried brown eyes darted back to Angel. "I'm sorry about... disobeying you." His head bowed. "I-I didn't mean to make you mad. Please. . . just don't send me away. . . just give me another chance."

Angel stood there in shocked silence, unsure exactly how to respond to this. He looked helplessly at the half demon who was glaring at him in undisguised displeasure.

Their conversation from upstairs ran through his mind, and Angel's eyes widened as he realized what Xander had wrongly inferred. Even though the vampire knew what was wrong he still had no idea of how to fix it.

Doyle slowly moved to Xander's side. He gently put his arms around the trembling mortal. "Hush now."

"B-but..."

"Xander." Angel's soft voice belied the tempest raging in his head. While trying to come to grasps with almost loosing the mortal he loved, the vampire had managed to push the young man further from him. And, in the process, get Doyle quite ticked at him as well. Feelings needed to be repaired, forthwith, and Angel hoped his touch could convey what he had no words for.

The vampire walked over to his lovers. A hand reached up and out to caress a soft human cheek. "Xander." He said again, reverently.

Doyle gently began to rub the stress tightened muscles of the teen’s shoulders. He already knew where this would lead. Not a seduction, but a reaffirmation of what had been dulled by outside conflicts. Xander’s needy psyche demanded it, and. . . perhaps, Angel’s did also.

Xander, for his part, was quiet perplexed about the whole thing. The look on Angel’s face was no where near the anger he had expected. Instead, the vampire wore something akin to wonder. His fingers were still tracing feather light patterns across the human’s face, occasionally pausing to linger on a full bottom lip, or a silken strip of lashes. He was weaving a spell, accentuated by the strong hands kneading Xander’s shoulders, and the occasional warm kiss pressed against the back of the mortal’s neck.

“Y-you’re. . . you’re not mad?” The teen asked hesitantly.

Angel shook his head, his fingers drifting upwards to brush through soft, dark hair. “Only at myself.” Xander’s frown of confusion urged him to continue. “All I wanted to do was protect you, and I ended up almost getting you killed.” The vampire’s eyes met with Doyle’s pale blues. “We almost lost you tonight.”

Doyle’s hands suddenly moved to Xander’s waist. They wrapped around, and clasped over the teen’s stomach, holding the younger body possessively close. Angel emulated the move, his arms encircling Xander’s neck.

Angel and Doyle clung to the human, and between them, Xander’s fears diminished. He relaxed into the strong arms around him, nuzzling into the vampire’s pale throat.

They loved him. It was as simple as that, really. No strings, or buts, or ramifications when he messed up. It was unconditional. Even though Xander had known this for quite some time, the teen had been reluctant to fully accept this unfamiliar type of affection.

But now, as intimately familiar hands began to strip him of his clothing, Xander finally accepted that no one was going anywhere. . . except to the bedroom.

*****

Thick sable lashes fluttered then slowly opened as Xander came out of an exhausted sleep. In the few weeks that he had been in L.A., Xander’s body had been licked, kissed, sucked, caressed, stroked, cuddled, and just all in all savored until the young man was left a shuddering, but very happy jello-like creature. However, none of that could even compare with what had happened in the early hours of that morning.

The teen vaguely wondered if this would happen after every near death experience. If his lovers would always chose to reaffirm his life by almost fucking him to death. Knowing his track record for getting into trouble, the mortal was fairly certain he wouldn’t be able to sit after a month or two. Still. . . it wouldn’t be *that* bad of an existence.

However, with Xander being Xander, not even the fondness he felt for the two men wrapped around him could override the demands suddenly put forth by his stomach. Slowly, so as not to disturb Angel or Doyle, the mortal disentangled himself from their grasp. After pulling on the first pair of boxers he came to, Xander softly padded into the kitchen.

Angel had done an excellent job of keeping his cabinets stocked, but evidently fighting evil had taken precedence over buying milk. With a sigh the teenager remembered the carton Cordelia had insisted on keeping in the mini-fridge. . . up in the office. Well, he’d have to go back up there sometime.

Xander was halfway up the stairs when a sound from above stopped him cold. Someone was already in the office. His heart thudded for a few moments before he realized it was probably either Cordelia or Wesley. Still, not wanting to show the help too much skin, Xander opted to go back to the apartment and finished getting dressed.

“Angel?”

Xander froze, again. It was a female’s voice, but definitely not Cordelia’s, and. . .

“Angel?”

And it was getting closer. Dammit, he knew he should have put on some pants.

**********

Did I forget To Mention. . .
Summary: Doyle’s past comes calling.
Date: July 6, 2000

**********

Xander practically flew down the stairs into the apartment. After a second of frantic searching he located his pants on top of a lamp. The teen pulled them on, grabbed a nearby shirt and was back on the stairs, all in under a minute.

He hadn't recognized the voice, but whoever it was knew Angel which could either be a good, a bad, or a very bad. Somewhere he dimly wondered if maybe he should let the vampire handle this himself, but the teenager was already through the stairwell door and into Angel’s office so rational thoughts would have to wait for another time.

Xander quietly walked to the outer office where he found an attractive woman standing in front of the boarded up window, just staring at it. His throat momentarily constricted as a memory of wings and blood flashed in front of his eyes. With an angry shake of his head, the teenager banished those thoughts. There were things in the here and now to deal with.

He cleared his throat, announcing his presence.

The woman turned towards him, startled. “Oh! Um, hi.” She studied him for a moment, as if trying to place is face. She gave him a small smile. “Is Angel around?”

“He’s. . . um, occupied right now. Is there something I could help you with?” Xander asked politely.

“Maybe. I hope so. I’m looking for someone who works here. . . or used to, at least. He goes by the name Doyle.”

“Oh. Well. . .” Xander paused for a moment. The woman looked nice enough, but he knew from personal experiences that appearances didn’t mean jack in this business. He figured that it would be a good idea to try and ascertain what she wanted before announcing Doyle’s presence downstairs. “What exactly is your business with him. . . if you don’t mind my asking?” He blushed a bit.

The woman pushed an errant curl out of her face. “I’m his wife.”

*****

Doyle slowly opened his eyes and blearily peered up at the ceiling of the bedroom. Oh yeah, waking up was a whole lot better minus the hangover, of course it still wasn’t one of his favorite activities. Nope, those had been performed earlier. The half demon couldn’t help the grin that stretched across his face. It was just. . . he was so happy.

He rolled over, fully intent on snuggling into a warm mortal body. . . that wasn’t there. Doyle’s mind bolted for consciousness. Xander wasn’t there. Normally that wouldn’t have fazed him at all. Normally, when the bathroom had beckoned, or the Siren call of Lucky Charms was too much for the teenager to resist, Doyle would simply wriggle his way across the sheets until he could snuggle with a cool, vampire body.

But, the last twenty four hours had been anything but normal, even for them. A wave of unfounded panic swept through the half demon. He abruptly sat up, but before he could throw the covers off himself and race around the underground apartment like a madman, a strong hand closed around his wrist.

“He’s upstairs.” Angel said softly.

“I knew that.” Doyle gave the older man a sheepish grin. He relaxed back onto the bed. “How long have ya been up?”

“Never really slept.”

“Damn vampire stamina.”

Angel chuckled and pulled the younger man close to him. “You weren’t complaining about that earlier.” He said, gently nuzzling Doyle’s cheek.

“Yeah, well, my mouth was kinda full at tha time, if ya remember?”

Angel chuckled again. It was such a pleasant sound, and Doyle found himself burrowing deeper into the normally unmoving chest.

The vampire held him tightly. “We should probably go ahead and get up.”

“Yeah, an check on Xander.” Doyle snickered softly. “There’s no telling what kind a trouble that boy may have gotten himself inta now.”

*****

The only trouble Xander was actually having at that moment was trying to form a coherent sentence. “You. . . he. . . uh. . .”

“Oh.” The woman lightly smacked her head. “I mean *ex*-wife. Sorry, it’s only been a few months. I’m still not exactly used to it.” Obviously ignorant of the young man’s distress, she smiled again and held out a hand. “I’m Harry.”

“Xander.” He automatically shook with her.

“So, do you know where Doyle is?” She nervously chewed her bottom lip. “I tried to call him, but the line’s been disconnected. And, when I went by his place the landlord said that he hadn’t been there for a few weeks. I’m just. . . I’m worried. I want to know if he’s. . .?”

“Downstairs. Doyle’s downstairs. He’s sleeping.” Xander’s mouth finally let his brain catch up. “We, uh, had a rough time with. . . uh, something.”

“I kinda figured.” Harry glanced back towards the boarded up window. “You guys must get a lot of rough times with *somethings*, huh?”

“They seem to be coming more and more often.” The teen muttered. “Let me just go down and get him.”

“Oh, no. Don’t wake him. I just wanted to make sure he was okay.”

Xander stared into Harry’s face, noting the honestly and inherent sweetness that practically oozed out of her. He tried to hate her. . . wanted to hate her, but. . . She had been worried about Doyle. How could he hate that?

“It’s all right.” Xander swallowed a sudden lump. “I’m sure he’d want to see you.”

*****

Angel had always been innately aware of the fact that, since his unlife began, he had been a walking contradiction. A devil with the name of a heavenly host. A demon with the soul of a penitent mortal. A vampire who loved mornings.

And he did. Loved them with a fiery passion that had Doyle routinely flinging various nightstand contents in his general direction whenever the vampire had the audacity to offer a chipper ‘Good Morning.’ After their fifth time waking up together it had been Xander, surprisingly enough, who’s common sense finally kicked in and suggested they stop placing heavy objects beside the bed. Angel had soundly kissed the mortal, then soundly kissed Doyle, then Doyle and Xander soundly kissed each other, and. . . it did end up being a pretty good morning. Of course, since Angel valued his undead carcass, he had thought that it would have been unwise to mention that to the half demon.

So, like every morning thereafter, Angel got out of bed, stretched, and amiably dodged the perfunctory pillow hurled at him. “Hey, I didn’t even say it yet!”

“I know.” Doyle let loose a massive yawn. “Thought I might as well get it over with, ya know?” He swung his legs over the side of the bed and taking a deep fortifying breath, stood up. “I think tha whole vampirism thing happened to tha wrong person.”

Angel frowned, and was about to launch into his ‘Don’t even joke about something like that’ phase, when Xander quietly stepped back into the bedroom. The vampire smiled until he registered the look on the youth’s face. “What’s wrong?”

Xander’s eyes focused on Doyle. “There’s someone here to see you.”

The half demon blanched slightly. Angel had helped him take care of most of his debts, but an unannounced visitor still made him a little antsy. “Uh. . . ya wouldn’t happened to have gotten the name of this person, would ya?”

“Yeah. Her name’s Harry. Don’t worry, I think you already know her.”

*****

Doyle slowly trudged up the stairs. It never failed, did it. As soon as he was content and settled in something resembling a productive, happy life, the other shoe dropped. Great big clunky shoes. Platforms even.

When Xander had said that a Harry was waiting in the upstairs office, Doyle had to think for a minute trying to place the name. Then it hit him, not just the 'oh yeah, my ex-wife' part, but also the fact she had most likely filled in the information he had neglected to tell the teen.

For an awful moment Doyle had just stood there, comprehension dawning on his face, and brain turning into goo at the prospect of figuring out what might be the best course of action to take.

'Oh right, my ex wife. I told ya about her, right? I didn't? Oops.'

No, somehow that didn't seem right. Instead he stood there, mouth gaping like a fish.

Perhaps Xander took pity on him, for there were no resentment, no ugly words, no fireworks. The teen simply said. "She's waiting for you. You'd better go on up."

So he had, and now he was pausing just inside the doorway that separated the two offices. Harry had her back to him, so he took a moment to study the one person he used to know best in this world. He took in her still longish softly curled hair, another of the flowing sundresses she was so fond of, and the wafting perfume of her favorite scent, which Doyle had introduced her to himself one Christmas. There was a pang of something there that he really didn't want to think too much about.

"Hey." his voice sounded scratchy, in fact without a shower or shave he just *felt* scratchy.

Harry turned and almost rushed towards him before she realized that was something they weren't supposed to do anymore. She sighed instead. "Francis, why is it that lately whenever I see you I'm torn between wanting to give you a giant hug and slapping you silly? I've tried calling you, going by your place. . . I've been worried."

"Yeah, I was meaning ta tell ya I'd moved." Doyle shrugged.

"Moved?" Just the tiniest bit of doubt in her voice.

"Yeah, moved. As in took my stuff an voluntarily left one residence ta occupy another, not as in was kicked out on my rear." Greenish eyes flashed defensively.

"I didn't come here to fight, Francis."

The soft pleading voice elicited another pang in the half demon, though this one was easily identifiable as guilt. "I know. I'm sorry. I guess I was just putting off telling ya about it cause of where I moved. See, I'm living with. . . I'm in a. . . what I mean ta say is. . ."

"You're involved with someone."

Doyle fidgeted. "More or less."

"More or less?" She arched one brow.

"Well, okay, more."

"Francis, what are you talking about?"

"It's more like I'm involved with. . . someone*s*."

"You're dating more then one person." Harry’s nose wrinkled in disproval. "Isn't that a bit sitcomish?"

"Only if we're talking about tha ones on Showtime." Doyle muttered. He took a fortifying breath and tried to think of the best way to explain his new relationship. Threesome sounded so tawdry, and Doyle just couldn't be tawdry around the woman he used to file joint tax returns with. "I'm in a three way relationship." There, he said it, let the air to surface missiles fall where they may.

Harry blinked at him, then blushed, then blinked again. "Oh my." She said finally. "I just. . . I never pictured you that way, and now I just have, and oh my."

Doyle winced.

She cleared her throat. "So, um, the women, are they. . . uh, nice?" What was the proper protocol for this?

"No." Doyle's cheeks burned slightly. He knew there was something he had forgotten to mention. "I mean, yes, they're nice, but they're not women."

Harry stared at him for a moment. "I'm just gonna sit down, if that's all right." She said, moving towards the couch.

Doyle sheepishly trailed after her. "This isn't exactly tha way I wanted ta tell ya."

"I can't imagine why not?" Harry glanced up at him. "So, who are. . . wait, you were sleeping downstairs!" Her eyes lit up with understanding. "Angel?! And, and, the guy that was up here before, what was his name?"

"Xander." Doyle offered.

"That was it! Those are your. . ."

"Lovers." He supplied.

"Oh my. Oh. . .my." Harry giggled. "Oh, Francis. . . you lucky dog."

Doyle’s eyes bugged out. "Excuse me?!"

"No, really. I'm impressed."

"You're..." Doyle blinked owlishly at her. "You're..."

"Begging for details?"

"GAH!!" He shook himself like a wet dog. "Stop that!"

"Sorry." Harry smiled unapologetically. "Couldn't help myself."

"Well, try an show a little restraint in tha future, would ya please. Yer freaking me out." He tried to look beyond her chuckling face. "But, yer okay with it?"

She cocked her head to the side. "Does it matter?"

He thought for a moment. There had been so many things he had done wrong over the past few years. It might have been nice to have Harry's validation, but. . . "Not really, no."

She stood up and gently cupped his face. "I haven't seen you this happy, this content, in a very long time. That is what matters to me." Her mouth twisted into a playful smirk. "Now, are you sure you won't give me a play by play. . ."

"Harry! I'm tha one who's supposed ta be the insensitive lout, remember?"

"But, your ears have turned the cutest shade of red. . ."

He rolled his eyes. "Yeah, an between you an Xander, my hair is probably going ta turn tha loveliest shade of gray."

She snorted. “He keeps you on your toes, huh? I think I'm gonna like this guy."

Doyle returned her easy smile. "Yeah, I think he'll like you too."

*****

Down in the apartment Angel kept one eye on the grilled cheese sandwich slowly melting in the skillet in front of him and the other on the slouched form at the kitchen table. The vampire was quite impressed with Xander's brooding skills. He was very talented for someone so young and in constant possession of his soul.

The teenager hadn’t said a word since Doyle had left, only nodding his approval at the idea of lunch, and Angel was content to wait and let the younger man talk when he was ready.

There were footsteps on the stairs and both men turned in time to see Doyle emerge into the apartment. The vampire noted the absence of any stressful lines, and was pleased to infer that at least one of that day’s impromptu confrontations had worked out okay.

“Harry still here?” Xander’s question briefly surprised the older men.

“Uh, no.” Doyle said. “She had an appointment, but she did invite us over fer dinner some night next week.”

Angel raised an eyebrow. “Us?”

“Yeah, tha three of us.”

“I think that’ll be nice.” Xander announced, flashing a quick smile.

Doyle felt a little more tension ease out of him. “Oh, almost forgot. Wesley’s upstairs already. He wanted ta know how you were doing.” The half demon found Xander’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “An, he also had found some new ancient manuscript he absolutely needs ya ta look at..” This last bit was directed at Angel who sighed, albeit, good humoredly.

“I supposed I should get to work.” The vampire leaned over, placed a plate in front of each of his lovers, gave the top of their heads a soft kiss, then headed for the elevator.

“Oh, and you might want to call Cordy.” Xander called out to the older man. “Tell her she can conveniently forget about her feather allergy again.”

Doyle waited until the gears shifted to life and the vampire was on his way before he attempted to try and explain his actions. “Xander. . .” Whatever he was going to say was lost as Doyle suddenly found himself with a lap full of very amorous teenager. A warm mouth descended on his own, and worked steadily, using lips and tongue to coax a shuddering response out of the young half demon. When Xander was finished with the possessive kiss he pulled back only far enough to comfortably look into beautiful bluish green eyes.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” There was no malice in the boy’s voice, only curiosity.

Doyle swallowed “Well, in all honesty I was kinda hoping it would never come up.” Doyle’s attempt at humor withered under Xander’s steady gaze. “Yeah, well. . . um. . .”

“Do you still love her?”

Doyle thought about it. “Yeah, I do. But, not like I love you, or Angel.”

“Oh, that’s comforting.” Xander said sarcastically.

“Do you still love Larry?”

“Doyle.” Xander’s voice held a warning.

“Do you?” The older man pushed.

“Yes.”

“The same way ya love me.”

“Why are you. . .”

“Answer me.”

“No.” The teenager’s voice was soft, and Doyle instinctively put his arms around the boy.

“But ya still love him. Ya always will. And that’s what I feel fer Harry. It’s a love that’s rooted in tha past. It has no future.”

Xander thought about this for a moment. “Then, why didn’t you want to tell me?”

“Because I never wanted ya ta find out. . . about me.” Doyle wondered if he could actually admit what he had done. He hadn’t had to with Angel. The vampire could accept the unsaid parts, but Xander. . . Xander would want to know everything. “Harry an I had some good times, but. . . there’s a lot a that part a my life that I’m not proud of.”

He took a deep breath and tried to steel himself against the onslaught of the past. “When I found out about my heritage, that I was half demon, I. . . I. . . well, lets just say I didn’t handle it very well.” Doyle let out a soft, humorless laugh. “Massive understatement. I was raised Catholic, Xander. I thought tha only place left fer me was Hell. So, I tried ta create my own here on Earth, and. . . and I sucked Harry right inta it.”

“I was angry an scared, an those two things do not make fer a good combination, an. . . I hurt her. Not physically, but words. . . sometimes they can cut sharper then any knife, you know?”

“Yeah. I do.” The teenager’s voice was soft and almost. . . haunted.

Doyle bowed his head. “I was not a very nice man, Xander. I did a lot of things I’m not proud of, but. . . I guess, when I started working here, I saw it as a second chance ta make something of my life. An, when you an Angel invited me ta share that bed, I saw that as a second chance at. . . ya know, love. I didn’t mind Angel knowing about my past, cause let’s face it, his moral high ground is on even shakier territory then mine. But, you. . . I didn’t want you ta know that about me.”

“Know what?” Xander gently lifted the older man’s head up. “That you’re human? We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, Doyle. And, believe me when I say you haven’t got the market cornered on being a jerk to people you love.”

The half demon blinked uncertainly. “So. . . we’re okay?”

“Yeah.” Xander grinned at him. “Of course we’re okay. The past is the past, and belive me, if I can accept Deadboy’s, I can accept yours. Although, next time we could try the whole open honesty thing without the surprise guest star.”

Doyle relaxed completely, the teasing light already back in his eyes. “Well, now that we’ve got part of my past squared away are there any skeletons you might be wanting to share?”

Xander thought for a moment. “Nope. Mummy girl and giant praying mantis lady, but no skeletons.”

Doyle snorted then sobered when he saw Xander’s face. “Yer not serious, are ya?”

The teenager smiled cryptically, returned to his own seat, then began eating his lunch.

“Yer not *serious* though, right?” Doyle asked again. “Xander?”

“Xander?!”

**********

Luck of the...

Summary: It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day at the Hyperion and the guys are trying to figure out a way to celebrate.

Date: March 8, 2001
Notes: Thank yous go to Charles for doing the beta thing, and Kay for reawakening my Doyle muse

*********

Doyle sighed. It was a long sigh. A loud sigh. A plaintive cry for someone, anyone, to save him from drowning in his own personal well of self pity. It was a sigh that would have made Angel proud. Unfortunately, however, a souled vampire was not the sigh’s intended target.

Pale blue-green eyes glanced at the young human reading on the couch, seemingly oblivious to his lover’s obviously woe filled distress.

Sigh

*Sigh*

*SIGH*

“Not gonna work.” Xander idly turned a page, his eyes never leaving the book in his lap.

“Xander...” Beseeching. Pleading.

“Nope.”

“Xander...” Imploring. Appealing.

“Nope.”

“*Xan*der...” Irritated. Irksome.

The young human snorted. “Oh yeah, get annoyed at me, that’ll really make me want to stay.”

“Well, I wouldn’t be getting so annoyed if ya weren’t acting so damn annoying, now would I?”

Now it was Xander’s turn to sigh. “The reason I’m being annoying is because you and Angel just can’t let this go. I made my decision, and it’s final.”

“No.”

“No?”

“You’re not leaving us, Xander.”

“Yes, I am.”

And, they were back to pleading. “But, but, we’ll be good. We promise.” Doyle vainly tried to resemble something at least in the neighborhood of angelic.

“You two promised you’d be good last year.” Xander said in an accusing tone, lest the half demon think he might have forgiven and forgotten the nearly year old indiscretion.

“We were good...” Doyle countered weakly.

“The two of you got drunk off your asses, decided real Irishmen didn’t need to wear clothes, and ended up on the roof singing ‘Danny Boy’... loudly... badly.”

“Um... No?”

“If you’d care to go to the tape I’m sure Cordy still has a video of the news footage.”

“Damn traffic ‘copter.” Doyle growled. The one time L.A. had to be without a high speed chase... “Trust me, nothing like *that* will happen this year.”

“Gee, that wouldn’t be because Kate said she’d, quote, ‘Happily throw away the key and let both your tone-deaf asses rot next time’, would it?”

Doyle blinked, hurt. “She actually said that?”

Xander rolled his eyes and went back to his book.

Doyle frowned and entertained having some not very nice thoughts about a blonde detective. But, those could wait, keeping Xander from leaving took priority. Unfortunately it seemed to be a losing battle. It was time to pull out the big guns. “I thought ya loved us.”

Xander closed his eyes. “I can’t believe you just stooped to that level.”

“Oh, trust me, I can go much lower.” Doyle said with a bright grin.

“Yes. Yes, you can.” Xander exasperatedly shook his head and place his book to the side. “I wish you guys would stop making such a big deal out of this. I mean, you’re acting like I’m abandoning the two of you for all eternity. I’m *only* going away for the weekend, and I’ll be back in L.A. bright and early Monday morning, just in time to make bail.”

“But, you don’ have ta leave at all!” Doyle withered a bit under Xander’s glare. “Okay, okay, so Angel an’ I do tend to get a bit carried away around March seventeenth, an’ I get that putting up with a drunk vampire an’ half demon is probably no picnic-”

“Probably?”

“All right,” Doyle acquiesced. “Me an’ Angel were damn lucky ya didn’t chuck us ta the wayside last year, but still, ya don’t have ta leave the city entirely, Xan. It’s not like after a few shots we’d track ya down, throw ya over Angel’s shoulder, an’ force ya ta come back home with us.” Oh, Doyle had no doubt that that would be exactly what they would do, but Xander didn’t need to know that... although, it seemed he already had clue.

The human snorted. “Riiight. Are all demons this possessive, or did I just get lucky?”

Ignoring the sarcasm, Doyle said, “No, an’, yes.”

Xander sighed again, somehow beating all of Doyle’s attempts by miles and miles of pure, unadulterated pitifulness. “I haven’t been to Sunnydale since Christmas. But, I guess, if you don’t want me to spend time with my friends...” His voice trailed off as his eyes grew big, and round, and moist with unshed tears for the friendships his lovers were obviously insisting he abandon.

“Oh, fer the love a... Stop that!” Doyle shifted uncomfortably. He had gone up against that face before, and though he knew it was pure acting, and a bit overblown at that, the sight of such raw heartache plastered on a totally guileless face was enough to make the half demon itch to suggest Xander go ahead and spend the rest of the week with his old friends. Doyle scowled. He had gone up against a master of emotional manipulation, and lost... and they both knew it. “Ya know we’re not gonna forbid ya going off ta see your friends.” He grumbled.

In an instant Xander’s face had changed from that of a little boy who had just been told that his puppy had been run over and then kicked repeatedly by the offending motorist, to the satisfied look of a man who had just gotten his way... again. Who knew the technique he had perfected as a child, in order to snag extra cookies from the various mothers in his playgroup, would be so reliably effective on the men he shared his bed with. Xander slyly smiled. “So, that means you’re okay with me heading down to Sunnydale this weekend?”

Doyle pursed his lips. “It’s not-”

“Are you okay with it?”

“Ya know that I-”

“Are you okay with it?”

“Xan-”

“*Are* you okay with it?”

Doyle had recognized the tactic and realized too late that countless verbal sparring matches with a certain evil lawyer had rubbed off on Xander in a not very pleasant way... at least not pleasant for whoever he might be arguing with. “*Yes*.” He ground out.

“Good.” Xander grinned as he rose from the couch and closed the distance between them. The mortal dropped to his knees, and placed one hand on the back of Doyle’s neck, drawing his lover in for a kiss. “Now, was that so painful?”

“No.” Doyle admitted, licking his lips. “But, it will be.”

*****

“You Said You Were Okay With Him Going Away?!” Angel had decided to forgo his normal growl and go straight into a bellow.

Doyle grimaced. “Well, I didn’t have a choice, did I? He did tha face, you know, with tha eye thing. And, then, tha way he asked tha question... What was I supposed ta say?”

“I don’t know. Um.... how about... NO!”

“Oh yeah, easy for you ta say, you’ve had over a century’s practice being tha bad guy. Did I not mention he did tha eye thing?”

Angel’s ire began to dissipate. He knew from experience how difficult it was to stand firm against Xander’s kicked puppy face. The sigh that came out of him far surpassed both Doyle and Xander’s meager angsting abilities. “We’re grown demons. It’s against all laws of nature for a human walk all over us.”

Doyle snorted. “Ya wanna tell Xander that?”

“No.” The vampire suppressed a shudder at the thought.

“So... what’re we gonna do?”

Angel glared at the half-demon. “*You’ve* already done enough. *I* am going to talk to him.”

Doyle watched as the vampire stalked out the door. “Oh, yeah, that should turn things around completely.”

*****

“Oh, no.” Xander buried his face in his hands.

“That’s nice. Really. I love it when people do that when I enter a room.” Angel walked over to the kitchen table, and commandeered an unoccupied chair. His gaze firmly fixed on the young human.

Xander raised his head. “Don’t even try it.”

“Try what?” Angel asked innocently.

“You know damn well what!” The human exclaimed exasperatedly. “Look, I get it, really. Every year, you, Doyle, and millions of other people in this country go through this weird kind of bonding ritual involving wearing green and drinking lots and lots of malt beverages. That’s what this holiday is all about, right?”

Angel frowned. “No. There’s a deep religious significance to St. Patrick’s Day. I mean, would you say Easter is only about a magical bunny rabbit that hides colored eggs and brings candy?”

“Yes. Why? What else is Easter about?”

Now it was Angel’s turn to drop his head to his hands. “Nothing. Nevermind.”

Xander shrugged. “Okay. Anyway, like I was saying, I understand why you and Doyle want to get a little rowdy and alcoholic... I just don’t want to watch it.”

Angel’s eyes closed as a wave of understanding hit him. “Your paren-”

“And, I don’t want to get into it, either.”

The vampire recognized the warning tone in the human’s voice. He nodded. “Okay.”

“Good.” Xander leaned back in his chair. “So, it’s settled then. I’m gonna spend the weekend in Sunnydale.”

“No, you’re not.”

“Deadboy!” Xander threw up his hands. “I... Wait. *Wait*. I know what this is all about.”

“Uh... you do?”

“Oh, my God. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe you two are still harping on that.”

“I don’t harp.” Angel said defensively. “But... if I did, what, what exactly do you think I would be harping about?”

Xander rolled his eyes. “You *so* harp. In fact, you’re doing it right now over what you and Doyle *think* happened at Christmas. For the last time, Riley’s friend was not coming on to me!”

“I don’t harp... And, he was too.”

“And all he did was compliment me on the technique I used to beat a demon to death.”

“That’s called flirting, Xander.”

“Maybe to someone who’s former nickname involves the words ‘scourge’, ‘of’, and the name of a country.”

“Actually, it was the name of a continent.”

“Whatever! I’m just glad that our relationship has bred such a complete and total lack of trust.”

“I trust you. It’s ex-Marines with designs on one of my lovers I don’t trust. And, by the way, you’re wrong. That’s not the reason we didn’t want you to go back to Sunnydale alone. Though, now that you’ve brought it up-”

“Angel. So, I truly don’t get it. What’s the deal?”

“Well... we had kind of hoped to avoid a specific... I mean, you’re just so sensitive about it...”

“Sensitive?” Xander’s brow furrowed. “What would I... I Am Not A Demon Magnet!!!”

“Xander-”

“I’m not!”

“Xander-”

“*I’m* *not*!”

“I know you’re not... except, well, you are.”

“You know, those Pantoteenic eggs would have hatched regardless of whether or not I was in the vicinity. And, Cordy completely exaggerated that incident at Bloomingdale’s. I mean, there were *only* two poltergeists. And, as for what happened at that Laker game... well, okay, Kobe Bryant being a demon was a bit of a shock, although, Gunn did say that in retrospect it kind of made sense. But-”

“Xan. Xan, you’re right, all of those things, and the many others, would have happened anyway. It’s just...” Angel trailed off weakly. He knew Xander hated to be reminded of the strange talent he possessed when it came to attracting demonic trouble.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m just irresistible.” Xander muttered darkly. “How come me going off alone has never bothered you guys before.”

“Well, because you’ve stayed close, but Sunnydale... If anything happened it would take three hours to get to you. Three hours.”

“You know, it’s not like I’m gonna be spending all my time walking through graveyards saying ‘here vampy, vampy, vampy’. Angel, I’m gonna be almost perpetually surrounded by a warlock, a slayer, two witches, an ex-demon, two ex-Marines, a werewolf, and a wannabe white hat vampire. I’m gonna have a lot of people looking out for me.”

Angel knew that, logically, his young mortal was right, but that didn’t stop a soft, “But you won’t have us.” from coming out of his mouth.

Xander tilted his head and narrowed his eyes, trying to discern if Angel was putting him on. But, there wasn’t a hint of insincerity in his voice. Angel wasn’t trying to play him, he was truly worried about what might happen in their absence. The mortal sighed, trying to cover a smile. “Tell you what, I’ll stay in L.A... on two conditions.”

“Anything.”

Xander resisted the urge to rub his hands together in Machiavellian glee. “You and Doyle forgo the naked roof singing this year.”

Out of all of Xander’s ‘powers’ none gave him more enjoyment then the ability to make a vampire blush. Angel cleared his throat. “Done.”

“Good.” Xander grinned. “Now, for the second one...”

*****

“Remind me why we’re doing this again?” Angel softly growled.

Doyle sighed. “’Cause we love him. An’, some idiot didn’t think ta put any conditions on tha conditions.”

“How was I supposed to know he’d come up with-”

“Because he’s Xander.”

“That’s true.”

“Um, guys.” Xander calmly addressed the two men laid out in front of him. “When you talk, you twitch. You’re gonna make the lines all crooked.”

“What a pity.” Angel said wryly.

Xander snidely smiled at the back of his lovers heads. “Oh, it’s okay. I can just wipe it off and start *all* *over* *again*.”

Doyle softly elbowed the vampire. “Shutting up, now.”

Xander shook his head and grinned. He was still occasionally amazed by the amount of love these two men had for him. And, it was certainly love, because nothing else could have gotten Angel and Doyle into that particular position.

Xander’s grin became slightly feral as he studied his handiwork. One more letter and he would be done. Just in time, too. He was almost out of icing. He picked up the decorating bag, and put green tinted frosting to canvas.

“There! I’m done!”

“Oh, thank God.” Doyle started to move. “Can we get up now?”

“No!” Xander said quickly. “Wait just another second.”

Doyle settled back down on the bed amidst more grumbling from Angel. They waited the allotted second. Then another. Then another. Then, there was sudden click accompanied by a soft whirring sound.

Angel closed his eyes. “I told you we shouldn’t have gotten him that instant camera.”

“Xander,” Doyle almost sounded like he was in pain. “Tell me ya didn’t just-”

“What? I wanted to capture the moment. You know... posteriors for posterity.”

“That’s it!” Angel sputtered. “We’re getting up!”

“Not Yet!” Xander placed a restraining hand on the small of the vampire’s back.

Doyle buried his face in his pillow, and let out a muffled, “Now what?!”

“Now,” Xander propped the photo against the headboard, making sure both his lovers could see it clearly. “I’m going to follow the directions.”

Slow smiles drifted over the demons’ faces as they read the message that had been scrawled across their buttcheeks.

Kiss me. I’m Irish.

**********

the end


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