The Hardcore And The Gentle
by Jennifer-Oksana

I've always kept my friends close.

Maybe friend isn't the word. My people. Those who belong to me, who need to be protected, who I protect. More than that. Less than that.

Wesley is mine.

He doesn't want to be, but I know him. I know that he's never completely let himself go, never completely believed himself lost in the world without recourse because he knew that I wouldn't let that happen. He still remembers the promises he made me, the claims that he was my faithful servant.

I don't need a servant. What I need is for Wesley to remember what we owe each other, and what we owe the world. And that's not stubborn resistance to family and bonds that go deeper than that. He understands this, unlike Connor, who is young and unsure of what he wants to give to the world, or Cordelia, who isn't quite sure what she is, let alone who. Wesley's resisting--not the mission, not at all--but he's decided that we're not worthy of the mission and he's rubbing that in our face with every fly-by-night visit, with every conspicuous refusal to give us an inch.

This is why I've decided to pay Mr. Pryce a little visit. I don't want to have to turn to violence, but if he irritates me just a little more, we're going to have to try tough love. We can't be divided like this anymore, because that'll get us all killed, and you can't atone if you're dead.

Speaking of divided, it would seem that the estrangement between Wes and Lilah has been rapproached--she's wailing fit to beat the band, though if it weren't for vampire talents, I wouldn't be able to hear her at all. Smart of Wes to pay for soundproofing, because the housing board certainly wouldn't approve of the noise.

"Oh--OH--fuck me--fuck--harder, Wes, fuck me harder, come on give it to me, oh GOD, OH god--oh, baby, god god god GOD--"

Hmm. I have to wonder if Darla had any idea--though that's not a polite or even appetizing thing to think. I suspect it was probably Dru who wanted Lilah to live anyways, who got a taste of well-moisturized evil lawyer. Dru's always been what Freud called polymorphously perverse, and Lilah's not only wicked, she reacts in exactly the way you want her to when you threaten her. Dru would like that, the touch of soft skin, the smell of fear, and the taste of corrupt blood over half-aroused, half-terrified breathing.

But I'm not here to ask Miss Morgan who decided to let her leave the wine cellar alive or why. I'm here to have a long discussion with Wesley about the job we have to do, and to persuade him to come home by whatever means necessary. I've lost Connor and I've lost Cordelia, and I can't force them back. I won't lose Wes--because I know that he wants to come back.

And because he belongs to me, not to her.

What all of this boils down to is that it's time to discover if Wesley has revoked my invitation or if I'm going to have to get truly unpleasant at the start of things.

I rather fortunately discover that I don't have to kick the door down. The handle's come a little loose, and I just finish the job. Someone forgot the deadbolt and the revoked invitation tonight, and so it's simple to just walk in. All of which is very sloppy of Wesley.

I do remember to latch the deadbolt. It might be a little easier for the neighbors to hear the show tonight and what I don't need is outside interference.

It appears that they haven't heard me, which means I'm going to walk in on something rather embarrassing for all parties involved. I close my eyes, quietly count to ten to center myself, and remind myself why this is necessary.

We need each other. And Wesley doesn't need her in his life. I know why he wants her; with Darla barely a year dead, I'm hardly one to judge why he's spent the summer in Lilah's arms. But it's only a distraction, a cry for help, and what sort of a hero doesn't listen when a good friend is crying out for help?

"Oh, what I'm going to do to you," someone purrs and I open my eyes. If I don't go now, it's not going to happen tonight. I walk into the bedroom and stop.

Not bad. I'd been expecting something a little kinkier, but I'm actually grateful it's relatively tame tonight. Wesley is staring at me like I'm the devil, but I expected that. What I didn't expect was--well, did I? I've been sure I was willing to bring Wesley back by any means necessary, but does that really involve--this?

"I knew I heard something," Lilah drawls suddenly. She, true to form, looks remarkably relaxed for a nude woman with a pair of leather restraints in her hands and the clear intent to use them. If there's anything I've come to expect, it's that Lilah has a smart remark for every situation. "You didn't disinvite him from your apartment? Gee, that was smart. Did you want him to burst in like this?"

"Yes, because in my heart of hearts, I've always wanted Angel to join us in the middle of you telling me that you're going to tie me to the bed and fuck me raw," Wesley says sardonically. "Do get out, Angel. Whatever it is can wait."

I don't move. Because it can't wait, and it won't wait, but I have to reconsider my approach given my own unexpected interest in what's going on. I didn't expect to find myself anything other than slightly annoyed at Wesley and Lilah's bedroom antics, and now I have to decide how to do this without utterly insulting Wesley.

Lilah has apparently already made her decision. She's moving slowly, deliberately--and giving me a long look at what exactly she's got under the designer suits. And I've suffered so many disappointments lately, or maybe it's true that there's always been a hint of sexual tension in our battles, but Lilah definitely isn't displeasing to the eye, particularly when she looks like she wants to play.

"Be nice, Wes," she murmurs with a half-smile on her very wet and swollen lips, and I'm suddenly seized with the desire to lick it off her face. I try to shake myself out of it as she gets out of the bed and saunters toward me, those dark feline eyes of hers twinkling like the night sky. "It's not every day you get dumped for your hellspawn."

That's enough to sting me out of bemusement, though I'm not about to let her know that. I just keep watching her make a spectacle of herself with the half-slither and faux sexy grin, noticing that Wesley is trying to cover himself up.

"Lilah," Wes warns her. "I'm not going to protect you if you taunt him like that."

She pauses long enough to throw him a contemptuous look over her shoulder, making sure I get a view of the damage wrought by their pre-show, red marks and maybe a hickey or two.

"I can take care of myself," she replies. "Angel talks big, but I don't know if he's going to do much more than a little idle taunting. I guess it relieves tension when you're unable to--well, you know."

Either she's really goddamn naive or she wants me to hurt her. I can't tell. I don't read Lilah as well as I read Wes. But she's within arm's reach--and before she can try another damn thing, I have Lilah by the hips, pulling her up against me so she can tell I'm not pleased.

I suppose this would be more effective if I wasn't a little aroused by the proceedings.

I run a finger up that lovely long neck of hers and she turns to liquid. I like her scared. I definitely like her scared, playing that fine line between fear and lust--and yes, she's got a fine body. I'll give her that. She definitely knows how to take care of herself, but she's not the player she thinks she is. Lilah is rocking her hips into mine as I squeeze her throat in another classic move from our set of games. It's only the slightest motion, but it confirms what I've always suspected about a breathplay fetish.

Dru would have liked that, too. I'm starting to understand Dru's feelings on the subject.

"You know, you've owed me for a couple of years now," I growl, rubbing my cheek against hers possessively, watching Wesley flinch as if he's not sure whether to protest or not. "And you know what's even better than taunting as a tension reliever?"

"What?" she asks, walking into her own trap.

"Snapping your neck."

Maybe Lilah's even better at the game than I thought. At the offer, she goes completely slack in my arms and moans as if I've offered to screw her senseless, and that's what finally gets the reaction from Wesley.

I make a quick decision.

"Dear God," he snarls at both of us. "That's quite enough. You're not going to kill my lover while I lie here and approve, Angel."

I suppose I'm not, at that. But while I'm here, I'm definitely going to get her out from under his skin--and from mine. I look down and smile at Lilah, letting the part of me that's always wanted to throw her against a desk take charge.

"Mmm," Lilah says, looking up at me with girlish delight. "He's such a stick in the mud when his prissy is up, isn't he?"

"I thought you were working on that," I say, lifting her just high enough to bite her earlobe and keep her immobilized. "Isn't it your self-ordained duty to screw the prissy out of the boy so he'll work for you?"

Lust has always been an attractive scent on a woman, and one of the benefits to heightened senses. Fascinated, wicked desire on Lilah is enough to force me to admit to myself that half of the reason I want her away from Wes and the rest of my people is because she makes Angelus dance through my head, whispering stories of whips and chains and just how good she'd feel under my body, how sweet the blood would taste as she kicked and screamed under whips and chains.

Though now I'm starting to think if I do it just right, she'll hold her breath in more than anticipation first.

"I do my best," she answers, trying to wriggle away from me and failing. "Wes is stubborn. But you know how he hasn't actually moved yet?"

"I've noticed that," I say, letting the hand that had been on her throat stray to her breast and squeeze greedily. "Do you think he's touching himself?"

"That wouldn't be proper," she says, sliding up my body to steal a kiss, her lips hot and sweet as I let go of her breast and twine my fingers into her hair, deepening the kiss until I can taste the back of her throat. Her hips pump against mine, and for the first time, her fingers are moving, delicately skittering toward my fly. "So fuck yes."

Wes makes this groaning noise in the back of his throat and that's when I let go of Lilah, who's panting hard, the tip of her tongue flickering in and out from between her lips. I push her hands away from my crotch.

"Not just yet, sweetheart," I say, licking my lips. "I think that we need to do the thing where we chain Wesley to the bed."


Her eyes sparkle. "I don't know who you are, and how you manage to look just like Angel, but I like you," she says, rolling her shoulders back just a little so I can watch how her breasts rise and fall.

"For the record, I do NOT approve of this," Wesley protests, belatedly taking his hand off his cock. I exchange a glance with Lilah, who rolls her eyes and hides her smile. She cares for him. If she weren't so devoted to the dark side, I'd say she had a shot at letting that change her, but Lilah is as stubborn and determined as Wes and I are. "Not one infinitesimal--"

"Shut up, Wes," she says airily, practically leaping onto the bed. I guess this might be on Lilah Morgan's list of things to do before she ends up dead. I'm not entirely sure I blame her, not with the way Wesley's eyelids are fluttering open and closed with intoxication as she swoops down (vulture) and covers her mouth with his, straddling him with utter abandon, daring me to watch her make her claim.

Except I'm not here to watch.

I pull her off him by the scruff of her neck. She yelps.


"You're not the boss tonight, darlin'," I say, letting a hint of the old brogue peek into my voice. "What I say goes, and I say he's mine. Always has been. My faithful servant, y'know."

There. That should be enough to snap Wesley out of complacency.

Lilah, on the other hand, lets herself go slack again, the curve of breast, waist, hip a sinuous line that flows onto the mattress next to Wes without even the least bit of resistance.

"Didn't know he was yours," she says, running her tongue over her lower lip.

"I'm not," Wesley protests angrily. "This is really getting quite--God!"

She bites him, a little love snap against his scar.

"Shh," she says, rubbing her cheek against his chest. "You want to do this, Wes. I can tell."


"Shhh," she says, caressing him idly. "Relax. Me and Angel, we're going to take care of you. You might be walking funny for a couple of days, but--" she snickers. "You still owe me for a few incidents this summer."

I don't want to know.

Wesley's breathing slows down, turns into ragged pants, and the sound is warm and enthralling. As his eyes flicker down to Lilah, who is curled around him like a very content cat, and back up to me, I watch a slow glint of desire start to burn.

He wants this. I don't know why, either. But he wants this badly.


"You're going to be fine, Wes," I assure him, climbing into bed and leaning in close. He's warmer than she was, and the last bit of distaste at the idea (which may end up being a very bad idea if my intent is to bring him home later) is melting into his spine, turning soft and inviting. "See? We're all friends here."

"We are?" Lilah asks cattily.

"Tonight we are," I say, giving her a disapproving look. "Or are you saying you'd prefer we weren't?"

"Sorry," she murmurs, blowing me a kiss. "Force of habit. You're pretty fucking sexy when you're pissed off. Maybe that's why I like to keep you that way."

I smile at her. "Later," I say. "We still have Wesley here, and he needs--you know what he needs?"

"To get fucked good and proper," she says, walking her fingers up his arm to raise gooseflesh. Wesley must be ready to kill us both. The frustration is coming off him in waves.

"I do believe," I say, my mouth inches from Wesley's. "I do believe you're right."

My lips brush against his and.

Electricity. Dynamic tension.

What words are there when you're suddenly hard as a rock and sucking your comrade-in-arms/faithful servant/recalcitrant friend's tongue into your mouth with gusto?

I can't stop moving, trying to fit my body against his, a revelation of sex and resentment and wish fulfillment between us just with the first kiss. I've always wanted him (have I?), and he's always wanted to be me, and the touch of human skin, human skin that wants to be touched by my hands is--it's maddening. Delicious.

I need more.

The arm not currently being occupied by Lilah is awkwardly trying to pull my head in at a better angle, and his hips are bucking off the last of those duplicitous covers.

I need more. I want Wesley to give me everything; not just his body, but the body he's been jealously using all summer. I want to see if it's another Darla situation or if there's something else that's holding him back from wanting me to touch Lilah. And I can tell he doesn't want me to touch her. Every time I even look her way, he does something to bring my attention back to him.

I need more. I need more of Wesley.

Wesley tastes good. Harder than I would have imagined, like scotch and soda, Lilah on the tip of his tongue, copper and iron beneath, and something harshly astringent (mouthwash?) beneath that. His tongue is worming its way through my mouth, testing every nook and cranny for secrets or fillings, and I keep trying to touch as much of him as I can grasp.

"fuck. me," Lilah whimpers, her free hand rubbing against her nipple fitfully. Her eyes are as wide as a pair of dinner-plates, dripping unrepressed lust.

He turns his head from me to look at her. And I get it. It's not that he's using her to get away from the mission at all. He cares for her. He wants someone to want him, and she does. And she's the only thing that's been all his, something separate from the world of the mission where we give up so much.

How could he resist?

"We will," he promises hoarsely, looking back at me. "Won't we, Angel?"

"Of course," I say, leaning over to kiss her on the forehead. "All in good time."

Lilah leans up just far enough to lick my ear and then sinks back down with a 'carry on' look on her face, kissing Wes' shoulder affectionately as I turn back to his body, nudging his legs open with a thigh.

Wesley has been far too quiet through this whole exchange.

"What's wrong?" I ask, leaning in for another kiss.

"Nothing," he lies, tracing my face with graceful fingers and slowly, ever so slowly undoing the buttons, as Lilah keeps her eyes on us, one hand stroking her skin from neck to breast to belly to just above her clit. The other is holding her head up as she watches my clothes disappear in short order. "It's simply--I really rather hate to be teased--"

He would at that. I can't afford to tease, so it's time to take care of that. I wrap my hand around Wesley's cock and give it a good rough jerk, in keeping with the tone and timbre of the entire encounter. He almost spasms right there, the needy bastard, and I grin and lick my lips. If things weren't so serious, this could be a lot of fun.

What? I'm neither saint nor eunuch, and he reeks of wanton desire.

"And teased and teased and teased," Lilah parrots, getting on her knees and slipping around my body, making sure she rubs up against me and licks her way across my back, taking an extra moment to trace the tattoo with her tongue while I continue to stroke Wesley's cock, watching how he really flushes from belly to scar and on up to his eyes. Before I get a word in, she's got her ass wiggling in the air, looking under the bed.

The unpleasant image of Fred, bound and gagged under the bed, makes its way through my brain. Lilah tends toward the excessive when she's annoyed and there's the matter of Justine to consider about Wes--

"Found 'em," she says, holding up two silk scarves, a feather, lube, and condoms. Resourceful lady, thinking ahead. "I think Wes hid the whip."

"You don't bloody know how to use it," Wes growls, arching his hips up needily toward me. "You'd think after all your play at being Mistress of Evil, you'd know how to handle a basic riding crop."

She blushes and narrows her eyes. "I'm sorry that I wasn't raised at mythical rich English boy's school, okay?" she snaps. "What with the lessons in cock-sucking and use of riding whips, I'm surprised you even remember the Latin and Greek."

That image causes me to involuntarily slow down, the idea of Wesley sucking cock, the way his head would look moving up and down, the look in his eyes--those big, pretty eyes--and Lilah, ever the opportunist, takes the pause to slip in next to me and kiss Wesley hard, half lifting his head in her hands.

They both momentarily get distracted in each other again, Wesley devouring her lips, chin, jaw, and neck before she moves away again, kissing her way down his neck and to his shoulder before moving over to me, all the way up my arm in a long, sloppy line.

"Angel," she whispers into my ear, her breath and hair tickling sensitive skin. "I know that you're in charge tonight, but I think our boy has made it very clear what he needs."

She doesn't know. If she knew what he wants, she'd stop playing, because Lilah might actually win, if she's smart. But instead, she tugs my earlobe into her mouth and sucks--and it's too much. My hand comes to a pause, pulling a slight moan from Wesley.

"What's that?" I ask, moving a hand up and down those lovely, heated curves.

"We promised to tie him up," she offers with a grin, burying her hand in my hair and kissing down my jaw. "I think we should stop waiting and do it."

She's good. It's the kind of suggestion that even St. Francis wouldn't be able to resist. It goes straight to my cock. Before I can even form a thought, I rock backwards and pull Lilah into my lap, covering her face with harsh, toothy kisses. She slams against me and I'm hyper-aware that Wes has gotten into the game, moving behind her possessively and putting his arms around her waist, making sure to reach up and fondle a breast.

"I think that's--" I say, listening to her gasp as Wesley stops fondling and instead slips a hand between her legs as best he can-- "A very--" my own hands are on her breasts, rolling the nipple between grasping fingers -- "Good--" and she arches her back, wailing to our Lord God and all his holy saints as Wesley starts rubbing her clit roughly-- "Idea."

She wails her delight, not even bothering to form words. Or maybe they've all been erased--she's got the look of someone who can't remember her name, and this is just a first and hopefully minor orgasm--but when she comes down she sinks backward into Wesley's waiting arms, flushed and sweet-hot smelling and mewling kittenishly.

"Best idea ever," she says weakly, looking at me with fevered eyes that still contain a hint of defiance. "Well?"

"You two are on top of the restraints," I point out.

"This is true," Lilah says. "Get up, Wes. Your turn for fun."

"I'll move when you move," he says, tickling her. After fifteen seconds, she squeals and pulls away, which allows Wesley to find and hand me the restraints. "That wasn't so hard, was it?"

"You cheated," she accuses, arms crossed against her chest.

"Might have," he agrees, looking at me with something that might be trust, or might be need, or maybe something else, in his eyes. It looks like trust. It smells like need. I pounce on it, taking his wrists in my hand and putting the restraints on. Gently.

It's all looking very dicey tonight, and even though the game-playing, almost-demon side of myself is cheering, I don't want to hurt him.

He looks very good bound.

I can't screw this up. Do it wrong and he's lost forever.

The leather and the smell of his skin are almost enough to make me forget about anything except enjoying myself.


I attach the restraint to the bed and Wesley glares back at me, his clearly aching cock arching toward his stomach and his legs rather pointedly together.

"Be good," Lilah says, tracing patterns on the top of his thigh. "We could always blindfold you. Let you imagine what sorts of unspeakable things we're gonna do to you."

She kisses his cheek and looks at me expectantly. Help me, she telegraphs with a lifted eyebrow. I shake myself out of the reverie and join her, wearing away Wesley's sudden displeasure of being tied up and unable to touch.

I understand. There's something about losing the tactile, of being subject to other lips caressing the skin on your chest and not being able to move those lips to needier places that's infuriating, a slow burn that works like an itch.

"Tell me what you want," I say, trying to kiss the displeasure from his lips. "What do you want me to do to you?"

His tongue forces its way into my mouth and we're dancing for dominance, my weight atop his and Lilah seemingly content to watch for a moment before she slides a boneless foot up the back of my leg, cold enough to make me buckle even before she finds a sweet spot where my ass meets my thigh. I groan into Wesley's mouth at that.

"What I want," he says hoarsely as I pull away from his mouth, just far enough so he can't reach and so I can stare into his eyes. "Isn't that the point of the cuffs? I want whatever you choose to do to me. Fuck me hard until we're both soaking wet. Suck me off. Touch me until I'm begging you both to let me touch myself. Make the choice, Angel."

Fuck. What sort of an offer is that to a man who Wes has to know is barely keeping control of himself in this incredibly twisted scenario? To give me all the power. Fuck. He has to know.

I can't. I shouldn't. I can't.

But of course I can. There's always just enough monster in me to do the impossible. I move away from him, lifting a hopefully clean foot and sucking two toes into my mouth while my fingers trace the arch of his flesh and bone. Wesley's hips buck and I give Lilah a look. She shrugs.

"Not a mind reader," she points out bemusedly. "Not in charge. Remember?"

(we'll get her for that later. Later, later, beautiful later, where we can use gags and give spankings.)

I set Wesley's foot and calf on my shoulder and glower at her. "Don't be obtuse, darlin'," I say, knowing what I want to see now as I slowly warm up for the actual show. Every bit of resistance is only fodder for the demon. The gentlest act is turning into sheer abjection for the both of them and I can't give in. But I have to go somewhere. "I want to watch him fuck that pretty mouth of yours."

(this will all end in tears, but the way she lithely takes him deep in her mouth, dark hair moving up and down and up and Wesley with her, it's gratifying. Humans. Always wanting someone to take charge of them. And she does it at an awkward angle and without complaint. Nice.)


Wesley's legs come open as she continues to bob, forcing Lilah to climb atop one thigh awkwardly--good thing the bed's king-sized--as I move between those open, needy legs, choosing to focus on the other leg with mouth and hand.

"Good girl," I say, looking at the feather with disgust. Bourgeois kink. If I'm going to play to my own baser nature, it's not going to be with feathers and scented oils. Nothing so mundane. "Faster."

She does exactly what I say. I slip away a moment, looking for the belt I left on my pants (which I suppose is mundane as well, but there's an actual pain aspect to this. And unlike the pliant Mistress Morgan, I know how to wield it.)

"Angel, what are you doing?" Wesley asks, sounding suspicious.

"Trust me," I say, sinking deeper into this. I can't help it. I don't want to help it. The belt's good leather. Some lessons you don't forget, and Darla taught me that it's always advisable to have a quality leather belt on hand at all time, soft, well-oiled Italian leather--the kind Americans don't appreciate.

"Not bloody likely," Wesley says.

The metal end of the belt is still cold, and I decide to test Wesley's reflexes by dragging it down his inner thigh, lightly scraping the skin.

"Fuck!" Wesley howls. "Angel--for God's sake--"

"What's wrong, Wes?" I ask. Butter wouldn't melt in my mouth (too cold), and I notice Lilah has managed a sidewise glance. "Cold?"

"Bastard," he says, licking his lower lip unconsciously. "I didn't expect--"

"It's not your job to expect," I say harshly, snapping the belt leather sharply. "You've given me all the choices. Fine. Don't expect, Wes. When I said trust me, it wasn't a request. It was an order."

His breath hisses as he inhales, but before he can manage another round of "let's annoy the vampire," I give him a nice flick with the belt. The sound of the leather hitting bare skin is very nice, as is the resultant motion of his hips off the bed.

Someone likes the naughty.

"And you," I snap at Lilah. "You need to stop with the fucking teasing. Give him what he wants before I--"

(and what would I do? The mood in the room tilts between self-loathing and absolute surrender every second.)

Lilah lifts her head and swings her hair back to sneer at me. "Says the biggest fucking tease of all time," she parries, stroking Wes idly while she gets in a few more reasons to be punished.

"I'm not teasing tonight," I say darkly, rubbing against the red mark on Wesley's thigh. "You want to stay and play, don't you? I could sit you in that chair over there, tie your ankles and wrists down so you couldn't move, and fuck Wesley into submission. Imagine that. How he'd moan. The way he and I'd look, fucking hard and forgetting you're even there. Him calling my name. And you wouldn't even be able to touch yourself."

Her eyes widen and I know--I know the way I know Wesley wants me to hit him again, the way I know he's not as angry as he pretends, the way I know he needs to come back home to us--I've got her attention. And I know that the idea of being forgotten scares the hell out of her.

"Jesus, Angel," Wesley moans.

"What do you want me to do?" she whispers, one hand unconsciously stroking her neck.

"Exactly what I tell you to do," I say, almost tenderly. "And if you disobey again, you sit in that chair until I decide otherwise."

"Yes," she says, trembling.

"Hands behind your back, girl," I say.

"Yes," she agrees, even though I know she doesn't like to suck cock like that. Who would? (But especially her. It's all about control for Lilah, and she hasn't quite realized that when Wesley gave me all the choices for him, he gave me all of hers, too.)

"Get him off," I say. "I want to see."

(We're doomed, we're cursed, but I'll be damned if I don't see a good show before it ends.)

It's not quite a surprise when I realize that Lilah knows how to obey; I know who she works for. To use a slightly outdated metaphor, Wolfram and Hart might let 'em run long, but they've still got their employees fitted out with bits. She takes him deep and ignores her gag reflex with admirable abandon.

"Good," I say. "And how are you doing?"

"It could be worse," Wes replies. "Going to hit me again?"

"Only if I feel like it," I say, keeping an eye on Lilah. "She doing it right?"

"Fuck, yes," Wes says. "I can, you know, do all of this without your special brand of intimidation and heavy-handed morality."

"You know what your problem is, Wes?" I asked, noticing that despite the snark, he was breathing harder and straining against the restraints. She was doing it right. "That you can do all this blaming when you're supposed to be enjoying yourself. I think--"

(I think this is a ridiculous conversation to have in the middle of a heated sexual encounter. I think that I've made a mistake, but it would be a bigger one to back down now. In for a penny, in for a pound. I think that you need to shut up.)

"I think you should shut up," I say softly, running the belt up and down his thigh again. "Shut up and enjoy it, Wes. Unless you want to be the one tied to the chair watching the fun."

"Not bloody--" he lifts his hips again before they slam back into the mattress. "Not likely--"

I can hear her humming something under her breath. Good girl. Let's shut the injured voice in Wesley's head up. It's ruining his fun.

"No?" I ask, raising the belt and cracking it against his thigh again. I don't raise the tone of my voice, or get the least bit angry. "Sometimes I don't get you, Wes. You say you want me to make the choices, but I think that's only so you can tell me how bad they are."

He's close now, gasping and glowering and generally looking like the bonniest angry boy that ever learned that pouting would get kisses and not cuffs. (Wonder where he learned that from? Wes, Wes, Wes. I make too many mistakes. And you don't need to prove anything. Not to me. I knew what sort of man you were when you opened that vein.)

"You don't want me to make your choices," I say gently, petting the angry red marks. He's so easy to hurt. Too many scars. "And you don't need a father, and I don't need a son."

He's straining now, one tense arc from hip to wrist, and Lilah's having a hell of a time controlling his movement. One of her hot little hands reaches out to steady them both.

"What the fuck do you know?" he puffs.

"More than some," I say cryptically, leaning down to kiss his thigh and lick the marks. "Not everything."

I'm a sucker for heat, for the rush of blood in veins just under the skin. It must be why I keep kissing. It's not because I know how metallic-tangy-sweet he tastes, how easy his blood goes down.

(I won't bite him. Can't, shouldn't, won't. He doesn't want me to.)

I can feel him slowly giving in. Can't resist forever, as much as he's trying. He's only human and he's getting overstimulated.

"I'm going to--I'm--" and he's almost apologetic about it. I find a particularly delicious patch of skin and muscle and blood and I suck, hard enough to leave a mark. "God!"

"God indeed," Lilah says, sitting up with a sigh and undoing Wesley's restraints. She's shaking her head, looking vaguely disappointed. "All that preshow and then nothing but--well. Suffice to say, you two can make anything a fun that's not."

Wesley smiles, a real and wicked smile that baffles me. "And who says that wasn't fun?" he asks, tracing her collarbone with a finger. "Angel and I had some issues that needed discussing without that wicked tongue of yours making trouble."

He offers her a finger and she bites down on it, a pout coming over that lovely, spoiled face of hers. Then he looks at me, and there's a challenging leer on his face, one that revitalizes all that frustrated sexual desire I thought I was going to have to swallow. So to speak.

Fuck. He sure as hell doesn't need a father, does he? He managed to get exactly what he wanted all while getting a blowjob and a bit of a whipping in the bargain. Wesley may not be the dominant male, but he's gained quite a talent in exploiting all of the powerful, dangerous forces around him to his advantage.

"Not bad," I say softly. "I hadn't quite realized how good you'd gotten, Wes."

"I've worked to become so," he says. "Homicidal vampires to the left of me, grasping vengeful lawyers to the right of me, and if I was to survive, I had to know how to play with both."

Wesley pulls his finger away from Lilah and slowly traces her skin, chin to neck to bellybutton before pulling her into his lap for a rough kiss.

"You owe me, Wes," she says petulantly between kisses. Wesley smiles again and looks at me, a genuine invitation in his eyes. "How many times do I have to apologize? I'm a wicked woman. Didn't we already know that? What do you want from me? Hands and knees? Self-flagellation?"

"I want to see you come completely undone," he says tenderly, looking at me guardedly. "I want to take that precious control away from you until you're begging and screaming me not to stop."

She catches him looking at me and immediately tenses. "No, Wes."

"I think what you're looking for is, 'yes, Wes,'" he corrects her. "Don't you trust me? Didn't you say you wanted to?"

Her jaw drops. Even I have to pause. Wesley is a cruel and relentless son of a bitch when he wants to be. He knows--he must know--that she followed him to Fred's conference, and what sort of private humiliation that had to have been to watch him leap to Fred's defense, knowing that Fred doesn't want him and she does. Badly.

"Wes." It takes me a moment to realize I'm the one who spoke. They're both looking at me, and I agreed to this, I'm the guy who thought he knew it all, and I'm not sure I can go any further in this little game.

Then I catch the triumphant little flicker in her eye. She thinks I'm going to walk out and she'll have him all to herself. Never count Lilah out, even when she's squirming in Wesley's arms like a lovesick little girl. Like the lady says, bad, bad woman.

It's definitely time to make the idle threats less idle.

"Yes, Angel?" Wesley asks.

"Where did you hide the whip?" I ask, enjoying the look of horror on Lilah's face. "It's been a while, but I think--"

"Forget the whip," Wesley says, holding Lilah's wrists in a firm grip with one hand while she tries to slither away. "There are so many other ways to settle all of these unpaid debts."

With his free hand, he tickles her side and she squeals, not quite with delight. I'd forgotten the little incident earlier, but it all comes racing back to me--Lilah's ticklish. Very ticklish. And sensitive skin is such a delight to play with, too. Drusilla had shown me how easy it was to leave a person a wailing, quivering mess without using more than teeth and bare hands.

"You. Are. Such. A. Bastard," Lilah gasps as he puts her wrists into the restraints. "Wes!"

"Say yes," he growls, leaning in close to her and nuzzling her with nose and chin. "Lilah. Please."

"Yes," she suddenly moans. He kisses her, stealing the breath from her mouth, his hand stroking her stomach as it rises and falls.

"Good," he finally says, pulling away from her and looking at me with a come-hither glint in his eye. I pounce on him, feeling strangely playful as he falls back and the mattress gives a plaintive squeak. I ignore it and nip at the corner of his mouth, his cheek, his chin, earlobe, nose, skimming the scar as I rub my erection into his hips and belly. "Ahhh, Angel--erm--"

"Don't worry," I say with a vicious grin. "A little anticipation never killed anyone--did it, darlin'?"


She bares her teeth at me with a throaty little noise and twists against the cuffs strenuously.

"See?" I whisper, taking a moment to squeeze his nipple. He gasps and I hope that we haven't completely lost the lube. Because I surely do want to fuck him hard. "She's not even begging yet."

The wicked sparkle in his face matches mine as he slowly rubs the head of my cock with his thumb, his other hand reaching around and grabbing my ass.

"True," he says with a throaty little chuckle as I grind against him hungrily. "And she did disobey earlier, using her hand. Removing the cuffs without permission, too."

"I'd forgotten," I say, lapping at his throat.

"I hadn't," he replies, circling my cock with his hand and giving it a squeeze.


"Good things come to those who wait," he says cheerfully, stroking me with a teasing rhythm and moving his hips up and down in a counterpoint. "For example, Angel wants to flip me over and fuck me hard, but he's being polite. You might learn a little something."

Lilah and I both moan at that.

"I can wait," I tell him, looking at the frustrated creature fighting her restraints. "You wouldn't want Lilah to hurt herself, would you?"

"Going for sainthood?" she asks.

"Not really," I say, disentangling myself from Wesley and blowing on her stomach. She shrieks. "See? A world of fun to be had."

"Indeed," Wesley says bemusedly before sliding his hands over her skin, collarbone to breast, tickling the outer curve indifferently while she squeaks indignantly. "You're terribly forgiving."

"I don't know," I reply, tracing a spiral from her bellybutton outward. "It's not like this is--" I drop a kiss on her shoulder, which must be starting to ache by now-- "Unappealing."

No, it's certainly not unappealing, I think, watching as the frustration on her face ratchets up a notch and Wes starts nibbling at select patches of skin. Hollow of the neck. The space between her breasts. My finger as it crosses the path of his questing mouth. The swell of her hip. Meanwhile, I unattach the restraints from the headboard. Too much tension to put on human muscles, I think, and besides--

"Oh," she whimpers as I snuggle in behind her so we're both sitting up and Wes is continuing his path down her body, ignoring how wet she clearly is in favor of a dimple on her knee. "Oh."

I lift her hair to one side and begin nuzzling the back of her neck.

"I want you to hold your breath when you get close," I whisper into her skin, tickling her cheek with two fingers. "Do you think you can do that for me?"

She keens again, a low sob of sweet fearful assent, pushing her shoulders into me.

"It makes you crazy, doesn't it?" I continue on conversationally, noticing that Wes is listening, even as he pauses to rub her insole. "I could squeeze your throat and you'd beg for more."

"Oh, God," she hisses, starting to thrash. I keep petting her cheek, getting closer to her neck with every touch. "Fucking hell--"

My lips brush against her earlobe and Wesley starts licking up those long white thighs, content to tease a little while longer.

"Don't stop, don't don't don't," she gasps as I find her pulse and let my hand rest there, the other settling her more firmly into my lap so she can rub herself against me.

"Are you scared?" I ask, letting my hand brush across her larynx.

"Yeah," she admits, grinding against me rough. "Do you like that?"

In response, I reach down and push her left breast up, half-crushing it between my fingers. Lilah wails and I notice that Wesley has gotten very interested in patches of skin about a quarter of an inch from her actual pussy.

"You're doin' well," I reply, my other hand on her other breast, squeezing them both relentlessly.

"Ohhh, fuck me," she moans. "Wes--God--"


"Please, Wes," she says, squirming against me. "Please."

"Spread your legs a little further and lift your knees," he orders.

For a split second, I feel her tense up, and then she obeys. Poor bird, it's all about control for her, even when she's in the middle of a pair of boyos enjoying giving her a good time. She's afraid that giving away that control, and even more afraid that someone will realize she's afraid.

I start tickling her skin as Wes finally puts his mouth where she wants it and she just howls.

"Ohgodogodohgodohgod," she sobs noisily, rolling back and forth. "I--ohgodgod--GOD!--Wes--fucking a--"

She's slowly combusting mess, this one, and I start to kiss along her hairline, tasting the warmth and sweat and lust. It's all so pretty. So very very pretty.

"When you come again," I say into her shoulder. "You know what I want."

"mm-hmm," she says. I smile and place an open mouthed kiss on her shoulder blade, which earns me a shiver and a sound that's as cock-hardening as the site of Wesley's head buried in her pussy--the hiss of a sharp inhale as Lilah starts holding her breath.

Things get quieter, less human, and I can feel everything starting to vibrate on a string. The only real sound are the two heartbeats pounding bass, the soft ticklish snap and hum of Wesley as he licks and nibbles, and the harsh, quick sounds every thirty or forty seconds when Lilah inhales like she's snorting a line of cocaine. Each time she inhales, her muscles tighten a little more, like a puppet on a string.

It's a telegraph line of desire: Wesley's mouth, Lilah's body, my cock. I'm not going to be able to hold back much longer.

And then she exhales, choking out a scream as orgasm and oxygen hit her brain at the same second and she's gone from as tense as wire to absolutely boneless in three seconds flat. I'm not sure if she whites out or not, but it's a good minute before soul and body are completely joined again.

"Wow wow wow," she manages to say, sounding ten years younger and twenty years more innocent than I've ever heard her. "Oh, fucking, wow."

"Feel better?" Wesley asks, snuggling up next to him and everyone's nice and satiated. Except for me.

"I think I'm okay," she says with a shaky laugh. "That was--"

"Arousing," I say very quietly, easing her into Wesley's arms. He takes off the utterly useless restraints and rubs her wrists. "Wouldn't you say so, Wes?"

"I would," he says, off my smile. "I think I know what you want."

"I want any number of things," I say, leaning in for a kiss, which I promptly receive. "But before that, I think I'd better retrieve those useful things that fell off the bed while Lilah found God."

"Mmm-hmm," Lilah says with a dazed smile. "God says I need more of that all of the time."

Wesley laughs, setting her down on the bed and nuzzling against her. "From God's mouth to yours, huh?"

"Well, he does like to watch," she points out, grinning wickedly at me.

"Indeed he does," I say, pulling Wes into my arms for a quick mussing. "And so do you, I see."

"This isn't fair," Lilah sighs, settling into the pillows. "I'm so tired I don't think I can do more than watch or try the occasional kiss. So not fair."

"Oh," Wesley says, taking a moment to lick his way down her stomach as his thumb rubs against her clit, all while I get supplies, my cock straining against my belly. "I know."

But, oh, then, he turns back to me (she sobs her displeasure) and very obligingly lifts his hips while I push a pillow underneath him. He's not quite hard yet, but I don't think he minds as I slick him up with the lube, paying attention to the way his body moves and curves.

I spread him just enough and start with a finger inside of him. He moans and I'm ready, more than ready, to just take him. I've been so kind, so slow, and so damned considerate of mortal weakness.

"Angel--" and it's an invocation, it's an invitation, and I take it, removing my hand, spreading him just a bit further, and burying myself in him as deep as I can.

Has it really been so long? Not since Darla (a hundred wasted nights dreaming Cordelia, but close only counts in horseshoes and I wasn't even close), and longer since I've watched a man moan my name as I pounded into him as his long fingers reach for my ass, trying to pull me in deeper.

Lilah is whimpering, biting her lip in frustration or maybe jealousy. She's going to have bruises, blood pooling underneath the skin and such pretty discoloration.


If I had realized I could have this. Would I have done things differently?

"Harder," he murmurs, leaning up for a kiss. The little voices in my head stop talking and after a brutal kiss, I fuck him as hard as I can, the friction building to fever pitch as I see what I can do to the warm thing whimpering and moaning and rocking underneath me.

Turns out, it's what he does to me.

"Angel," he says, reaching up to touch my face with near-innocent curiosity.

"Mine," I reply, and yes. Fucking yes. Mine and yes and yes and mine and mine and yes, yes, yes, GOD, yes.

Fucking, fucking yes.

After a moment, I collapse into him and he winces just a little. I'm not sure I can move, and there is the lovely sound of his heart beating and his lungs inflating and he is so very warm--

"Angel," Wesley says gently. "Get off me."

I blink. "Huh?"

"I've got things to take care of," he says, tilting my head to the right. Lilah smiles and waves an ironical little wave. "And while I rather enjoyed that, I have promises to keep and--"

He smiles. "And?" I ask.

"While you are rather charming," he says, easing himself out from under me and moving back to her, "It's simply not the same anymore. Things are different."

Wesley kisses Lilah's breast, right over her heart, and he's got her entire attention. He looks up at me, and I get the point. Time for me to go. Conversations on recruitment and trust to be continued some other time.

"That was mean of you," she says sleepily. "All the Angels and the moaning and the ignoring me. You're a bastard."

He might come back to me, but he's not mine. Not the way I thought he was. These are all things that are clear with the way he moves, the way he does and doesn't look at me. It's not simple, and maybe it never was.

"I know," he says, continuing to kiss and pet her skin, taking it slowly but surely. "I'll make it better."

He's promising both of us. It's enough to get me off the bed.

"How?" she asks. "I'm tired, Wes. You can't just kiss me until it's good again."

"Trust me." I need to go now, as the promises get more private and I am rather pointedly not wanted. I am slowly going now. Except I'm still here.


"Because I want you to," he says, kissing her collarbone, up her neck, while I try to get dressed as fast as I can while keeping an eye on the situation. "I want to make it better and the only way that can happen is if you trust me."

It's not going to be simple, but at least now, I have a chance, where I didn't before.

"Wes--" she murmurs. "I--"

My fingers are on the deadbolt. He'll make it better. I just have to trust Wesley, and I know I can. Because he's mine. And not mine.

"I know," he says. "You don't have to say it."

I close the door behind me and try not to hear them as I go.


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