Date Night 2 -- Angel

Angel had, in his own estimation, done an absolutely admirable job of not being a hyperactive dork all day. Not that, in his own estimation, he was *ever* a hyperactive dork, but other people whose names rhymed with Spordelia had offered other opinions, when he'd not-bounced down the stairs and not-bounced into the office today. Vampires, after all, did not bounce. Except maybe Spike, when you threw him off a second story railing.

Despite his inner non-dork-ness, Angel had tried to curb his... whatever wasn't bouncing... so that nobody who knew it was *his* date-night tonight, would snicker at him to his face; behind his back, he'd long since given up on. Now that the clock was inching towards 'Time to head upstairs and slip into the tux and pretend you aren't watching over your shoulder in the mirror at Wes putting his on, even though it's kind of obvious, since you can't *see* yourself in the mirror' it was getting a bit harder. The part he'd been trying to ignore, but which was proving more and more difficult to do, was the fact that *Wesley* seemed unaware that tonight was Angel's date night.

He hadn't said a word about it all day, hadn't met Angel's gaze from across the room and communicated his awareness that tonight was Angel's night. He hadn't seemed at all eager, or bouncy, or hyper -- even if Wesley almost never got hyper. Not like Cordelia seemed to think Angel got. Certainly nothing like the way Spike or Xander got, which was the epitome of hyper, in Angel's opinion and therefore probably not a good comparison. But even for Wesley, he wasn't hyper, and Angel was beginning to wonder if he had the days mixed up.

Fretting over it did manage to distract him for five minutes, though, and it was now legitimately almost time to actually go upstairs and get ready. He checked the calendar again. Yep. Friday night. One week after the *last* date night, just like they'd agreed. Unless somebody who might soon be a dead human and an undead undead person had changed the calendar page, of course. He couldn't ask anybody if the calendar was right, though, without looking like an idiot.

Angel counted, very quietly, on his fingers. Saturday, long leisurely lie-in, followed by wandering down to breakfast to find Spike had eaten all the English Muffins. Sunday, the guy with the possessed car had come in. Monday, bill-paying. Tuesday, zombie goldfish in the park, and Spike complaining that he didn't have enough prospective adoptive parents lined up for Gomer's soon-to-hatch fry. Angel remembered that day clearly -- his voice had been hoarse for hours from shouting "NO! I told you, No!"

Wednesday, West Wing night. Thursday, last night, he'd let Wes convince him to try double-fudge ripple ice cream at quarter to midnight, and dreamed about chasing Spike down the hall with an axe, only Spike was wearing a large yellow duck-suit, and dropping coupons for Morrie's Video Rental and Sex Emporium behind him as he ran. Yep. Definitely Friday.

Which meant it was date night. Which meant it was 'Angel gets to dress up in a tux and take Wesley-dressed-up-in-a-tux out of the hotel where Gunn can't rip anything off Wesley' night. Gunn had already asked, a few days ago, if they could plan to get ready a few hours early, so Gun could tear Wes' shirt off. Since then, whenever Gunn looked like he was going to ask again, Angel growled at him. Angel knew Gunn didn't really mind, because he'd taken to hitting Angel with whatever he had in his hand at the time. Cordelia had taken to calling them Spike and Xander, but Angel didn't care because -- it was time to go upstairs!

He whirled around, trying for casual, and looked at Wesley. Wesley was bent over the desk, writing something, and saying something that sounded an awful lot like work-related stuff to Spike. Angel scowled and cleared his throat.

Wes turned around. "Yes?"

What was he supposed to say? 'It's time to go upstairs and change clothes now or we're going to be late?' That would make him look like a hyper-active dork, right? Wait -- that *was* a perfectly reasonable thing to say -- he'd let Cordy make him paranoid, on top of everything else. "It's time to go upstairs and change clothes now," he said, very, very casually. "If you want to get a decent parking spot at the opera house."

Wesley raised an eyebrow. "*I* am driving?"

"Er, no," Angel stammered quickly. "I am, but--" He narrowed his eyes. "You remembered. You knew all along, and you've been...."

"Waiting to see if you exploded from the wait?" Wesley grinned, and it made him look like a boy.

Angel didn't let it distract him. Too much. He enjoyed the sight for a moment, maybe two, before he pouted.

"I'm sorry," Wesley said, not sounding at all sorry. But then his voice grew serious as he said, "It's just...been nice, seeing you act so excited merely at going out with me for the evening."

"I'm not excited,' Angel was about to protest. He was perfectly calm and relaxed and... He took one look at Wesley's face, and realized that his lover thought hyper-active dorks were pretty danged neat. Why else would Wes put up with him in the first place? "If you don't hurry, *I* won't be able to get a decent parking spot," he said, instead. "And then I'd have to carry you to the opera house, just so you don't miss the opening solo."

Wesley was trying to control another wide grin. "How exactly is that bad, again?" he asked in a thoughtful tone.

"Because then *everyone* will know you're dating a dork?" Cordelia suggested.

Spike scoffed. "Like they can't tell just by looking?"

"Spike, don't make me ruin my date by slaying you. Wait, what am I saying? That'd be a perfect way to start off. Come here, Spike." Angel took a step towards him. Spike just stood his ground, and pouted. Angel pointedly did not notice that Spike was still better at it than he was. It wasn't fair - who was the Sire, around here? Didn't the term 'alpha vampire' mean anything to anyone?

"Angel, if you're concerned with being ready on time, why don't you go on up and change? I've only a few last things I *have* to get finished, here, before the weekend." Wesley gave him such a reasonable look, combined with a hint of a threat of a pout if Angel said no, that Angel just sighed.

"Fine. I'll do that. Just don't be too long; I might need help tying my tie so I don't strangle myself," he said, heading for the elevator, not wanting to waste time on the stairs.

"So, what's my incentive for not keeping him down here, again?" Spike called after him.

Angel flipped him the bird without even looking back, and stepped into the open elevator. He concentrated on all the things he had to do before he could get dressed, figuring how much time it might take that might just happen to coincide with how much time it would take Wesley to get upstairs.

He didn't need a shower, even if that would give Wesley more time to get upstairs. And if he showered his hair would be wet and they'd have to wait for it to dry and then they really would be late. He couldn't even really dither over what shirt to wear, because his tux had been laid out all day, and he knew that if he tried to swap the shirt out for another one, someone would turn him to ash. But that was all right -- the shirt set out was the one he looked best in, so he didn't really want to wear another one. But, he realized as he reached their floor and headed out of the elevator, he could pretend to be considering another shirt.

Or he could just look for clean underwear. *That* might take half an hour, tops. He certainly couldn't stretch it out any longer than that, given that he'd long ago started letting Wes take care of his bureau drawers. Ever since the incident with the French fries, in fact -- neither of his idiot grandspawn-in-law-whatever were likely to try that trick again, with Wes in charge of Angel's drawers. Angel thought, looked down, and grinned. Well, it was true enough.

He entered their suite, and headed for the bathroom. If nothing else, he could brush his teeth -- something he didn't dare do *after* he'd got his tux on. You'd think after a hundred years of wearing mostly black, he'd have figured out a way not to get toothpaste spots on a tuxedo, but no. It never failed.

But he managed to complete all his pre-dressing rituals, until he was clean and squeaky and would pass the most rigorous of tests -- preferably conducted by Wesley's tongue. But in case that didn't happen, Angel was willing to demonstrate the technique on Wesley. Later. After the date, because the date wasn't about having sex. Er, at least not primarily.

Even though *Gunn's* date had ended in sex, that didn't mean the dates were *supposed* to. Maybe Gunn would even lose points because of it, Angel told himself. He, on the other hand, could be virtuous and trustworthy and not have to have sex. He thought about being with Wesley wearing a tux, all evening. OK, not really a chance of there not being sex. But maybe he could at least make *his* date last the allotted time, instead of ending three hours early.

Angel glanced at the clock on the bedside. Pushing six. Where *was* Wesley? At this rate, Angel would have to get dressed himself, just so he'd be free to not-watch Wes doing it, because there wouldn't be any time to spare for subtlety. He considered calling downstairs and threatening Spike with dire bodily injury if he didn't send Wes up straightaway, but Angel suspected his own ego wouldn't stand up under the sound of Spike's laughter.

He settled on pacing, back and forth through the living area. He was careful not to glance at the clock too often, because if he looked too much it would stop moving completely. When the clock said six fifteen, he sighed, and went to the bed to get his clothes. Spike was going to pay dearly for interfering with Angel's Wesley-watching time. Maybe he could convince Cordelia to help him come up with something that Spike would *notice*. Only he didn't like to admit he needed her help to torment his own grandspawn, even if, any more, anything *he* did rarely worked. Or maybe Spike was just a better actor, now.

Angel got dressed as quickly as he could, then he sat on the bed to wait. He didn't moved, not wanting to wrinkle, and tried very very hard not to brood. He sat very, very patiently. For at least thirty seconds. Maybe forty-five. Since he wasn't allowing himself to look at the clock, he couldn't be sure. Finally, though, he couldn't take it any longer. Angel stalked out of the suite, to the top of the stairs. He was just correcting the overeager expression on his face to one that simply -- he hoped -- looked concerned, when he heard a familiar voice echoing up the stairwell.

"Oi, get a move on! Stop fussing with your hair. You're gonna be late!" Unfortunately, not the *right* familiar voice.

"What are you talking about?" he shouted down to Spike.

"You! Hurry up. Wesley says if you don't get down here soon, you'll miss the fat lady singing."

"But--" Angel started down the stairs. "But he isn't dressed--"

Only he was. He was standing near the center of the lobby, talking to Gunn and smiling. Fully dressed to the nines. And Angel had missed it. Angel continued down the stairs, trying to keep the dismay off his face, and not really caring when Spike saw it and smirked. He'd smack Spike around, later. Throw him off the roof, or tip red food dye into the fish tank. He paused, and realized that was a *very* good idea. Angel filed it away, then went down and looked at Wesley. He looked delicious.

And Angel had missed him getting dressed. To hell with it. He pouted. "You're dressed. When did you get dressed -- how did you get your tux down here when it was supposed to be upstairs?"

Wesley looked confused. "I got dressed several minutes ago. Angel, what on earth is wrong?"

"I wanted... I mean... I just thought..." Angel growled inwardly. He was going to end up looking stupid, no matter what he did. "Nothing. Just thought you were coming upstairs. I would've come down earlier if I realized I wasn't supposed to be waiting for you. I thought your tux was up there?"

Wesley smiled, not quite sheepishly enough for Angel to believe he was entirely innocent. "Ah, I'm sorry. I hadn't realized you were waiting for me. I had my tuxedo sent out to be cleaned last week, and it was still hanging down here. I didn't see any reason to carry it upstairs to dress."

"Oh." Angel couldn't think of anything to say, other than confessing that he'd wanted to start off the date by watching Wesley get dressed. Especially with everyone standing around watching them. "Well, then, we should get going," he finally stammered, and he held out his arm.

Wesley looked at it, surprised for a second, before he smiled and took Angel's arm. Angel heard Cordelia making an 'aww' sound, and tried not to look smug.

"You two be careful," Gunn was saying. "And you *call* if anything freaky happens."

"What could possibly happen?" Wesley asked. "We're going to the opera."

"Uh-huh. And you remember what happened when we all went to the ballet?" Gunn gave them a look.

"Charles, really. We're seeing la Cosi Fan Tutti. Even if it *were* haunted, it would be a comedy, not a tragedy."

Angel wasn't sure Wesley's logic made any sense -- but he wasn't arguing.

********

Wesley glanced sideways at Angel, and hid a smirk. It wasn't *his* fault that the LA Metropolitan Opera House had started serving buttered popcorn. It wasn't as if he'd known that when he'd chosen Gunn's dating plan last week, over Angel's. Well, it wasn't as if Angel could have *known* he'd known that. He tapped Angel on the shoulder, and held out his hand for the small, discreet paper bag.

Angel handed it over, with a distinct I'm-not-Pouting pout. Wesley smiled his thanks for the popcorn, and returned his attention to the stage. The seats Angel had gotten were, he had to admit, much better than the balcony seats they'd had at their first formal, cultural outing. He wasn't surprised -- they had been to the opera and ballet several times in the last few years, and when they didn't have box seats they at least had good, front section seats.

But in this instance, Wesley would have preferred being in the balcony. The conductor had apparently forgotten that there was such a thing as pianissimo -- or even piano. The orchestra was playing loud, and hard -- to the point that from their seats just five rows back, Wesley could barely hear the singers. He didn't know if Angel was having more of a problem, or less, but he didn't want to bring it up.

Angel had been so eager for him to enjoy the evening -- and despite ruining his fun by not letting Angel watch him get dressed, Wesley wanted to let this date go as Angel had planned. The only reason he hadn't got dressed in their room, other than the chance to bedevil Angel because it was fun, was that he knew it would have led to their never leaving the suite.

From the corner of his eye, he saw Angel frown. Perhaps the noise *was* getting to him; he certainly had more sensitive hearing. But his attention didn't seem to be directed towards the orchestra; it was more as if he was trying to avoid looking *behind* him. Angel's head kept starting to turn in that direction, then he'd force his attention back to the stage.

Perhaps he was bored? La Cosi Fan Tutti wasn't just one of Wesley's favourites; as far as he knew, it was one of Angel's, as well -- but this wasn't, from what Wesley could hear over the orchestra, an especially inspired performance of it. Wesley put a hand on the back of Angel's seat, intending to get his attention and mime "We can leave at intermission, if you'd like." The minute he touched the chairback, though, he could tell what was bothering Angel, and it wasn't the performance of the mezzo soprano, or lack thereof.

There was a rhythmic, not-at-all-gentle, thumping, coming from the lower part of the chair, and vibrating through the entire seat. Wesley glanced back to the row behind them, to see a small boy, perhaps eight or nine, sullenly kicking at the seat in front of him. Wesley stifled a sigh, and turned back around. It was unfortunate Angel couldn't frighten the child into behaving -- the boy would either scream, or ignore the vampire explaining that he'd eat him if he didn't stop kicking his chair. Wesley did reach over and place his hand on Angel's leg, palm up in case Angel wanted to hold his hand. If they couldn't enjoy the performance, they could at least express some solidarity in suffering through it.

Angel had just taken his hand and given it a squeeze, when one of the flats forming the backdrop fell forward onto the stage, barely missing one of the singers. Wesley blinked, and stared as the curtain fell. "I don't remember that being part of the usual direction."

"Maybe it's an experimental version." Angel didn't sound as though he believed himself.

"If so, I rather suspect the experiment has failed," Wesley replied.

Angel looked over at him, obviously concerned. "This is awful, isn't it?"

"Oh, no. Not completely so. I believe the bassoonist has been playing at least one correct note in five."

Angel frowned. "Wes...do you want to go?"

Wesley was tempted -- very, very briefly -- to say no. He knew Angel would stay, and even not complain for the duration of the opera. But if he said no, *he* would have to stay as well. "I'm not sure I could handle staying if we were working a case, and getting paid to endure this." He stood up, and Angel jumped to his feet with a grateful expression.

"Don't say that!" Angel said, however. "After the way Gunn's date turned out -- don't jinx us. There'll be ghosts selling the popcorn or something."

"If there are, I assume they're benevolent ones. The popcorn is actually quite good."

"It'd better be, for ten bucks a bag."

"There's always the cinema, if this is too expensive a date for you," Wesley said, ultra-casually. They were moving towards the door now, along with the rest of the crowd. Wesley wondered how many of them were, like himself and Angel, heading not for the restrooms and the wetbar, but the exit sign and the parking garage. Would the audience be a sea of empty seats after intermission? He was rather thankful his curiosity was purely academic and he wasn't going to be here to find out.

"No! No, I just...meant...." Angel's voice trailed off as he realized there was probably no graceful way out of his blunder.

Wesley didn't let him off the hook, even if he wasn't exactly annoyed. No doubt the pleasure of leaving the theatre was enough that Angel could be as big a dork as he were capable of, and Wesley would simply be amused. Not that he wasn't, normally. But there were times when it was more interesting not to let Angel know he was being entertaining and cute, rather than exasperating.

Now was one of those times. Wesley looked over his shoulder at Angel, who hadn't offered anything in replacement for the comment about the cost of the popcorn. Angel caught his eye, and half-grinned. "So, er, where would you like to go instead?"

Wesley considered. They couldn't move their dinner reservations up. Not at Maison Jacques. Nor was there anything near the restaurant that one could visit and enjoy in the hour or so before dinner. There was, however, a club within walking distance of the Opera House, that he'd heard good things about, though they'd never been.

"We could walk over to Distractions," he suggested as they made it to the main lobby exit -- surrounded by fellow opera-lovers fleeing the carnage.

"Dis-- Oh! The club. Yeah, that sounds good." Angel smiled at him, obviously relieved that the date wasn't going to be ruined completely. He hurried forward a step, held the door for Wesley, then followed him outside.

Wesley gave him an encouraging smile, and was rewarded with an adorably dorky preen. He considered pointing out that when Angel did that, he looked like Spike -- but decided not to. There was no point in deflating the vampire when he was only trying to take Wesley on a nice date.

As they walked away from the Opera House, Wesley reached over and took Angel's hand. Angel gave him a very brief startled look, then he grinned. He looked, to Wesley, like a twelve year old who was walking his object of affection home from school, and would blush furiously if offered a kiss on the cheek. Wesley hid a smirk, looked around for anyone who might be likely to object and force Angel to go all cave-vamp on them, and seeing none, leaned over and did just that. Kissed Angel on the cheek, then kept walking.

He'd made it at least twenty feet down the sidewalk before the urge to look back at Angel's expression overcame him. When he did, he was unsurprised to see Angel standing twenty feet behind him, looking pleasantly gobsmacked.

Wesley raised an eyebrow. "Are you coming? Or were you hoping I'd meet a nice young gentleman--" was as far as he got before someone used his vampiric speed to hurry to Wesley's side and take his hand, very possessively. That was more like it.

They talked casually, as they walked down the block. It was much more pleasant than sitting through the remainder of the opera, and Wesley was glad they'd made their escape. Angel seemed to have stopped worrying about the success of his date, as well. Until they rounded the corner and saw the front door to Distractions half a block down -- and the line that stretched nearly to the corner.

"That's not good," Angel remarked.

"Well, it might be an indication of how good the club is," Wesley offered. Or, of course, of just how many people had joined in the exodus from La Cosi Fan Tutti. About every third couple in line was wearing matching tuxedos.

He glanced at Angel's double-breasted, built-for-a-Neanderthal model, then down at his own. Well, at least no one would accuse them of being one of those gay couples who probably wore matching cardigans to racquetball games. Picked out the same frames for their glasses on opposite sides of the store...

"You think we should go ask how long the line will be?" Angel asked, craning his neck to see the door to the club. "Nobody's going in."

"I think..." Wesley frowned. Even if they got in line now, there was no chance they'd get inside to do much more than look around before heading out to dinner. "I think perhaps we should go ahead to the restaurant. We can sit at the bar, there, until our table's ready."

Angel nodded, frowning. "I guess." They turned to walk back to the opera house parking garage, but Angel looked back over his shoulder. "Did you want to try here after dinner, maybe? The line might be shorter."

"Rather a drive back, though, considering how close Maison Jacques is to the Hyperion." Wesley shrugged. It wasn't as if he'd been planning to visit the club tonight, anyway. Angel still looked a bit disgruntled, though. Or worried. Wesley gave him a reassuring smile. "It doesn't matter. We can go clubbing another night -- when we're more suitably dressed for it."

Angel nodded slowly, then seemed to shake off the worry. As they walked back to the parking garage, they resumed their discussion of field techniques for slaying demonic rodentia. Wesley was still determined to make Angel see the necessity of killing them at a distance, with a method whereby one could kill many at one time. Without touching them. Angel was holding out for a more inefficient technique of wading in and swinging a weed whacker. Wesley suspected Angel liked that method because it was more fun.

The debate kept them occupied until they reached the garage and took the elevator up to the seventh floor. As they exited, Wesley saw several spaces empty that hadn't been when they'd arrived. Was there anyone at all, still watching the performance? Not that it mattered - *they* were not watching it, and that was the important thing. They walked over to Angel's car, and Wesley went around to the passenger side.

"Angel?"

"I see it," he heard, obviously hissed through gritted teeth.

"How can you possibly..."

"The car's sagging on your side."

"There could be an invisible giant sitting on the hood," Wesley offered, just to be contrary. When Angel looked at him, he looked right back. "Don't try to say that it hasn't happened before."

"Not at the opera house," Angel said grimly. "Monster truck rally, yes." He folded his arms. "Punctured or slashed?"

"Mysteriously flat," Wesley answered. He removed his tuxedo jacket, and set it on the front seat.

"Myst-- What are you doing?" Angel asked, coming around the front of the car. he looked down at the tire which was, as Wesley had indicated, mysteriously flat. "How can it just go flat?"

"The nail must be there somewhere," Wesley told him, heading back towards the trunk. Angel glanced up, then started.

"Hey! Nothing doing. Go sit in the car or... stand over there and wait or something."

Wesley raised one eyebrow. "Why, exactly?"

But Angel didn't back down this time. "Because it's my car, my flat tire, and I don't want you getting your tuxedo dirty when you just got it back from the cleaners. Besides, this way you can watch me manhandle tires and car tools."

"Vamphandle, you mean."

"As long as you're staring appreciatively at my rippling muscles, you can call it anything you want."

Wesley raised an eyebrow. "Much as I might enjoy watching you ripple, I'd much prefer it if you didn't get grease all over your formal shirt before dinner at Maison Jacques. Why don't we call Triple-A, and then a taxi?"

"I was going to take my shirt off," Angel explained. "And I never get grease on myself when I change tires."

Wesley shook his head. "I can't believe you just said that. How old are you, again? Have you never learned the meaning of the word 'jinx'?"

"I can change the tire, Wes," Angel said patiently.

Wesley pulled his cell phone out of the glove compartment, and held it out. Angel pouted at him, and didn't take it. "Unless you'd rather I called Gunn?"

"How about I call Triple A, and then we can take a taxi?" Angel held out his hand for the phone. Pressed the on button. Listened closely. Looked back at Wesley. "Um..."

"I just charged it this morning."

"No, it's not that. I'm just trying to remember if Cordy won that argument about whether we should renew our Triple-A membership or not."

"Was the argument with you?"

Angel blinked at him. "Yeah?"

"She won. Call."

"She...she might *not* have," Angel said.

Wesley couldn't believe Angel was arguing -- did he have some dread of talking to Triple A agents? Angel knew as well as any of them that he never won any sort of discussion with Cordelia. "Do you want *me* to call them?" Wesley asked. What could a vampire possibly have to fear from an automatic assistance agent?

"No, I can call." Angel looked offended at the suggestion -- and Wesley had to stifle a laugh at his expression. "I just think everyone's got this idea that I never win an argument with Cordelia, when I've won lots of them."

Wesley raised an eyebrow. "When?"

Angel stared at the phone, focusing on dialing the 800 number.

"Angel? When?" Wesley asked again, just to see if he could get Angel to fidget.

"A while. Maybe. The first couple of years she worked for me, I won lots of arguments."

"By making a pronouncement, then disappearing into your office and closing the door, after hanging up the 'Do Not Disturb, Brooding In Progress' sign?"

Angel put up a hand, then spoke earnestly into the phone. "Hel--" Sigh. "Yes, I'll hold." He looked back at Wesley. "You're saying that wasn't winning?"

"It might have been, if she hadn't waited until you closed the door, then done just as she pleased, anyway."

Angel frowned at him, then turned his attention back to the phone. "Yes I-" He stopped again and listened. Then he held the phone away and pressed a number. He brought the phone back to his ear quickly, and listened again.

Wesley waited patiently. Angel brought the phone away, hit another number, and quickly listened again. Wesley went to sit on the hood of the car. He couldn't look at Angel -- if he did, he might... well, there was no telling what he might do. Laugh loudly, was at the top of the list. Not that such a reaction would be unusual for Angel to experience, but... it was his date, after all. It would be rude to laugh at him. Unless it were completely unavoidable, of course.

"No, I don't want a rental car. I want you to..." Angel muttered into the phone, then Wesley heard the faint beep of another button being pressed.

"I'd be careful about telling them what I suspect you want them to do, Angel. Cordelia says she believes those automated menus actually have human operators listening in. Judging how soon you get to speak to a live person based on your verbal responses to the menu." He didn't turn round to look at Angel's expression, much as he wanted to.

"I just want a flat tire fixed," Angel said in a tone that was almost whining -- if Angel ever did such a thing as whine. He did, but never when Spike or Xander could overheard him. There was another button pushed, and Angel said, "Finally! I--" Wesley glanced over and saw the most adorable expression of dismay on his lover's face. Angel saw him looking, and said, "I'm on hold."

"Waiting for an operator?"

Angel nodded. "It's saying... they're playing an ad. Saying they're glad I called...would I like to buy more services....my call is important to them...." Angel pouted. "This is why I think about being evil, again."

"You can't be evil again," Wesley pointed out. "That was rather the whole point of the painting blue and the nude chanting."

"But I can think about it," Angel insisted. "Or... or I could hire Spike to be evil for me." Wesley didn't manage to smother his bark of laughter. "What?" Angel asked, then frowned, and pressed a button.

"Spike... isn't exactly the five star choice when it comes to evil for hire," Wesley said as delicately as possible. "If you wanted to hire someone to be naughty for you, then perhaps..."

Angel grimaced, his lips compressing to a straight line as he glared at the phone. "I could hire him to be annoying for me," he said finally, gripping the cell-phone dangerously tightly.

Wesley sighed. "Why don't we catch a cab, and deal with the car later?" If Angel got seriously...vexed, the remainder of their date would be spent listening to Angel vent about the stupidities of modern life and how they never would have had such a thing two hundred years ago.

"I don't want to leave the car. There's no security in this garage."

Wesley folded his arms. "You could ask someone to cast a spell on it, to prevent theft and vandalism."

"You can do that?" Angel's eyebrows went up.

"If I were feeling amiable, I might."

Angel gave him a look that said he'd just mentally stripped Wesley out of half of his clothes. "I could help you feel amiable."

"And just how were you planning to do that?" Wesley asked it as if he hadn't a clue that Angel's pupils were contracting, brown eyes holding a shimmer of gold in the half darkness of the parking garage. He asked it as if Angel might be thinking of, perhaps, buying him a somewhat more expensive vintage of champagne with dinner than he'd planned.

"I could -- hi! Yes, I was-- policy number?" Angel looked frantically at Wesley. Wesley dug out his wallet while Angel made frantic reassurances to the agent that he had it right there, just a moment, please don't hang up.

"Hmm." Wesley leafed through his wallet again, then went over and pulled Angel's wallet out of his trousers pocket. He ignored the briefly bulged-eyes that action got him, and began flipping through it. "How did you get the number to call, if not from the policy card?"

"There's a sticker on the window," Angel said, pointing.

"I don't see the card. Didn't you put it in your wallet?"

"Didn't *you*?" Wesley simply raised an eyebrow. And waited. Angel looked at him, expectantly. Then nervously. Then... "Um, could you hold on a second?" he said into the phone. "I sort of just pissed off my boyfriend, and frankly I'm more afraid of that than I am of you putting me back on hold." He blinked and looked at Wesley. "She hung up."

"Did I what?" Wesley asked mildly. He wasn't actually pissed off -- a bit annoyed, perhaps, and that was at least in part due to the fact that he hadn't yet started enjoying his date, this evening and they'd been on it for two and a half hours.

"I don't think it matters now. Maybe I should just change the tire."

"And be covered in grease when we go to dinner?"

"I'll take my clothes off. Change the tire in my underwear."

Wesley blinked. Tried very hard to explain why that was a bad idea. Tried very hard to figure out why that was a bad idea. "That..." he began, then stopped. Looked back across the car to Angel, in his tuxedo. "That would..." There was something...

Angel started to pull at his tie. Wesley swallowed hard. In the silence, a car's engine growled smoothly to life. Wesley looked around, to see a small black sports car pulling around the corner and driving towards them.

"That would be bad. Because people would see you." He pointed. "People who aren't me."

"You could stand between me and them," Angel said in what really seemed to be a reasonable tone.

"I...think it would be illegal," Wesley pointed out as the car slowed down. He tensed, and saw Angel turn to face the car -- standing neatly in between Wesley and it, he noticed with some amusement.

The window rolled down and Greg Williams stuck his head out. "You guys need a lift?"

Wesley gave the man a grin. Greg was an old friend, initially a client whom they'd run into a few times after solving his 'possessed kitchen' problem. The contacts had lead to friendly acquaintance, until Greg and Charles had discovered a common passion in ballet. Gunn heartily *denied* his passion, but was sometimes known to go to Greg's place and watch the A&E channel. Or so Greg claimed. According to Gunn, they were watching basketball. Since Wesley had stopped by to pick him up one night, and noted that the basketball players in question looked very good in tutus, Gunn hadn't said much on the subject.

"Perhaps. Or perhaps we just need the assistance of someone who's better than Angel at romancing the Triple-A operator," Wesley answered, nodding towards Angel's now-closed phone.

"If I'd known I had permission to romance her, this would've been over a lot quicker," Angel muttered.

Greg didn't seem to have heard him, but Wesley certainly had. "I'm not sure how her hanging up on you sooner would have helped us."

"Triple A?" Greg asked. "Why -- oh." He caught sight of the tire, and looked over at the driver's side of the car. "Michael, be a love and pop out and give them a hand?"

"Oh, that's not necessary," Angel began. "I can do it, I just--" He glanced back at Wesley. "Can't get dirty."

"Of course, sugar," Michael said as he walked towards the trunk of Angel's car. The large, well-muscled black man stripped off his jacket before holding out his hands for the keys. Wesley told himself it was impolite to stare at someone else's date, while out on his own. But he'd never met Michael before, and felt it was only fair he get a chance to look.

"If I were wearing jeans, I could do it," Angel said, almost petulantly as he indicated Michael's more appropriate attire. Wesley simply gave him that raised eyebrow again, though not so high as before. He wasn't even pretending to be potentially offended -- just amused.

"Well, I could. What's wrong with wearing jeans to the opera? He did!"

Greg grinned and leaned out his car window, watching appreciatively as his date set to work. "Michael's part of the stage crew."

Angel frowned, lips settling into a familiar pattern that belied his claim that Spike and Drusilla hadn't learned their deadly pouts from him.

Michael looked back at them as he lowered the trunk lid halfway. "I'm not sure I want to admit that right about now."

Wesley tried his best to be... diplomatic. "I thought it went rather well, for..." For what? A complete disaster?

"For everything going wrong that possibly could without the theatre bursting into flames?" Michael suggested. He pulled the tire wrench out, and said, "Your jack's not in here."

"What?" Angel went over and peered into the trunk. "We had... Wes? Didn't we have a jack in here?"

"Why are you asking me? When was the last time I changed the tire?" Wesley watched with some mischievous delight as Angel tried to figure out which was the wrong answer. Wesley went over to stand beside Greg, to watch the ensuing activity.

"Well, that's OK," Angel shrugged. "I can hold it."

"Without getting dirty?" Greg teased.

Angel shot him a look that indicated just what he could do with his offer of help. Or rather, of his date's help. "The bumper isn't dirty." He walked around to the front of the car, and crossed his arms, waiting for Michael to pull out the spare tire.

Wesley thought about arguing with him, then thought about watching Angel reaching down to lift up the front of a several hundred pound hunk of metal, muscles clearly visible through his thin white formal shirt -- and kept his mouth firmly shut. Besides, if it made Angel feel like he was contributing to the tire-changing endeavor, who was he to argue? A glance at Greg showed him watching Michael with equal interest.

Wesley nudged him, and said quietly, "It's lovely having such butch boyfriends, isn't it?"

"Except when it comes to getting breakfast in bed, yes," Greg agreed.

Wesley gave him a look of mild surprise, and teased, "Yours doesn't cook?"

"Yours does? I thought vampires didn't eat. Or - do you mean Gunn? Where is he, by the way or shouldn't I ask?"

"He's at home, as far as I know. Unless he went off demon-hunting by himself, in which case he's in serious trouble."

Greg glanced at him. "You don't think he can handle it himself? I thought he did that for a while, before you guys all hooked up."

"I mean he's in serious trouble when he gets home."

That bought him a chuckle. "I guess it's not a shouldn't-ask deal, then, if you're still willing to kill him for risking his neck."

Wesley raised his eyebrow. "It's not as though Angel and I are never seen out, without Gunn."

Greg gave him a 'you've got to be kidding' look.

"Well, that' s what tonight is for," Wesley said firmly. "Unless Gunn demonstrates he can't be left without a chaperone."

Greg laughed. They chatted while Michael and Angel worked, and soon the tired was changed. Angel let the car down and changed back to his human visage. Michael looked at him for a moment -- actually, he'd been glancing at the vampiric face nervously but silently, during the entire tire-changing procedure -- then nodded slowly. "Thanks."

Wesley assumed Greg had told his date what Angel was, but knowing and seeing were two completely different things. Angel nodded back at him. "Hey, I should be thanking you. You're the one helping with *my* car." He glanced back at Wesley. "Not that I actually *needed* help, but, you know..."

Wesley folded his arms. "You were going to lift the car *and* change the tire, by yourself?"

"You could have--" Angel began, then stopped. "I think we have time to make our dinner reservations."

"We're an hour early. I should hope so." Wesley hesitated, then gave Angel a grin to let him know he wasn't -- currently -- in any trouble. Angel responded with one of his more adorable smiles, which made tormenting him all the more worthwhile.

********

"Wes, dear, I'm going to have to study your technique sometime," Greg said. "I'm still trying to get Michael to understand me when I'm giving him the 'we have to leave now before you embarrass me further' expression -- much less *respond* to it properly."

Angel looked over at Michael. "Do you get the feeling they're talking about us?"

"Nah. I don't think so." He shook his head as he put the tire in the trunk and slammed the lid down. "I didn't hear anything that made me sound like a badly-trained puppy. Did you?"

Angel shook his head quickly. "Oh, no. Absolutely not. And there was nothing that made me sound like a...um..."

"Well-trained one?" Wesley offered.

Angel looked nonplused for a moment. He glanced helplessly at Michael. "See, this is where I don't know if I'm supposed to argue about not being a puppy, or feel flattered because Wes thinks I'm well-trained."

"You're asking me? He's your boyfriend."

"Yeah, and I've lived with him for years. And I still don't know. I was hoping you knew where they sold the manuals."

"Do I look like I own a manual?" Michael gestured towards Greg.

"Have I just been insulted?" Greg asked Wesley. "Or is he admitting his faults?"

"How long have you been sleeping with him?" Wesley asked.

"Oh...since La Traviata. Three months? We met at the opening night party."

"La Traviata?" Wesley thought back. "I didn't see that. I heard it was good. Better than--"

"This wasn't our fault," Michael put in. "The director fucked it up for us. Said the name of that damned Scottish play backstage, and wouldn't perform the counter-curse."

Angel blinked for a second, then the light dawned. "Oh, you mean Mac--"

Wesley was, fortunately, quick enough to cover his mouth, since from the moment Angel had started furrowing his brow, Wesley had been making his way across to him, knowing what was coming. "Angel?" Wesley asked, his hand still over his lover's mouth.

"Mrrphm."

"What are you going to say when I remove my hand?"

"Mepgh?"

"No, you're not going to say that. Why aren't you going to say that?"

"Mephh...iff ffuffuh fuuferfiiffa."

"What did he say?" Greg asked, not hiding his amusement at the sight of Wesley restraining a vampire who, while they might be of similar height, weighed at least seventy pounds more than him, not to mention, well, being a vampire.

"He said it's just a superstition. Angel, there are those who think vampires are just a superstition. That doesn't make them any less..."

"Mmmppuffuff?"

"Dorky was the word I was looking for. but dangerous will do. Now, what are you going to say when I remove my hand from your mouth?"

"Faaphoo, ee ee oo gerff groorfe?"

"Very good." Wesley slid his hand away from Angel's lips.

"Thank you," Angel said to Michael and Greg. "We need to get going."

Greg seemed to be holding back laughter. Wesley didn't know why he was bothering, unless it was the way Michael was frowning at the delight with which Greg was watching Angel and Wesley.

"Thank you for your help," Wesley told them, as well. He pulled Angel back towards the car, letting Michael and Greg leave without further adieu -- then he saw Angel's trousers leg. "I told you so," he remarked.

"Huh? What?" Angel looked down at his legs. Wesley pointed at the smear of dirt and grease along the right thigh. Angel looked, peered harder, then finally reached down and touched his trousers. "Oh! Hell, I can barely see it. No one will notice."

"I noticed."

"No one besides a fastidious laundry-fetishist will notice."

"And where did you say we were having dinner?" Wesley reminded him. Half the clientele, as well as wait-staff, would qualify as-- "Excuse me?"

It continued to amaze Wesley, after all these years, how a man as large and generally imposing as Angel, could get that completely panicked look in his eyes, and be reduced in an instant to a frantically backpedaling five year old trying to convince his mother that it hadn't been him who'd stolen the freshly baked pie from the windowsill. "Not that there's...anything wrong with being a laundry fetishist. I mean, I like clean clothes as much as the next guy..."

"Which must be why you work so hard to get them absolutely filthy," Wesley responded dryly. "Perhaps we should go to the restaurant now? If you're not overstuffed from the foot, that is."

"No, I think I managed to stop swallowing when I hit my ankle."

"Why don't we go to dinner, and attempt to salvage some of what we actually *planned* for this evening, shall we?"

"That sounds like a great idea. Wait -- I know one thing I planned." Angel stepped forward and gave Wesley a kiss. "How did that go?"

Wesley smiled. "It went -- actually, I'm not quite sure. Perhaps you'd better--" Angel kissed him again. When he stopped, they were both smiling. "Let's go to dinner."

******

The lights were blazing in the lobby when they walked in the front doors of the Hyperion. Cordelia frowned and put her hands on her hips. "You're early," she said to Angel. "You're pissy," she said to Wesley. Before either of them could answer, she added, "But no red goo this time. Which is good. Unless you went to the jello wrestling place instead of the opera. In which case, bad, because, no red goo."

"There was no goo," Angel said.

"Well, that's good, then." She looked at his unhappy expression, which Wesley was trying his best not to notice, since he wasn't, really wasn't, trying to make Angel feel miserable. "Um, or not? Did the goo place get infested with slug demons?"

"Huh?"

"Well, no goo, and Wesley's pissy, so maybe you wanted goo and there wasn't any. And coming home early from dates tends to involve slug demons, around here, so..."

"There were no slug demons," Angel said tiredly.

"I'm not pissy," Wesley added after a moment. She folded her arms, and raised one eyebrow. She said nothing. "I'm *not*," Wesley insisted. "I'm merely hungry."

"Weren't you two going to Maison Jacques?"

"Yes." Wesley didn't want to elaborate. Didn't want to think about it -- he just wanted to go upstairs and fix a sandwich.

"And..?"

"And dinner didn't work out so hot," Angel told her. He tried to take a step towards the stairs, hand on Wesley's arm to pull him along after, so they could escape Cordelia.

She took a step sideways and asked, "Why not?"

"Where would you like us to start? The point where we arrived 45 minutes early and there was no room to wait at the bar, or where they finally admitted they'd lost our reservation, or the point where we got thrown out after Angel tried to bribe the maitre'd into giving us a table?"

"It was a perfectly good bribe," Angel said quietly.

"It was a twenty dollar bill, Angel."

Cordelia blinked. "At Maison Jacques? You offered him a *cash* bribe?"

"What was I supposed to offer him -- a credit card?"

"Phillipe takes everything but American Express. Angel, you go there all the time -- how could you not know this?""

"I've never gotten my reservation lost before, that's how!" He wasn't quite growling at Cordelia. He wouldn't quite *dare* growl at Cordelia. But it was coming awfully close.

She gave him a hard look for a moment, then turned to Wesley. "I can see why you're pissy."

"I'm not pissy."

Angel sighed. "Oh, go ahead and be pissy. Nothing about this date has gone right -- you've got every right to be pissy." He looked down, then chuckled ruefully. "Hell, he probably only kicked us out because I've got a grease-spot on my pants."

Wesley felt the contrary need to not blame things on Angel -- even though the more he was accused of being pissy, the more accurate it became. "Don't be silly. No one would notice it who wasn't looking for it. Except a laundry fetishist."

Cordelia smiled apologetically. "Oh, that grease spot. I wasn't going to say anything. Wesley's right. Nobody would notice."

Angel looked startled, and Wesley smiled. "Are you going to say it?" he inquired, when Angel just stood there.

"Are you kidding? I want to be alive...er, undead, to snuggle you tonight. Unless *that* goes wrong, too." Angel sighed. "Gunn's gonna said he told me so."

"Gunn? He's not here. You should be safe."

They both stared at Cordelia. "Where is he?" Wesley asked. "If he's gone out demon hunting, I'll...I'll get really pissy."

Cordelia just shrugged. "He didn't say. All I know is, no visions. So it wasn't me. And now that you two are safely home -- more or less -- I'm going. *Some* of us have real plans."

Wesley weighed the desire to get upstairs, fall on the sofa, and have Angel bring him a cup of tea and a turkey sandwich, against the temptation to ask Cordelia what those plans might be. Tea and sandwiches won. "Have a good time, then," he began, tugging on Angel's arm again.

"You have plans?" he heard Angel saying, a second before Angel actually said it.

"Pardon him," Wesley interjected, before Cordelia could say...whatever it was she was about to say, or hit Angel with the nearest blunt object. "He left his sense of self-preservation in the car, along with the parking ticket he got while we were waiting in the restaurant."

"There was no hydrant," Angel muttered. "None. I *looked* before I parked."

Cordelia's eyes narrowed, and for a moment Wesley thought she was going to smack Angel anyway, for being surprised that she had plans. But finally she shook her head, and grabbed her purse. "Right. I'm outta here. Good luck with... not being pissy."

Wesley scowled at her, and scowled harder when she stuck her tongue out at him. Then he decided that ignoring her quite fiercely would be another workable option, and did so. He got Angel walking towards the stairs, again, and distracted him by saying, "If Gunn has got himself into trouble, *you* are going after him."

Angel got himself turned around so he was walking forward, and looked at Wesley. Finally he said, "Cordy's right. You *are* pissy." Before Wesley could do more than open his mouth to explain just how pissy he was *not*, Angel continued, "How about I make you dinner?"

"Tea and a turkey sandwich?"

"I was thinking....wine, a salad... pasta. Candles...."

"You're going to feed me candles?" Wesley teased, as his stomach growled.

"Candles on the table -- maybe scattered around the room. All the other lights off, you dressed only in a silk robe...."

Wesley started up the stairs ahead of him. "Turkey sandwiches would be quicker," he said, only a quarter seriously.

"Me dressed only in a silk robe..."

"Then again, pasta is more filling."

They managed to make it up to the suite before Wesley's stomach got the chance to grumble more than three or four times. When they got inside, Angel folded his jacket over the arm of the sofa, and went straight to the kitchenette, without even pausing. Wesley watched with a bit of amusement and a lot of hunger, as he began to root through the cupboards.

After a moment, Angel looked up from his singleminded activity, at Wesley, standing in the doorway. "What?"

"You're not even going to take off your tie?"

"Wha-- you want me to put on the robe before I start *cooking*?"

Wesley frowned, ever so slightly. "Unless you're worried about the boiling water...hitting something." He glanced downwards.

"Or the oil, while I'm making the sauce from scratch." Angel didn't appear to be swayable. "I'll change, when it's time to serve."

Wesley sighed. Not too dramatically -- he didn't actually want Angel to damage anything while he was cooking, even if he did heal fast. He went over to the table, and sat down to wait.

Angel cleared his throat. "You could change now. If you wanted."

"Could I?" Wesley asked, amused.

Angel gave him a puppy-dog face. The very one he'd been denying to have any part of, earlier. "Well, only if you wanted."

"But I want to watch you cook."

Angel looked like he might try the puppyface again, then just shrugged, nodding. "It's your date."

That didn't sound right somehow, though Wesley couldn't quite put a finger on it. He watched Angel pull ingredients from the cupboard in front of him, and spices from the rack, and wondered why he had such a problem with the phrase. On the surface, it was Angel trying very hard to be a gentleman, and save an evening that had gone from bad to worse, through really no fault of his own.

Wesley reached for the saltshaker in front of him, and studied it absently. It was wrapped in a piece of black leather, and the lid had fangs painted on it. The full set had been Xander's idea of a Christmas gift, and contained a pepper shaker with a toy axe glued to the side, and a cinnamon shaker with tiny spectacles.

The saltshaker had been the key to fixing last week's disastrous date with Gunn -- couldn't it be that simple now, to ease the sandpapery irritability which was hiding under the surface of every other sentence he and Angel spoke to each other? "It's your date, as well," he said finally, still looking at Angel the Undead Saltshaker.

"Huh?" Angel glanced over, briefly, before turning his attention to the cutting board and knife he'd just grabbed.

Wesley shook his head. "Never mind." He sat there for a few more moments, watching as Angel began checking the tomatoes for signs of spoilage. Normally it was cause for amusement -- teasing Angel into biting the tomato with his fangs.

Then he got up and wandered into the living area. He sat down on the couch, facing the television, and idly picked up the program guide. It would be half an hour before dinner was ready -- perhaps there was something mindless on. He'd flipped through the pages, just finding the right day, when he realized Angel was walking over.

"Wes? Um -- you want the salad now? I know you must be starving."

"Yes, that would -- " Angel was holding out a plate. Fork. Bowl of salad in the other hand. Just the one plate. "Actually, I'd rather wait for you."

Angel got that other puppy look -- the one where he didn't quite know what he'd done wrong, but he knew there was something. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you eat all alone; I just thought you'd be hungry now, and might not want to wait."

"I know -- thank you. I just--" Wesley sighed, and took the plate from Angel's hand. "I suppose it'll wilt, if one of us doesn't eat it now." Angel tonged tossed salad onto the plate, still looking apologetic. Wesley sighed. "It's all right. I'm sure I just need to eat. I'll be...less pissy."

Angel gave him half a smile, set the bowl of salad on the coffee table, and headed back towards the kitchen. "Did you want some wine?"

Wesley shook his head. "No, just a glass of water, please." At least his waiter was dressed the part, he told himself.

Angel nodded, and quickly came back with a tall glass of water. He smiled as he set it down, then stepped back and looked everything over as if to make sure Wesley was perfectly well taken care of.

"That will be all," Wesley told him in a formal tone.

After a second, Angel blinked, then grinned. "Are you sure I can't get you a dessert list, while you're waiting for your entree?"

"We have dessert?"

"I think there's a cherry cheesecake in the freezer."

Wesley suppressed a smile. "That would appear to be the dessert list, then."

Angel looked concerned for a moment. "I could go out and get something else if you want. Or just down to the hotel kitchen -- there's probably ice cream."

"In Spike and Xander's freezer?"

"Er. Um. No, I guess there isn't any ice cream to *eat*." Angel frowned -- then brightened. "I bet Cordelia has some."

"And stealing *her* ice cream is better, how?"

Angel fidgeted. "She doesn't know how to cast spells?"

"Cherry cheesecake will be fine, Angel."

"Right. Good -- um, do you want it know? While I cook? I could bring you a slice--"

"After will be fine," Wesley interrupted.

"Okay. Good. Great. I'll go...cook." Angel disappeared into the kitchen, though not before Wesley saw the brief, confused expression on his face.

Was it something he could even explain? That he didn't *want* a waiter, though that might be a perfectly enjoyable game some other time. He almost didn't even want food, though he truly was hungry. He might be willing to ignore that, though, in favour of Angel simply coming out here, sitting down, and watching television with him, while they waited for a pizza to arrive.

But Angel wanted to give him a perfect date. Or, the best that could be salvaged of one. Wesley shook his head, and reached for the remote. Five minutes later he'd gone past all the sports channels including the one which actually showed cricket matches and billiards competitions, skipped over the 'women's networks', and was skimming the news channels. Nothing caught his eye, but with nearly 300 channels, he knew that merely surfing through them once would take until dinner was ready.

"Damn," he heard from the kitchen.

Wesley stood up and walked over. "What's wrong?"

"There's no pasta," Angel said. "I've got the sauce simmering and there's no pasta. How can we have no pasta?" Angel began rummaging through the cabinets. "No pasta...maybe pita bread, make a mini pizza. Or...rice? Anything? who went shopping last?"

"Charles," Wesley answered.

Angel shook his head. "Nothing. We have sauce. Pasta sauce and no pasta. Look -- I can run down to the shop on the corner, and see if they have anything."

"Angel..." Wesley began.

"Or... I could make soup out of it, I guess."

"Soup? Out of pasta sauce?"

"Well, it's kind of like gazpacho..."

"Angel, it isn't necessary." Not to mention the thought of cold pasta sauce soup being unspeakably disgusting, no matter how much cilantro Angel might find to sprinkle on it.

"Well, maybe Spike and Xander have something I can steal. They owe me that much, at least."

He started towards the suite door -- and Wesley couldn't decide if he wanted to let him go or not. He didn't particularly care if they had pasta, or salad, cherry cheesecake and toast. He just wanted -- "Angel."

Angel stopped at the door, and turned around. "Yeah?"

"Please. Just...come sit with me."

Angel paused for a moment, looking... not confused, exactly. Just unsure. Then he followed Wesley to the couch and sat beside him. Stared at the wilting salad, which Wesley realized, though not with much surprise, that he hadn't touched at all. Angel picked up the fork, and played with it, saying nothing. Much like he himself had played with the saltshaker, it occurred to Wesley-- something to do with his fingers. Finally Angel sighed. "This didn't go so well, huh."

"It was...not boring," Wesley stated. He picked up Angel's hand, then tugged Angel's arm around his shoulders. Angel gave him a perplexed look, but complied.

"What's--"

"That's better," Wesley said. He settled in against Angel, glancing at the television and not caring at all what was showing.

"Do you want me to...call for someone to deliver dinner?" Angel asked hesitantly.

Wesley shook his head. "This is what I want."

Angel said nothing, but Wesley could feel him not understanding. Could feel his body as Wesley leaned against it, still stiff and uncomfortable. They sat, for a while. For as long as Wesley was able to pretend --or pretend he could pretend -- that this was going to work.

"Angel..."

"My date...kinda sucked." His voice was soft. Oddly resigned.

The wording made Wesley blink, though. Then after thinking about the evening, it didn't. Of course Angel's date had sucked. He'd been trying so hard to make it good for Wesley, he wouldn't have had the chance to enjoy it even if everything had gone as planned. "I'm sorry."

********

Angel looked up at him. "Huh? You're sorry?"

"That you didn't enjoy the evening."

Angel shook his head, looking stricken. "No -- that's not what I meant. I mean... my date -- the one I planned, sucked. You didn't get to enjoy the opera, you didn't get to go to the club, didn't get to have dinner at Maison Jacques.... Heck, you didn't get to have dinner at all."

"Neither did you," Wesley said quietly. "You didn't enjoy the opera any more than I did -- less, since you had that child kicking your chair. You didn't go to the club, you didn't get to -- well, have a glass of wine at Maison Jacques, since all their dishes are so garlic-heavy."

"But it wasn't--"

"For you. Yes, Angel, I understand." Wesley sat up a bit, and turned to look at him. "But it should have been. As much about you, as me. *Our* date. Time for you and I to be together. Not...your turn at the dating game competition."

Angel frowned. "But -- I wasn't trying, I mean, it didn't matter if I enjoyed...." As he trailed off, his confused look melted into the cute one that meant he was waiting for Wesley to scold him.

Wesley shook his head. "I didn't mean to make you think you had to...to...score more points than Gunn, provide a better round of events. Angel -- I want to *be* with you. I want to...be with you, without Gunn around, so that you and I can...find some ground between us. We need to fix what's gone wrong between us and that's not going to happen just because you buy me the biggest prize."

Angel still had that look, though it was drooping, a bit, into the one that came after he *had* been scolded. And this wasn't supposed to be a scolding. Wesley wasn't supposed to be...trying to teach his lovers how to love him. It shouldn't -- couldn't -- work that way.

"I wasn't--" He stopped. "Okay, maybe I was competing with Gunn, a little."

"A little?"

"Okay, a lot. But that wasn't the point. I wasn't worried about *that* -- it was just fun." He certainly didn't *sound* as though it had been fun for him -- Wesley was tempted to ask which parts of the date he'd found fun, but didn't. It would only make things worse.

"If you weren't worried about competing with Charles, then what exactly *were* you worried about, Angel? You have been all night. You still are."

Angel looked away, and answered softly, "I want you to be...happy. I wanted you to enjoy the date so you'd know...how important you are to me."

Wesley tried to think of a way to explain what he was trying to say. He realized that this was possibly mostly -- if not entirely -- his fault, making Angel think he had to go to such extremes, to get his message through. "I'm sorry," he said again. "I never meant to let you think...you had to say it so loudly for me to hear."

Angel shook his head again. "No, I-- Wes, something made you feel like we don't do enough to.. make you feel equal. Make you feel special. Something. I'm still trying to get my head around it, but I can see where you're right."

Wesley leaned against him, again. Kept a close hold on his hand where it rested on Wesley's shoulder. "Angel, it's not a matter of you doing enough. I'm sorry, if I made you feel that it was. If perhaps I even felt that it was, somehow. That's not the case."

"Then...what *is* the case? Help me out here, Wes. I just want you to be happy. Here. With us -- with me."

"I know. I-- wish I knew the answer. I just know -- this date sucked. It most definitely was not the sort of date either of us wanted. But -- I don't *care*. I don't care how the date went, because...it was our date." He didn't have to look at Angel's face, to see the confusion telling him he wasn't making sense. "We could have sat here all evening, eating pizza and watching old movies in our socks and underwear, and it would have been just as good."

"Possibly better," Angel said, sounding amused.

Wesley shook his head. "No. Well, yes, perhaps. But that's not the point. It really doesn't matter how good a time we had doing...things."

Angel raised an eyebrow at him. "Wes, I don't think I've ever had a bad time doing...things...with you."

Wesley stabbed him lightly on the thigh with the nearby salad fork. "Thank you, but that's not what I meant. It doesn't matter what we did, or even if it was horrible, because it was you and me. Being together."

"Um. Okay." Angel's agreement came readily, though it sounded like he had no clue what he was agreeing with.

Wesley sighed. He took Angel's hand in his, and held it for a moment. Looked at it, touched each of Angel's fingers one at a time with his own. Finally he asked, "Angel? What would you like to do this evening?"

There was no immediate answer. When he looked up, he could see the confusion -- and panic -- on Angel's face. "Whatever you wanna do, Wes," was Angel's reply, stammered as soon as Wesley had caught his eye.

"Why?" Wesley asked.

"Why? Wha.. because whatever you want is good with me." Wesley sighed again, and Angel's eyes widened with immediate concern. "Okay, obviously the wrong answer..."

"Angel, am I really that high-maintenance?"

"What? No..I mean, yeah, but I kinda like it, you know? We enjoy taking care of you." Angel spoke with apparent sincerity, though he still looked worried. "Wes, what's *wrong*?" Angel finally asked with frustration.

Wesley tried to think of how to explain. A thought occurred, and he realized it might work. "Angel...where would you like to go on our next date? By rights, the next two dates are yours, and Gunn's -- not mine."

"Huh?"

"I've had my two dates. Now it's Gunn's turn, and yours. Where would you like to go? What do you want to do?"

Angel looked like... well, rather the way he had the time Wesley *had* grown a second head. Except now Wesley's depth-perception wasn't quite so good. "I..."

"A hint -- the correct answer is not, in fact, whatever you want to do, Wesley."

"Um. So. You're asking me what *I* want to do." Angel made it sound as though it weren't a totally absurd echo of exactly what Wesley had just said.

"Yes."

"Um. Do you want to see--"

"No. What do *you* want to do, Angel?"

"Well there's no point in me saying I wanna do something that you don't want to do," Angel replied, sounding a little grumpy.

"What if I suggested we do something that you don't want to do?" Wesley countered.

Angel shrugged. "I don't mind. I--" And Wesley could literally see light dawning. Angel half-smiled at him. "Would this be one of those 'treat me the way I treat you' things? Because I read all about that in one of Cordelia's magazines."

"Not Xander's?"

"No. I don't read Xander's magazine. But I would read about other things in Xander's magazine, if I did read Xander's magazine. We could do some of those things on our next date, if you..." Angel stopped himself. "Well, I'd probably like to do some of those things. If I knew what they were."

Wesley clamped his lips together on a smile, though he didn't think he succeeded in not showing it. "I could always do some research for you, if you like. Purely for the sake of you enjoying the date, of course. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make."

Angel nodded. "Right. Well, we could do that. For my date. Research. Study up. Um. Practice...things."

He looked so eager that Wesley almost hated to laugh at him. He settled for grinning, and was rewarded with a wide smile from his lover. Unfortunately they still hadn't settled everything. he realized that, instead, they'd manage to get side-tracked into sex -- talking about it, if not having it, rather than addressing the issues. There was still one thing he had to make Angel understand, and Wesley still felt just as confused about how to do so, as he had before.

"What's wrong?" Angel asked, after a few moments.

"We've established that it doesn't matter what we do, on a date. Which of us wants to do whatever it is we're doing."

Angel nodded, looking concerned once more.

"So -- and I'm going to say this badly, so just bear with me -- why does it matter what we do? As long as it's just you and I doing it?"

Rather than Angel spending all his time and energy trying to give Wesley a few hours diversion and entertainment, serving him up a date as though on a tray -- all he wanted was *Angel*. All he wanted was for Angel to want *him*. Wanted him here, on the couch, talking about things neither of them could quite express, instead of flitting about trying to make sure every particle of dinner was absolutely to Wesley's liking.

"Are you saying you don't *want* to do the dating thing? I kinda thought that was part of the whole trying to work on the problems deal."

"We were dating as a way of being together. Just you and I." He waited, patiently, because he could see Angel thinking about that one. Angel's lips even moved -- Wesley was tempted to kiss them, while Angel was thinking things over. That would distract him, though, and they'd have to start the entire conversation all over, so Wesley refrained.

"You're gonna be mad at me if I don't figure this out, right?" Angel asked tentatively.

"No, Angel. It's not a riddle." Wesley shook his head. "I told you I was going to phrase it badly. It does matter what we do -- but only in that it's *us* doing it. Not you spending so much time trying to make whatever it is -- even an evening at home with pasta and a salad -- enjoyable for me, that you're not *with* me."

"But I am with you," Angel protested.

"Yes. Now. Angel...I want to be with you because I *love* you. More, because I like you. I want to talk with you, spend time doing things with you -- and I don't mean that as just a euphemism for sex. I *like* you. I...want to know if you like me, too."

Angel looked distinctly uncomfortable. "Is this where we get out the talking stick, and I go all schmoopy and start sharing? Not that I can't do that -- I'm just making sure we're in the same self-help class."

Wesley shook his head, not entirely annoyed with Angel's humour. "Angel -- would you rather be in the kitchen cooking? Or out here with me?"

Angel narrowed his eyes. "Depends. What are we gonna be talking about?"

"It doesn't matter."

Angel blinked. So slowly that Wesley could almost hear the muscles in his eyelids squeak. "It doesn't matter."

"Yes."

"We could talk about Charleton Heston movies."

"Yes."

"Or how much better the pubs used to be in the 1700's, before they invented ferns."

"Yes. Though ferns have existed longer than humans have."

"Or I could sing "Weekend in New England."

"Yes. Once. Then I would have to kill you. But yes."

"Um. So -- we could...do anything? Talk about anything? Didn't we already decide that?"

"Not exactly." Wesley sighed, and leaned against Angel who immediately shifted to accept him, wrapping one arm around him. It was an unconscious gesture, Wesley realized. It was exactly what he'd been after. "I love you," he whispered.

"I love you, too," Angel replied, sounding even more confused.

This was better than anything, he knew. Because it was Angel. Wesley smiled, and told Angel. "I want you to rather be here with me talking about cricket, than be anywhere else at all. Because it's here with me."

"Oh. Why didn't you just say so?"

"In order to torment you, because I enjoy watching you make that face where you try to figure out what it is that you've done wrong this time."

"There's a face? I make a face?" Angel put a hand to his face, pretending to catalog his own expression.

"You're not making it now. Honestly, Angel, do you understand what I'm saying? Because I still don't know if I've phrased it properly."

"You're saying that it's more important that I sit in here with you while you starve, than fuss over what to make you for dinner."

Wesley thumped him on the leg.

"Hey!" Angel laughed. "That is what you said. But that's not all you meant. You want to be together. Rather than not. You want us to want to be together, rather than not. Because otherwise we might as well not be together."

"I'm not sure whether you have a perfect grasp on the situation, or you've just started channeling Xander. Either way, it's rather frightening."

"You want me to stop trying to please you because I'm afraid of losing you, and just be *with* you, instead."

"That sounds less like Xander," Wesley allowed. Then the middle part of Angel's statement hit him, and he looked -- really looked at Angel. "You're... afraid of losing me?" He knew that was at the crux of the matter. That this was all about building -- re-building -- their relationships. But he realized he hadn't been thinking of it in those terms. Not in terms of *Angel* being afraid of losing *him*.

Angel was looking surprised. "That's what this is for, isn't it? Make you happy, so you won't go?"

Wesley sat in silence, for a second. He could feel himself stiffening in Angel's arms, feel Angel reacting by not reacting, trying not to pull away, trying not to hold him closer than he wanted. Trying to do everything just perfectly. "Angel, no." He forced himself to relax, if only so Angel would. "No."

Angel didn't move for the space of several seconds. Wesley wasn't sure why -- if he were too confused to know what to do, or simply thought that by holding him, Angel could make Wesley explain. But then he let go and tried to move away -- Wesley grabbed his arm, and didn't let him go.

"Wes, I-- I don't understand."

"Angel..." Wes almost sighed, and then shook his head. "You really, truly, don't get it, do you? It's not about making me happy. How am I supposed to be happy, if you aren't? If Gunn isn't? It's about making *us* happy."

"But if you're here, I'm happy," Angel replied.

Wesley frowned at him, not sure if this was yet another sign that Angel truly didn't understand. Slowly, though, he realized -- it wasn't. Angel meant it. "You were happy, before I went to England? There wasn't anything wrong?"

Angel shrugged. "I'm not saying it was *perfect*. But -- yeah, I was happy. I had you, I had Gunn. Still have you both - so I'm still happy."

"And you enjoyed this evening?" Wesley asked, still skeptical.

Angel shrugged again. "It wasn't what I had hoped would happen. But -- nobody died, nobody ended up painted pink. Spike and Xander didn't put in an appearance. No one called me 'Morton'. So, yeah. I enjoyed myself."

"Angel, you have a very bizarre definition of enjoying yourself." Wesley paused. "Morton?"

"Wes, for at least a hundred years, I wasn't *allowed* to enjoy myself. Even if I didn't quite know it for a lot of that time. So, yeah, maybe my priorities are a little screwy."

"*Morton*?" Wesley repeated.

Angel glared at him. "If I hear *one* person who lives in this hotel, or works here, or...who knows me, call me Morton, I'm coming right back to you and...and punishing you. Somehow."

Wesley smiled. "You really enjoyed yourself tonight?"

"Yes, I really enjoyed myself tonight," Angel repeated, patiently. "Except for worrying about *you*, because...you didn't seem to be." Angel hugged him, and placed a kiss on his temple. "I wanted you to enjoy yourself, too."

With a sigh, Wesley allowed himself to be cuddled. Perhaps he'd been assuming things he oughtn't have been. Perhaps...perhaps it didn't matter. Because Angel *had* been doing exactly what Wesley had been insisting he do. Enjoying his time with Wesley, no matter what it was they were doing.

Maybe *he* was the one who needed to relax. "I'm sorry. Morton."

Angel's arm tightened around Wesley -- mostly because Angel was sneaking a hand down to pinch Wesley on the thigh. "That list of people included you, too, you know." The other hand reached up and gently traced the curve of Wesley's ear. "There's nothing to be sorry about. Except for saying that name."

Wesley tried very hard not to squinch up his neck and tilt his head towards the fingers tickling his ear. "Ah. In that case, I'm not sorry. Morton."

"You're just begging to be punished, aren't you?" Angel said lightly, looking down at him. Wesley gave Angel a very mild variation of an innocent look. Angel scowled. "I thought we were Talking."

"We are. We were. I think...I should let it drop, for now, and enjoy my evening. With you."

Angel kept looking at him suspiciously, but after a moment, he nodded. "So, we're good?"

"Possibly. Possibly...less not good than I feared." He watched as Angel tried to figure out what that meant. He could see Angel counting the negatives.

"I think that's good. It might be good. Unless --" Angel stopped. "I should shut up now, right?"

"Certainly not. You should tell me why you don't like to be called Morton."

"I think I should shut up, now." Angel nodded to himself, and shut up.

Wesley waited, until he realized Angel really wasn't going to tell him. Not without coercion, at least. "I could turn you into a newt."

"Then I really wouldn't tell you." Ah. Of course -- a slight flaw in his threat.

Wesley considered. "I could tell Spike that you want to spend the weekend with him, bonding in some father-son activity."

"It's the name I used when I worked at Morrie's," Angel said.

Wesley cocked his head -- which of course brought his ear completely into contact with Angel's teasing fingers. They slid along the rim, and down the side of his neck, and Wesley wasn't at all successful in not squinching, this time. "Why...Stop that. Why does it matter what -- no, don't *really* stop that, honestly Angel. Why should it matter what name you worked under at Morrie's? We all know about it now."

Angel's fingers had stilled temporarily, but were now lazily sliding over the pulse point on the side of his throat. Over and over again. Wesley was finding it increasingly difficult to think clearly.

"Why does it -- Angel, I can't think when you do that." Angel's fingers were moving in some sort of pattern. Not one Wesley could discern, but he could *almost* feel it, almost predict where his fingers were going and it was driving him mad. Well, mad in a good way.

"So?" Angel asked, and his voice was very soft, and his mouth very close to Wesley's ear.

"So, thinking is... " Wesley shivered. Felt it run all the way from the top of his head, down his spine. Out to his arms. Down to the tips of his toes.

"What?"

"Nice. It's...nice."

"What's nice?" Angel bit down gently on his earlobe.

"Ahgh. Something..." Wesley found it difficult to remember what the question had been, let alone form an answer. "Nice?"

"It's nice," Angel repeated. He kept moving his fingers, slowly, as lightly as only a vampire could with the sensitivity of his touch.

Wesley nodded, then stopped as it made those fingers jump. He held still, and inhaled deeply. Shivered, feeling every nerve ending in his body tingling as though Angel were ghosting his fingers everywhere, instead of just on his neck.

"Can I kiss you right here?" Angel asked, pressing his fingers briefly on a spot just above Wesley's jugular.

Wesley smiled. "No, of course not, don't be absurd."

"Excuse me?"

"Well, if you're silly enough to think you have to *ask*..." Someone else had control of his mouth. This wasn't the first time this had happened, and probably wouldn't be the last, Wesley reflected. Someone had taken over his mouth and was able to carry on flirting with Angel when all Wesley could manage was a tiny urrgh. He wished whoever it was luck, since they'd just messed about with the extremely one-track mind of a horny alpha vampire. Such things usually led to punishment of one sort or another. "Morton..." he added after a second.

Today, punishment seemed to consist of being bitten -- not vampire style, but bitten all the same -- on the neck. Wesley yelped, and stiffened, pressing himself into Angel's arms. He felt Angel grinning at him and thought about giving him a stern look, but that would have requiring moving away from Angel's mouth. So he didn't.

He simply closed his eyes and decided to give in to the strange man on the sofa with the bizarre ideas of having a good time, who seemed intent on ravishing him. So, perhaps not so bizarre after all. He would make more sense in the morning, Wesley decided.

Now was for throwing his head back to give open access to his throat, and feeling Angel's mouth there, teeth scraping his skin, and hearing him say--

"Hey, you kids! What'd I tell you about necking on the couch? When I'm not there to supervise? They got a special room in hell for people like you."

That wasn't something Angel seemed likely to say at all. Plus, he still had his lips on Wesley's neck. Not to mention it had sounded more like Gunn, who wasn't home. Wesley tried to look over, and found Angel's mouth still firmly attached to his neck, and decided he didn't care if it were Gunn, a demon with the ability to mimic voices who was here to kill them, or Spike with a tape recorder on 'playback'.


Gunn stood in the doorway, being ignored -- which he was cool with. Wasn't like it was his date, or anything. Wasn't like they'd said there'd be no funky stuff going on without a chaperone. Didn't bother him; wasn't the same thing as when they thought Wes might not be coming home, and it just hadn't felt right without him. This was fine.

Except it was in their living room. Was he supposed to go away, not intrude? Stand and watch? He could deal with that one, for sure -- though he wasn't sure how long he could deal with it without...dealing with it. Especially with Angel doing that *sucking* thing. Gunn shifted where he stood, and rearranged his jeans without bothering to be subtle about it; nobody was watching him anyway.

"Ah, guys?"

He saw Wes trying to look over in his direction, but Angel's mouth still seemed to be doing something pretty damned distracting, if Wesley's moan was anything to go by. Gunn figured he'd better decide *fast* if he was leaving or staying, because two more moans like that and he was over the side of the couch and helping.

"Did you want me to help?" Gunn asked, knowing he probably didn't have their attention. But if he asked, and got no answer -- who was it had told him 'silence implies consent?' Probably Xander, talking about staff meetings, but if it worked, it worked. "I could hold the towel," he added.

Wesley moaned, and moved around a bit -- one hand going to Angel's head, digging fingers into his hair. Gunn grinned. The *only* time anyone got to mess with the 'do was when sex was involved. Or when waterguns were involved. Or when Cordy was -- Gunn realized he was distracting himself from the matter at hand.

"Did you want me to leave? 'Cause I'm down with that, if you do. No problem." Well, no problem that he couldn't take care of in the shower of the nearest unused room, anyway. Not his first choice, but he could always use his imagination and *pretend* he was getting his first choice.

There was no response, unless Wesley's next shuddery moan was supposed to be something he could translate as 'Go away and fuck off, please' or 'Come here and fuck off, please.' Of course, the only legitimate way to find out what Wes' moan meant was to go over there and see if he'd repeat it. Or see if someone threw a pillow at him.

Gunn walked towards the couch, watching as Angel moved his head about one inch and made Wesley moan even harder -- one of those long, low, drawn out moans that sounded like it could go on forever, or until somebody came and interrupted him. Wesley opened his eyes and looked right at him and Gunn found himself unable to ask. Caught in those wide, unfocused eyes, Gunn just wanted to lean over Angel and kiss Wesley.

So he did. Warm, soft mouth that tasted faintly of... butter and salt? Popcorn. Gunn felt himself smile into the kiss, felt Wesley breathing against him, didn't feel Angel shoving him off and scooping Wes up to carry him away somewhere more private. This was good.

Large hand on the back of his neck, that definitely wasn't Wesley's, and Gunn froze for a second, but Angel just traced his fingers up Gunn's spine, lightly over his skull. Like he was checking to make sure it was really somebody authorized to be kissing Wes. Like he couldn't smell that it was Gunn, anyway, like he hadn't heard Gunn's repeated questions with that supersharp hearing of his.

Then Angel's fingers moved softly across his skin, less exploring than caressing, and Gunn thought maybe Angel had known he was here all along, and was just being a dork. That wasn't anything new, so Gunn ignored it because -- really, what he was here to be doing was kissing Wesley, and that was taking up most of his attention. At least it ought to be, since Wesley was still kissing him back and still moaning into the kiss because of whatever Angel was still doing.

Then Wesley pulled his mouth away from his, and Gunn found himself blinking in confusion as Wesley gasped for air. His hand was on Angel's head, but it looked sorta like he was trying to push Angel's head *away*. That didn't make *any* sense, so Gunn figured it was just an oxygen break, and bent back down to go back to the kissing.

Wesley dodged his kiss, and pushed on Angel's head again. Gunn thumped Angel on the head to get his attention -- well, really because he could. And he realized he was doing the 'act like Spike and Xander' thing again and thought about joining a monastery. Okay, no -- about sending Spike and Xander away to join...something. Anything, so Gunn wouldn't find himself noticing he'd picked up stupid-boy habits.

"Please," Wesley gasped, and Angel's head shot up.

"Something wro--"

"I'm starving," Wesley interrupted.

Gunn looked down at Angel. "You didn't *feed* him?" he asked incredulously.

Angel looked guilty, like he'd forgotten to clean the bathroom or lock Spike out of the suite. "I tried. I had reservations at Maison Jacques and I took him there and everything. Then I tried to cook but we don't have any pasta and -- I made salad!" Angel pointed at the bowl sitting on the coffee table.

Gunn frowned. "How the--" Then he grinned at Wes. "Does this mean my date was better? Because *I* fed you."

Wesley frowned. "Wesley frowned. "You fed me tacos from the drive-thru at Ernie's Grille which we could barely eat, covered in red goo as we were. But -- Angel's correct, it isn't entirely his fault I haven't eaten." Then he turned a woeful, big-eyed look on Angel that made Gunn *damn* glad it wasn't him.

'Stricken' didn't begin to describe Angel's reaction. For about two seconds, at least, until a strange, suspicious look came over his face. "You're... playing me," he said slowly. "Mr. Just Be Here With Me, I Don't Care About Dinner."

"I never said I didn't care about dinner; just that I cared more about being with you than eating." Wesley sat up and arranged his clothes in a way that almost made him look like he hadn't just been getting some -- or would've, if he didn't have the hickey from hell at the base of his throat, a dark red circle framed by his open white collar, right where his bow tie used to be. "I do. But that doesn't *have* to be an either or situation, does it?"

He sounded almost pitifully hungry; it made *Gunn* want to swoop him up and carry him off somewhere, like he was this starving orphan holding up a bowl and asking for more gruel, instead of a fully grown man, even taller than Gunn, if not as big around. Damn, he was good. Fortunately Gunn knew damn well it wasn't his responsibility, this time, to jump and carry. As long as Angel stopped sitting there on the couch looking like the hamster in his skull was waking up from a sound sleep.

Wesley must have caught the look as well, because he gave Angel some more of the 'pitiful me, no one loves me enough to leap up and run as fast as he can to the nearest source of food and then proceed to feed it to me'. Gunn knew the look was that specific, because he'd had it aimed at him a few times, usually when Wesley was sick in bed and actually *needed* waiting on. Or the day after when he didn't need it but was still willing to expect it.

Gunn crossed his arms and looked at Angel, who was finally coming to some sort of decision. "You want anything in particular? I could send Gunn out for take-out."

"Excuse me?" Gunn demanded.

Angel spared him a quick glance. "You offered to help. What, feeding Wes is less important than holding towels?"

Oh, he could see where this was going; make *him* the bad guy if he didn't go out for food, and meanwhile Angel would have Wes all to himself... Gunn shook his head. Just like Angel would've had if their date had gone the way he'd planned, instead of whatever obviously fucked it up because nobody in this family could *ever* have a normal day. Angel's turn, you dork, he told himself. And just 'cause you get points for creative use of towel boy, doesn't mean he's obligated to return the favor. Fair's fair.

"Yeah, okay. What do you want, Wes?"

"Hmm." Wesley thought it over, and his eyes flicked from Angel to Gunn and back. Gunn didn't know if he should be worried or not, but then Wes said, "Why don't we go see what's in the main kitchen downstairs."

"Really?" Gunn was surprised -- pleased, of course, because he'd said 'we'. But then he realized what food in the kitchen usually meant and he scowled. "Something other than whatever Spike and Xander have down there, you mean?"

Wesley frowned. "Of *course*. I'm not touching anything those two have purchased, even with Angel to verify it hasn't been touched by either of them. Ever. But there should be something else, left from the last group brunch we held."

Gunn nodded. It was perfectly possible -- and if not, well, he'd still offer to go get them something. He'd just look cute and pitiful, himself, tomorrow. He walked to the door and held it open -- not that it *needed* to be held open; it wasn't that kind of door. But if he was gonna do the towel boy -- or was that maitre d? -- thing, he was damn well gonna do it just as well as Angel had. "After you, gentlemen."

The hotel was eerily quiet; he kept expecting to run into one of the newt twins, around every corner, but they seemed to be out somewhere. Either that, or they were holed up in their own soundproofed-as-a-wedding-present suite, having more and louder sex than any old married couple should be allowed to.

It occurred to Gunn as they headed for the old industrial kitchen that now Xander and Spike *were* married, maybe they should come up with a nickname for them that sounded a little less incestuous. Except with Angel's family... He shrugged. Why bother? It wasn't like anyone was going to argue with the nickname -- and it was damn sure they were gonna stop getting turned into newts on a regular basis. Not unless Wesley changed the spells to turn them into something else. He grinned -- it actually sounded like a good idea. They wouldn't be expecting it and it *might* make them a little more paranoid about *what* they might get turned into, next.

It wouldn't slow them down at all. But still, it might be fun. He decided to ask Wes about it, once he was sure he wasn't stepping outside his role as maitre'd. He didn't want to get sent back to the suite. Once they reached the kitchen, Gunn hurried ahead and held the door again.

As Wesley preceded Angel through, he glanced over his shoulder. "Should you tip the nice gentleman, Angel?"

"Oh! Sure." Angel grinned, and gave Gunn a long damn kiss that made Gunn want to vote against dinner.

"Angel? Perhaps you should wait until after the meal, to pay the *entire* gratuity?" Wesley said after a bit, sounding more amused than annoyed.

Angel broke away, slowly, looking back at Wes with a somewhat dopey smile. "Mmm?"

"I think that's British for 'dance with the one that brung you,'" Gunn translated.

"We're dancing?"

Wesley rolled his eyes, but he was still smiling, so Gunn didn't figure Angel was in trouble yet. Or again. Or something.

"So who's cooking, if we do find something?" Gunn looked at Angel as he asked, as though there was any question.

"I'll cook," Angel replied, for once not sounding like he wasn't sure it was the right answer. Then again -- Wes was the only other one of them who *could* do more than boil water and use a microwave, so the question hadn't been a difficult one. Angel headed towards the fridge which had the newt spell on it.

Gunn looked around the kitchen for someplace to actually eat whatever Angel managed to find; they usually all gathered in the dining room when more than the three of them got together, assuming they didn't just order pizza or all go out for something. There were preparation tables that would do to eat off, assuming they *didn't* want to tote it out to the dining room, but they'd have to sit on stools. Plates -- he could do plates, and silverware. Gunn headed for the cabinets, only to be stopped by a soft cough from Wesley.

"What?"

"Weren't you going to show us to our table?"

Gunn looked around. Angel had his head stuck in the large fridge, the only part of him visible being a nicely shaped pair of dress pants with some kind of grease smudge on the back. "Well, I could show *you* to your table," he allowed, grabbing a kitchen towel from a nearby counter and draping it over his arm. "I think your date went to have a word with the chef."

He glanced back to see Wesley distracted by said date -- or, more likely, said date's nicely shaped pair of dress pants. Gunn didn't mind -- he was happy to stand there and stare. He couldn't decide if he wanted to stare at Angel's ass, or at Wesley staring at Angel's ass, though. So for a while he looked from one to the other, trying to act as calm and maitre'd as he could while watching his lover get turned on by one *damn* fine looking ass.

Finally Wesley shook his head and looked at Gunn, obviously trying for an amused expression. Pretty much he was failing, because his eyes were really extra round.

"Your table, sir? Would you care for a seat with a view?" Gunn managed not to smirk, if only because he knew Wes would get him for it, later.

"A view of the seat, do you mean?" Wesley grinned.

"Yeah, well, whose fault is it for finding a pair of boyfriends with such elegant, handsome features?"

"Me!" Angel replied. "I mean mine. Um -- I do. Have. Uh, all we have is some vegetables starting to dry out, and cans of soup."

Wesley and Gunn stood there for a moment, looking at Angel holding an armful of carrots, and two cans. Finally Wesley shook his head and said quietly, in a tone that said all kinds of mushy stuff Gunn loved to hear even if it wasn't about *him* because yeah, he felt that way too, "He's a dork."

Angel's expression became very, very cute. "But I have food."

"You got carrots and baked bean soup, man. You'd better hope you're a really, really cute dork, 'cause that ain't gonna cut it."

Angel *was* a really cute dork, but he managed to somehow look cuter. Or possibly dorkier. He pouted. Gunn wasn't sure what number pout that was -- he supposed he'd have to ask Xander -- some time when he wasn't two seconds away from ripping Angel's nice pair of dress pants off.

Whichever number it was, it was working on Wesley, anyway. "I'm sure there was minestrone in the cupboard next to Xander and Spike's refrigerator."

Angel set the carrots and soup on a counter, and bent down to look in the cupboard Wesley pointed to. Gunn pulled out one of the kitchen stools, and tapped on Wesley's arm. "If you'll have a seat, sir." When Wes sat down, Gunn stopped and whispered in his ear, quite loud enough for somebody with superhuman hearing to pick up. "You just wanted to make him bend over again."

Wesley didn't bother with a shocked look -- since it would have meant looking away from the damned fine ass that was providing the evening's entertainment. Dinner theatre -- who knew? "You don't have to watch if you don't wish to," Wesley said quietly.

Gunn snorted. "Right." He pulled a stool over for himself, and sat down.

Angel glanced back, and gave them both a pained frown. "There's nothing in here that's edible. Not unless you want maple syrup and powdered cinnamon."

Gunn was about to sigh and heft himself off the stool, and go order a pizza, when he caught sight of Wesley's expression. Judging by the smug 'heh' from Angel's direction, he figured he wasn't the only one who noticed. "Wes? You want maple syrup and cinnamon?" Gunn asked, leadingly.

Was it *his* fault that the only thing they ever really did with cinnamon powder was dust various parts of each other's anatomy then let Angel lick it off? Well, besides bake cookies with it.

"I... yes, that might make a nice...dessert." Wes seemed to be having some trouble remembering that he was supposed to be hungry in the conventional way, not just in the eat you alive/eat me alive, somebody just please eat somebody, way. "But...it won't make much of an entree," he finally managed to get out.

"What about the other cupboard?" Gunn asked obligingly, pointing to the one between Spike and Xander's two fridges. "Wasn't there something in there? Vampire Helper or something?"

Angel looked at him funny. "Vampire Helper?"

"Comes in a box with a little animated hand on it? Fry you up some vampire in a pan and then throw this stuff in and you get your 11 herbs and spices?"

"Very funny."

"Oh, just look in the cupboard, Angel. Gotta be something in there."

Angel bent down, grumbling. "I thought you were the maitre'd, not the boss."

"I'm the guy who wants to see Wes seeing you stick your ass in the air," Gunn explained. And Wes was. Definitely preoccupied, though it was probably now a mix of the ass in pants being pulled tight as Angel bent over, and the thought of cinnamon powder. Maybe even some thinking about maple syrup, too. Whatever he was thinking, it was making for a lovely bulge in the front of Wesley's pants.

"I'm not finding anything," Angel called back, after a minute or four of digging around. "Do you want me to stay like this or-- what am I saying?" He stood and up and turned around. "This is *my* date. I get to see Wesley see my ass."

Gunn snorted. "How, exactly? In a mirror?"

Angel stopped short for a second, then nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah! Actually, that'd be perfect. 'Cause all I'd see would be him. My ass wouldn't get in the way."

Gunn stared at him for a second. Not that staring at the front of his boyfriend was any worse than staring at the back of him. "Y'all are weird. You know that, right?"

Wesley and Angel both looked at him, with nearly identical expressions. Gunn just looked back, daring them to say *anything*. They both seemed willing to drop it, though, and turned their attention back to each other. Which was fine, given the way Wes was beginning to smolder, and Angel was just beginning to get the cave-vamp thing going.

"You hungry, Wes?" Angel was asking, and Gunn had to remind himself that his name wasn't Wes. Wesley nodded, and his jaw had dropped again. Gunn wondered if Angel was gonna kiss him, or if *he* could. "You want Vampire helper? You wanna eat vampire?" he asked, in that low, mesmerizing tone that made Gunn think it was *really* no damn fair that Angel got to be a vampire and all Gunn had going for him was a damn fine ass, himself, and the ability to go outside during the day.

Wes seemed to be losing any brains he might have had left after the Angel's Ass Show. He was ready to order the special of the day and damn whether it would actually fill him up or not. Though judging from Angel's expression, that wasn't going to be a problem.

"I... What?" Wes answered, and Gunn felt like answering the same thing, except that... what was the except again?

Angel moved closer to the table. Actually, he loomed closer. He'd obviously been practicing the looming on the side, when Gunn wasn't looking, because when had he gotten *that* good at it? Wesley seemed to think Angel was looming pretty well, also, if the way his eyes were dilating was any indication. Gunn thought Wesley looked like he wanted to be kissed, probably kissed until his toes were sucked into his legs, but he was having trouble remembering he could use his mouth to talk with. Gunn would have done it for him, anyway, if there hadn't been a big old looming vampire in his way.

Stupid vampire.

Angel just kept looming, though, not kissing Wesley and not letting anybody else kiss him, either. Gunn was having trouble reminding himself that this was *Angel* and Wes' date, and by rights Gunn should be satisfied to just watch -- except that they weren't *doing* anything. At least when he'd teased Angel, they'd been naked.

Wesley made a little noise in the back of his throat, finally, and it sounded too strangled and breathy to be English, but it seemed to be enough for Angel. He smiled, and loomed even more. "I think you need to take your pants off, Wes."

"I think..." But Wes was clearly doing nothing like thinking; he was just repeating after Angel. Not even doing that very well, since he ran out of words after two and a half a breath. He was still able to nod, though. He did it slowly, carefully, like he was approving the right choice of wine to go with the filet mignon.

Angel reached out and touched Wesley's left leg -- ran one finger slowly down the front crease of those black tux pants, ending on Wesley's knee. "Did you maybe need help with that?"

Gunn's hand was in the air before he could think twice. "I can do that. I can help. Maitre'd, here, supposed to give my diners whatever they need. I can help." He thought he might sound like a babbling moron -- but sex with Angel and Wesley did that a lot to him, and he'd gotten over it. Mostly. At least *during* sex, he didn't mind so much.

Angel looked at him, eyes smoldering, and Gunn almost took his own pants off. "I think Wesley can manage, can't you?" Angel asked, turning that gaze on Wes, once more.

Wesley nodded, but his hands didn't go anywhere near the fly of his trousers. If he'd forgot how to get undressed, Gunn couldn't blame him, but he was going to bitch about the cleaning bill tomorrow. Surely Angel knew that, and wouldn't let him come in his pants. Maybe.

"Wes?" Angel prompted in that 'Do you really want me to help you, because I will, but I'll make you *pay*' voice. Which was *so* likely to do anything besides make Wes sit there like his wasn't the biggest brain in the room but had in fact leaked out his ears and was puddled somewhere on the floor underneath his stool.

Wes nodded again; Gunn almost heard the sloshing of what was left of his brain. Long thin fingers moved down to Wesley's fly, apparently under their own guidance, because Wes was still nodding and looking at Angel. Whose finger, just the one, was still on Wesley's knee. He tapped it lightly, and trailed it an inch higher. Like Wesley's reward for finally figuring out where his fly was.

Gunn realized that he was going to have to stand here and just watch, and that this was probably his punishment for making *Angel* watch them through the shower curtain last week. Hell, it had seemed like a good idea at the time. It still seemed like a good idea. Angel was still holding his finger in place on Wesley's leg, and Wesley was fumbling near his zipper. Gunn thought he'd probably *have* to help, or watch Wes injure himself. But then Wes somehow got hold of the zipper and pulled -- forgetting of course to undo the button first.

"Want me to get that?" Gunn inquired, trying to sound very much like a disinterested maitre'd, and not like he just wanted to suck Wesley's cock out of his pants.

Angel gave him a Look. A 'You do realize you're only a top around here because I think you're cute and if I wanted it that way, you'd be writhing on the table begging me to fuck you til you scream -- right?' look. Gunn tried to growl back at him, but only managed something like a whimper.

"What was that?"

"I said, all you had to say was no." How he managed to get his voice that low, that fast, Gunn wasn't sure -- might've had something to do with Wes finally having figured out how to work the button himself.

Angel just grinned, like they'd been in on this together the whole time, and turned back to Wesley. Wesley, who had his pants open but not down yet. "Problem, Wes?" Angel asked in a voice that had gone back to all silky smooth.

Wesley actually smiled. "I was waiting for you two." His words were flippant -- flippant enough it might earn *somebody* a good hard fuck after he'd begged for it long enough. But his eyes were still unfocused and his tone was just as breathy as when he *was* being fucked.

"How polite," Angel said. Like polite was another word for 'stupid enough to tease a wild animal by dangling a steak in front of it and forgetting to lock the door to the cage.'

Wes stood up. Like he'd suddenly realized he *had* locked the cage door, with all of them inside. Those pants somehow found their way to his knees faster than Angel could move his finger up another inch, so Angel's hand was suddenly tangled in black tux pants and red silk boxers, and Gunn was wondering how showing the wild vampire anything bright red and made of silk was supposed to be a healthy idea.

Well, healthy enough -- Wes definitely looked healthy from where Gunn was standing. Safe, however -- whole 'nother issue. Angel seemed satisfied -- or at least willing to allow that this was a move in the right direction. He looked down, and said, "Your shoes are still on."

But by the time he'd finished saying it, Wes had slipped out of his dress shoes, and kicked off his pants as well. Angel smiled his approval. Gunn shivered and reminded himself he was *watching*. Or helping. Or whatever, but *he* wasn't the one being ordered around and told to strip and get fucked and... he'd forgot the question. But Angel glanced over at him with a look on his face that made Gunn ready to say 'yes!' He managed not to, until he actually heard the question.

"What do you think?" Angel asked. "Should we order pizza? Make the soup?" He held up the carrot in his hand. "Or use the carrot?"


Gunn nearly shot his hand into the air before he realized he didn't have to wait to be called on even though he *knew* the right answer to this one. It was the one making Wes' eyes go crossed and his knees tremble.

"Gunn?" Angel asked, like his whole grade and whether or not he got sent to the principal's office and had to miss recess all depended on whether he'd studied or not.

"Carrot?" He pointed to the newtspelled fridge. "Um. Buttered carrot?"

Angel raised both eyebrows at him, and Gunn suddenly felt like he'd remembered to turn in that extra credit project after all. Or, since he was supposed to be the maitre 'd, like he'd just told his customer that the filet mignon came free tonight.

Then Gunn realized that Angel was *waiting*, and he jumped. His job to bring his patrons whatever they required, of course. Gunn hurried to the fridge and grabbed the butter. When he brought it back to Angel, he found Wes had somehow got back on the table, lying on his back and staring at the ceiling. Gunn pried the lid off the tub of butter -- butter substitute, but who cared -- and held it out for Angel.

"Wes, legs up," Angel said calmly, and Gunn shivered. His own cock was screaming at him to at *least* undo the top button and give him some room to... er... breathe, but he couldn't take his eyes off Wes long enough to make his hands work.

Wesley brought his legs up without a word -- and *damn* but he was well-trained when he had to be. Gunn almost broke his concentration on staring at Wes' ass, to look over at Angel and remark on it. He told himself Angel probably knew, and kept staring.

"Gunn, would you hold this?" Angel asked, politely, and Gunn moved to do so before he even registered that Angel was pointing at Wesley's right leg. Gunn took hold of it, but gave Angel a confused look. Angel didn't answer, but he grabbed Wes' other leg with one hand, and Gunn realized that Wes wouldn't be able to move his legs at *all*. Gunn wanted very badly to know why this was a good thing. But he couldn't loosen his tongue to ask.

He could at least figure out why Angel needed a free hand -- he was using that extra hand to bring a happy new meaning to the term 'butterfingers' -- and somehow that huge paw of his managed to slather itself in margarine without dropping the carrot, or the tub, which he held back out for Gunn to take again.

Butterfingers on the curve of Wesley's ass -- which was nice and slick and pretty to look at, but the point of that, when that wasn't where butterfingers should be sliding? Oh. That was the point. To make Wes shudder at the cold -- and to make hot skin melt fingerfuls of refrigerated coldness into warm slick softness. Granted, the point mighta been to make Wes shudder and moan and strain his legs a bit, hoping to entice Angel into slipping those fingers inside. Gunn could have told him it wasn't going to work. Angel had that set look to his face that said if he had to, he could keep up the teasing for three days.

Why was it Gunn never remembered that in time to avoid *earning* being teased for three days? He and Wes should have invited Angel into the shower first thing and let him fuck them. Right? Then Angel would already be finger fucking Wesley and making him arch his back and make those fucking good groans and whimpers, and Gunn would have *his* pants down already instead of just standing here and holding onto Wes' leg.

He felt Wes press his leg against his grip; Gunn held him steady and concentrated on watching Angel's fingers slip slide away. Gunn had to count to ten to get rid of the song he'd just started running through his head, and think hard about the way Wesley's cock looked, so erect it was nearly flat against his stomach -- lying on top of the cummerbund he'd left on.

It helped a little to look at Wesley's fingers, gripping the edges of the table, knuckles so white and shiny you could almost see the overhead lights reflecting off them. Tightening and shifting, flexing with the need not to touch himself. Not to touch *anything*. Gunn felt his own fingers tighten on Wesley's leg, and had to stop himself from grasping *too* firmly. If he held as tight as Wes was holding to the table, somebody somewhere was gonna get injured.

It *didn't* help to glance back at Butterfingers and see them slowly tracing tiny circles closer and closer to Wesley's hole. A touch here, little circle, then away. To the other thigh, the other side, another tiny curve. It didn't help him to calm down himself, when he could feel the tremors going through Wesley's body, and it seemed like he might shake himself right off the table. Gunn had to stand there and think real clear about breathing. And holding Wes' leg and not grabbing Angel's hand and shoving it in where it belonged.

He managed to watch without saying a word or even moaning, until Angel finally slipped one finger in -- for about a nano-second, then it was out again. Gunn nearly shouted what the fuck was he doing -- but then he saw Wes' face and he figured Angel knew exactly what the fuck he was doing. Wesley's face was strained, red with effort and eyes wide and not seeing a damn thing, and he was breathing hard through his nose and the rest of his body was shaking, tiny tremors that sometimes meant he was trying not to let you know he was crying. In this case it meant he was trying too hard to hold himself still and his muscles weren't having it, anymore.

If it were half an hour into things, Gunn would have said Wes was three seconds from coming. As it was.... He was damn impressed with his stamina. Angel butterfingered his way back again, that same finger, that same speed, that same quick dip, maybe a second longer. Gunn thought maybe he should be impressed with Angel's balls, actually -- not that he wasn't usually -- because he might just be cruising near that point where Wes snapped, and the guy in the cage with the horny wild vampire jumped up and bit *him*. Which -- it occurred to Gunn that this was pretty much a can't-lose situation for him.

Not that picturing Wes biting Angel was doing much for the problem of Gunn wanting desperately to play 'Where's my fly and how do I make this zipper thing work again?' Either way, though, it was gonna be pretty to watch. *He* didn't care if he came in his pants, anyhow, because he was just wearing jeans and it wasn't like they'd never had slime, mud, or semen on them before.

Wesley seemed to be nearly incoherent and unaware of everything except the finger that wasn't fucking him, and Angel was concentrating on Wesley. Gunn wondered if he could risk a little taking off of the pants and jerking off. As soon as he thought it, though, Angel shifted his stance and suddenly without warning there was a carrot, buttered up, stuck halfway into Wesley's ass.

Wesley shouted.

"Fuck me," Gunn breathed.

"Not now," Angel said calmly.

"Bloody hell, yes, now," came out in the closest thing Gunn had ever heard to an order from Wes while he was naked -- not counting that time they were all stuck in the tunnel with the boggarty things that kept stealing their clothes.

"No, now I'm fucking *you*," Angel informed him. Like Wes wasn't aware of that? Especially with the carrot sliding out just a little, then back in, quick, on the word *you*. The only reply was something that didn't sound like an order anymore. More like a desperately polite request.

Gunn didn't actually mind, either way, because he was getting to the point where it didn't matter which of them was doing *what*. But Angel seemed to take special note of the noises Wes was making, and Gunn watched, wide-eyed, as he slid the carrot about two-thirds the way in. It wasn't as big around as, say, Angel's fully erect cock -- or his fist, both of which had been where the carrot was now -- but Wes hadn't exactly been prepared much, this time.

The noises Wes was making now seemed to be pretty good ones, though, so Gunn didn't worry about it. Nor did he worry when Angel reached behind him and grabbed an iron skillet from the counter. There was probably no chance Angel was gonna brain anybody with it, but if he expected to use it in a *good* way.... Gunn blinked as Angel set it on the table, right between Wesley's legs, right at the base of the carrot -- where it held the vegetable in place. Angel let go of everything except Wes' leg.

"Hey Gunn," he said, so conversationally that Gunn had a sudden weird certainty that they were all under a spell, or possibly stoned. Some shorter than Angel vampire who would remain nameless had dusted the carrots with happy powder, in revenge for all the newt spells. Except the carrots had been in the spelled fridge. Which meant Angel was waiting for him to answer and Gunn was the only one who seemed to not be with the program here.

"Uh, yeah?"

"Wesley here said he was hungry. Isn't it your job to make sure he gets something to eat?"

Gunn stared at Angel for a minute, thinking that *someone* was stoned. Maybe it was him -- except then he'd already be hungry, and looking for something to munch on while Angel did his thing. Or Wesley's thing. Somehow his mouth engaged, though, and he said without stammering, "Yeah. What do you want?"

Angel looked thoughtful for a moment. "Maybe...Chinese?"

Gunn shook his head.

"Yeah, you're right. We had Chinese two nights ago. Thai?"

"Food cooked in coconut? Yuck. Might as well ask for sushi." Gunn had no idea how he was managing to talk, because he and Angel were both staring at Wesley, who was apparently either trying not to move, or was trying to fuck himself without actually using his arms, legs, or torso.

"There's the Mexican place," Angel began.

"Man, why are you even voting? You barely eat. I'm gonna get pizza." There was a whimper from Wesley, as though he wanted to remind them that he was still there. Gunn asked Angel, "Pepperoni?"

"Why are you asking me? I barely eat."

"I'm the maitre'd, remember? Somebody's gotta make an order and it ain't gonna be him." Gunn jerked his free thumb at Wes, who just made another incoherent noise.

Angel looked at Wes for a second, a slow, evil smile spreading across his face. If Gunn didn't know for sure that there wasn't any chance of him losing his soul... "Okay. Half pepperoni and half Canadian bacon. Onions on the pepperoni half but not the bacon half, and mushrooms on the bacon half but not the pepperoni half -- but green peppers on half of the bacon half and half the pepperoni half. And an order of breadsticks, with cheese sauce but no garlic butter."

Gunn glared at Angel, but he didn't ask him to repeat the order. He knew it by heart, at this point -- but the poor person on the other end of the phone, when he called the pizza place, was going to hate him. If it weren't for the fact that he kinda liked the pizza the way Angel had just described -- and the fact that he knew why Angel had ordered it -- he would have suggested a cheese pizza. But the longer it took Gunn to place the order, the longer it would take for anyone to get back to doing anything to Wesley.

Besides which, Wes would have to make *no* *noise* while Gunn was on the phone.

From the look of things, that was going to be the best part. Though maybe not from Wes' point of view. From Gunn's point of view, though, Wesley was still lying there, legs in the air, eyes staring up at nothing, and mouth clamped tight over the whimpers that were escaping anyway. Gunn traced one finger down the backside of Wesley's thigh and watched the muscles quiver.

"Hey--" Angel's voice was like smoke -- or like he'd just snuck off and smoked a carton of those authentic 19th century cigarettes they weren't supposed to know Spike had brought back from his honeymoon for Angel. "Garcon. I believe the man is hungry, here?"

Gunn reluctantly released his hold on Wesley's leg -- and really watched the muscles quiver, as Wes tried to hold it in place by himself. Had to hand it to him; the guy had better control than anybody Gunn ever met. Definitely better than him in a similar pose, and Angel... Self-restraint was *not* in Angel's vocabulary, except when he was asking somebody else for it.

There was a reason half their sex toy budget got spent on ropes and chains, since Cordy wouldn't let them just borrow from the armory. What Angel lacked in control of himself, though, he more than made up for in dishing it out. "Wes. Hold still."

Even the tremor stopped, as Wesley held absolutely, positively still. Not a shiver. Not a twitch. Not a breath. Angel held one leg, and the other remained frozen in mid lift, without even Wesley's hand -- still gripping the table like he could crush polished steel with his fingers -- to hold it up.

Gunn watched -- couldn't help watching, though he knew he was supposed to be doing something else. Something Angel had asked him to do, and there was a good enough reason right there, because he liked following those kind of orders just as much as the next guy, but -- he stopped because he had to watch.

"You're doing such a good job, Wesley. So...perfectly in control," Angel said, soft. Quiet. Rock hard and dangerous.

Gunn wasn't sure Wes was breathing. He wasn't sure *he* was breathing. He wasn't moving, either, because he couldn't tear his eyes away. He corrected himself -- one part of him was moving, and he realized he needed to do something about that. Otherwise he was going to do himself an injury, and the last time he'd bruised his cock Angel and Wes hadn't stopped having sex for the time it took Gunn to heal.

Angel was just standing there, looking down at Wesley like he was a sculpture Angel'd created. Maybe he was -- as Gunn thought it, Angel even let go his grip on Wesley's leg and now there was nothing but Angel's command holding him still. Gunn was pretty sure he'd have come twice, by now, if it were him lying there. If only because he'd have had to grab that carrot in his ass and fuck himself with it instead of leaving it there holding him open.

Angel glanced up, and Gunn realized he'd groaned out loud. "Shouldn't you be making a phone call?" Angel asked, calmly.

Oh, yeah; that was what he was supposed to be doing. Gunn tried to remember where the phone was. Tried to remember *what* the phone was. Thing you talked into. Thing on a wall around here somewhere, but he didn't dare take his eyes off Wes to go look for it; they might fall out or something. He could, if he shifted just a little to the left, look at Wes and Angel at the same time, though, and give Angel what he hoped was his best pleading, cute, help, my brain has fallen and it can't get up, unlike some other parts of me, look.

Angel watched him sternly for a second, then sighed dramatically. "You realize your tip is gonna suck." Then he walked over to the east wall next to the microwave, pulled the cordless phone off its base, and handed it to Gunn.

Huh? Tip? Suck? Someone was going to suck his... Gunn shook his head, as Angel pointed to the keypad. "Star three, Gunn. Don't hit star one like last time -- the fire department's still pissed at us."

"Anyone who'd put 911 on speed dial," Gunn muttered, not sure where the brain power for the comment or the glare came from, and not really caring. Because Wes was *still* lying there, legs up, not moving a damn inch. Gunn stabbed the buttons on the phone -- holing it up so he could see where the '3' was without actually looking away from Wes. He held the phone up and tried desperately to remember the order.

Angel was still standing next to him -- both of them now just standing there, staring at Wes like they'd walked in to find the room all arranged and Wes prepared and waiting. Which, damn, sounded like a great idea and maybe he should suggest it. Next time, or maybe tomorrow.

"Dashell's Pizza, can you hold please?" came over the phone.

"Uh, yeah, whatever," Gunn babbled. He saw Wesley's left leg shaking, a little, before Wes held it still again.

"On hold?" Angel asked, conversationally.

"Uh-huh." Gunn just about managed to sound conversational. If he was having a conversation at gunpoint, maybe.

"Good music?"

There was music? Gunn listened, but the only thing he could really focus on was the controlled hiss of Wesley's breathing. "Uh..." He listened closer, and yeah, there were sounds coming from the phone. Something about fresh tomatoes and home grown garlic. "Commercial."

"How rude. You call for food, they know you're gonna buy something. Least they could do is entertain you."

Gunn almost blinked, except then he'd have to stop looking at Wesley's ass. And the carrot. And the deep red cock, against the black silk cummerbund. Like he needed Dashell's Pizza to entertain him?

Wesley made a noise, then, and it sounded like he'd suddenly remembered he had to breathe. Or maybe he was trying to say something, because he made the noise again and it almost sounded like he was saying Angel's name. Or maybe he was just screaming, way back down in his skull. Gunn caught his own breath, wondering if Angel was gonna reprimand Wes for talking -- and if so what would he do and Gunn damn sure didn't want to miss it.

But Angel was feeling perverse, go figure, and he called over, "What was that, Wes?"

Gunn could hear Wes trying to speak, and thought about glancing up to watch his mouth, see if he was able to at least form words without noise. But that meant looking away from Wes' ass.

"Angel," came a soft plea, and even though his name wasn't Angel, apparently Gunn's cock didn't care because it twitched in response.

"You want something?" Angel asked, still in that casual tone that made you wonder if he *was* a eunuch.

Nothing for a second except the careful intake of breath. Exhale. Inhale again -- like Wes was *practicing*, before trying for another word. Finally, tight and small and choked, "Please."

Angel nodded. "Anything you want, Wes. It's your date. All you gotta do is ask."

An evil eunuch, Gunn corrected. After all, he doubted if *he* could manage to ask for what he wanted Angel to do to Wes, and nobody had a carrot stuck in *his* ass. Hell, right now he was pretty sure he couldn't even manage to tell the pizza guy what they wanted for dinner. Thank god for hold.

"Angel. Please." Each word was clear and distinct, and sounded like it was ripping Wesley's throat out on the way up from his lungs.

"Yeah?"

"Fu--"

"Thank you for holding; how can we help you tonight?" The voice was so loud Gunn almost dropped the phone, and Angel looked away from Wes, holding up a hand to stop him speaking at the same time.

"Shhh..."

"I...uh..."

"Can I help you?"

Gunn tried not to say any of the things he wanted help with. Pizza, he told himself. Not carrots. "Order...for delivery," he blurted suddenly, and got a smug look from Angel in return.

"Phone number please?"

That was easier; he was able to rattle it off from memory, not thinking about it, which was a good thing, because Wes was apparently working too hard at not making noise, so his legs were shaking again.

"The Hyperion?" asked the voice on the phone. Gunn made an 'uh-huh' noise. Wesley was making tiny, barely audible noises that sounded like he was gonna hyperventilate. Angel just kept standing there and staring, using his vampiric superiority of not having to breathe and thus not having to make any noise to piss Gunn off. "What can we bring you?" asked the all-too-helpful voice, and Gunn had to try to think.

'Carrots' was out. So was 'fire department' -- he'd managed to remember that, at least. "Pizza?" he offered.

"Yes..." The voice was leading, expectant. Then there was a cough in the background, and a loud, "Ohhh. Hotel *Hyperion*" spoken slightly away from the phone. Then, gently, "What kind of pizza would you like, sir?"

"Uh..." Something with carrots. No. Not carrots. Garlic. No, vampire. No garlic. Gunn scraped the corners of his brain for the pizza order. It was the *same* pizza order it always was; why couldn't he remember? "Large." He stared at Wesley's cock, straining upwards, and resisted the impulse to add, 'Erect' because he was pretty sure that wasn't one of the ways they made pizza.

"Yes, sir. A large what?"

"Um, pizza?" There was a pause, then the voice asked in a tone that would have made Gunn resent being treated like a moron -- if he'd had enough working brain cells to not be sounding like a moron, "Would that be a half pepperoni and half Canadian bacon, onions on the pepperoni half but not the bacon half, and mushrooms on the bacon half but not the pepperoni half -- but green peppers on half of the bacon half and half the pepperoni half, and an order of breadsticks, with cheese sauce but no garlic butter?"

Gunn blinked. "Uh-huh." He thought about concentrating on the pizza guy and finding out how he knew something that sounded a lot like what Angel had told Gunn to order. But that meant not looking at Wes, who was starting to pant, silently.

The guy on the phone sounded smug when he said, "The manager hired us a new pizza chef. He's a little psychic -- helps a lot when we get people calling in with thick accents." There was a pause. "Now he's saying something about carrots. We don't have salad, you know."

"We don't need any salad," Angel told him, his voice calm and level.

"We don't need any salad," Gunn repeated. Some sane part of him was tempted to add, 'These aren't the droids you're looking for. We can go about our business.'

There was a pause, then the pizza guy said, "Droids?" Gunn blinked. "Oh, *droids*. You want the new Episode 7 glasses? You have to buy a two-liter to get those," the voice said cheerfully.

Gunn saw Angel's mouth quirk up at one side, just a little. "Get a two-liter of cherry coke," Angel instructed. "And make sure the glasses are droids -- or Yoda's ghost -- and not the stupid one with the spaceship on 'em."

He glared at Angel. Or would have, if he'd been able to turn his head enough to face Angel, and not Wesley's ass. There was something not right about the fact that Angel could think, much less talk, much less eavesdrop on the other side of a phone conversation, when the humans in the room were having trouble breathing, thinking, or remembering whose date this was supposed to be.

Wesley was shifting, ever so slightly, like his back was sticking to the table. Gunn could see that if he kept doing it, he'd be pushing against the heavy skillet Angel had set down to hold the carrot in place. "Can he do that?" Gunn pointed.

"Sure, he can get droids glasses," the voice in his ear said.

"Was I talking to you?" Gunn snapped. "Bring us pizza." He slammed the phone down and went back to standing right where he was, without anything distracting him.

"Everything okay?" Angel asked.

"No, everything's not okay. If the damn chef can read our minds and tell what we want, why'd I have to call? The pizza should be here already." Gunn pointed to Wesley. "And he's tryin' to fuck himself."

Wes groaned, and part of it was a 'Someone said fuck, what was the question?' groan, and part of it was a 'You told, and trust me, I'm gonna get you when you least expect it' groan. Gunn crossed his arms and pretended not to be affected by either.

But Angel -- who seemed to be changing sides every damn second and don't think Gunn wasn't gonna get *him* back sometime later, much later -- turned back to Wes and said in a deceptively encouraging tone, "Wesley? S'there something you want?"

Wes groaned again, and he looked like he was trying to move again, and not move at all. Somehow he managed to actually say, coherently, "Fuck me."

Gunn was half a step towards him, ready and willing to do just that -- when he realized the directive hadn't been aimed at him. Had it? Angel wasn't moving towards him, so maybe it was all right?

Then a hand closed on his arm to hold him back, and Gunn added a 'get him later, twice' to his mental tally, and waited. In that same encouraging tone, Angel asked, "You wanna be fucked, Wes? You want one of us to walk over there and fuck you?"

Wesley was groaning, now, and his legs were straining to stay up. He was mouthing the word 'please'. Was there a point beyond which Wes lost control, when he was told not to? It occurred to Gunn that after however many years it had been, he still didn't know. Had never seen Wes break that way, never figured out if he *had* a 'too far' point, when it was just about how long can you wait, how good a boy can you be?

"Yesss..." he hissed, and it sounded like it had taken all the breath left in Wesley's lungs to do it.

"You want one of us to come over there and fuck you? Fuck you hard, hold you just like you are, legs in the air and waiting for us? We can see you, you know. See you being fucked." Angel's tone was even, like he wasn't saying the 'f' word or the 'f. W.' words. Gunn wanted to go over there and F W. He wanted to slip his cock inside Wes and let them both scream, finally.

But Wes was trembling, and Gunn knew what kind of trembling that was. He stared, transfixed and unable to believe he was seeing what he was seeing. Angel was still talking, low and lilting ghost-of-Irish cadence like he was wrapped up around you and fucking you himself and telling you to come for him, that's good, that's just what he wants. Only he was half a room away and there was nobody touching Wesley except the carrot, and the cold metal table and Angel's and Gunn's gazes.

When Wesley started shouting, Gunn grabbed for his zipper and to hell with what Angel might want to keep him for, later.

"That's it, Wes," Angel was saying, and damn if Wesley wasn't coming, right there, right in front of them with nothing more than Angel telling him to.

"Ang..." Somewhere in the groan was some part of Angel's name, which reminded Gunn whose date this was, after all. Though so did Angel's hand on his fly, stopping him from doing anything except watch Wesley.

So he did watch -- Gunn watched Wesley strain and shake and watched that visibly aching cock find its release with nothing touching it at all. Watched the black silk get spattered with white, and two legs finally slam down, two feet plant themselves on either side of the frying pan, and send it clattering off the table.

Angel kept them standing there for one moment longer, until Wesley looked completely wrung. Then Angel moved forward -- dragging Gunn along, as though just saying 'hey, let's go play with Wes now' wouldn't have been good enough.

They fetched up against the table, and Gunn looked down to see a huge, delighted, and smug grin on Wesley's face. Gunn looked up at Angel. "Now what?"

He was hoping 'Wes, do you want Gunn to fuck you next' was the next thing he heard. Instead he got, "Wes? You want me to fuck you now?"

"Oh, god yes," Wesley said in that exhausted, breathy, turned-on-as-hell voice.

Gunn whimpered. He had to still watch? Worse - they were gonna make him go meet the pizza delivery guy with a hard-on sticking out of his pants and knowing what Angel was doing in the kitchen?

"You wanna suck off Gunn while I fuck you?"

Yes, yes, yes, the answer was yes. Gunn didn't care what the question was, the answer was yes.

"Sure," Wesley said agreeably.

Sure was good too. Sure was like yes. Sure was just fine. Gunn took a step forward, but Angel's hand on his hand -- on his fly -- stopped him.

"Or..."

Or? No, no. There was no or. Or was not an option. Options were not an option. Yes was good, and sure was fine, but or was not on the menu.

"Or?" Damn, how did Wes manage to sound *interested* in what or might be?

"Or I could fuck Gunn and you could watch, I guess..."

"Hmm." Wesley looked like he was thinking it over. What was there to think about, Gunn wanted to know. Anything that involved Gunn getting to finally do something with the erection he had trapped in his pants, was good.

"What about...." Wesley trailed off, and Gunn thought about strangling him. He still had a carrot in his ass -- how could he think? How could he *talk*? How could *Gunn* think? He didn't know, but he *was* thinking. He was thinking somebody better decide something, or he was gonna wait for the pizza delivery person and give him or her a tip they'd never forget. "I was hoping to be fucked again," Wesley finally said.

"I could do that," Angel said helpfully.

Gunn was pretty sure the pathetic noise *hadn't* just come out of his mouth. He didn't remember torturing Angel nearly this bad. Ever. Not since last April and Angel had *gotten* him back for that. Hadn't he? Fuck it. "What about me?" Gunn asked.

Angel looked not at him, but at Wes. "Don't we need him free to pay for the pizza when it shows up?"

"I..." Wes took a deep breath, then continued less weakly. "Yes. I suppose we do."

"Hey, you just got through saying he could suck me off," Gunn objected.

Angel continued to watch Wes. "I forgot about the pizza."

"It's all right," Wesley told him.

It was mind-blowing to watch them talking as though Wes didn't still have his bare ass there on the table waiting for someone to fuck him again. Gunn wanted to know how everyone but him seemed to be able to speak English when *Wes* was the only one who'd got to come, and he was still looking forward to more. Maybe it was a spell.

A 'let's provide extra blood for our brains, but not Gunn's, because we want him unable to do anything but stand there and think with his cock' spell. Only trouble was, that spell was generally unnecessary once either of his lovers started getting naked and saying the word 'fuck me'.

"Well, what about--" Wesley began, and Gunn snapped.

"Please...come on you guys...not funny anymore...damn..." He was *not* whining. Begging, yes, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with begging. In fact, he knew a certain vampire who thought it was pretty cool, even after he'd stopped eating people when the begging got less amusing. And this was manly begging. Masculine begging.

Well, it better have been, considering that it was his very unsatisfied, very masculine dick that was doing the begging; his mouth was just a convenient megaphone. At least they were both looking at him now. Or Angel was looking, and Wes seemed to have his head tilted this way.

Gunn stared back resolutely. "What? Damn, there's a limit, you know."

But they both just kept looking at him, Angel with this sort of expectant expression on his face. What? Did Angel expect him to get on his *knees* or something? He had some pride, and since Angel wasn't saying 'down on your knees so you can suck me off' Gunn had no intention of...damn. He was on his knees. To hell with pride -- this was begging for sex. he didn't need pride. He needed somebody to say it was time for Gunn to get a little. Or a lot. He'd take a lot. Or a medium amount, he wasn't picky.

He saw Wes raise his head, a little, and look at him. Gunn tried to look back with as good a begging, pleading, don't I look scrumptious expression as he could dredge up while thinking about how hard the floor was in here. He suddenly understood why Spike and Xander had been after Angel to put carpet down in here for the last two years.

Slowly, almost as if he didn't care about the answer, Wesley asked, "Angel, why is Charles on the floor?"

Angel continued to stare at Gunn, and Gunn continued to look desperate, because he *was* desperate, so it was pretty damn easy. "I'm...not sure. Do you think I should ask him?"

"Because I want sex! What, you think the tile needs polishing?"

"Did you hear something?" Angel asked Wes, propping one hand on the table. "Because I didn't ask yet, so it couldn't have been Gunn."

Shit. They were *not* gonna play it that way, were they? If he couldn't even *beg* ...

"I think you should ask him," Wesley said. "He looks rather uncomfortable down there. And it would be very difficult for him to fuck me from that angle, too."

He got to fuck Wes? Wes wanted him to -- or was this more of the 'let's string Gunn along until his cock explodes and makes a big mess and not in a good way' game? Gunn didn't know if he was whimpering out loud, or just inside his head, but he tried to think as loudly as he could that Angel should say yes, that was a fine idea, why doesn't Gunn get over here and fuck you.

Oddly enough, the pain in his knees was making it easier to think. Maybe that was Angel's secret? Pins in his shoes?

"Gunn?" Angel was asking, and Gunn looked up at him. "Did you want to fuck Wesley?"

He opened his mouth to say that was the stupidest assed question he'd heard in his life -- and stopped. This was a trick question. Had to be. "Please? Please, please, please let me fuck Wesley," was coming out of his mouth, and he decided his dick must still have the remote control to his lips.

"Whaddya think, Wes? It's your date, after all. You want Gunn to fuck you? Or there's always jello"

At least Gunn had the satisfaction of seeing Wes blink just as fast as he was blinking. "Jello?"

"There's always roo--"

"Don't, please. It's *our* date, not mine, but it certainly isn't Spike's."

"So, you're saying no jello." Angel sounded almost disappointed.

"I'm saying perhaps you should help Gunn off the floor; he looks like his knees might be rusted into that position."

Angel nodded, and stepped over, holding out a hand. Gunn took it, though he gave Angel another suspicious look, and stood up. His knees creaked as he straightened them. "Ow. Damn, we need to put carpeting down. Or warn me so I can wear knee pads."

"Warn you that you're going to be begging, in the kitchen, to fuck Wesley?" Angel asked.

Fuck Wesley. Oh, yeah. He was *so* there. Gunn ignored whatever Angel was prattling about and walked over to stand in between Wes' legs. "I really get to--?"

"If that's what Wes wants," Angel purred in his ear, and Gunn's cock jumped.

Wesley lifted his legs, by way of an answer. His eyes were going unfocused and dark, again, and it was all Gunn could do to get his own jeans open. Fortunately Angel was helping him -- unzipping and pushing Gunn's jeans down to his knees, then there was a big, room-temperature hand on his cock. Gunn groaned before he realized the hand was also slippery with butter.

Wasn't gonna turn it down. Wasn't gonna turn down all the help he could get, considering that he'd be lucky if he managed to find his way to Wesley's ass at this point. He was damn tempted to just fuck Angel's hand, in fact. But the other hand was on his hip, holding him steady, and oh yeah, there it was. Wesley's ass, that is.

And look - his cock didn't need any help figuring out what to do after all. Totally trained, when push came to shove. Except --

"Ahem?" from Wes.

From Angel, "What kind of waiter are you? Can't even remember to take away the last course."

Gunn looked down. Oh. Yeah. Orange thing. Salad thing. Carrot. "I thought I was the maitre-d?" his mouth answered for him while his brain stayed on hold because it never really hung up from the pizza guy, and his hand reached to slide the carrot out of Wesley's ass, rewarded with a small soft sigh.

"Family restaurant; everybody pitches in," Angel quipped immediately, and Gunn decided next date, *he* was gonna reserve the brain. He tossed the carrot somewhere that wasn't Wesley's ass, batted Angel's hand away, and slid in.

It made waiting worth it, to be here, now. Inside Wes this way, ass tight, but ready for him, and Wes moaning softly as Gunn brought himself in all the way and stopped. Gunn didn't even try to think of what he wanted to do -- if he wanted to fuck Wes slow and easy, or hard and fast, or some combination of both. Gunn just wanted to stand still for a moment and be in him.

He squeaked when he felt a slick finger slide inside his *own* ass. "What are you--" He cut himself off, because it wasn't like he had any objections. He was just confused.

Angel was purring in his ear again, and if he hadn't been hard as stone already, he would have been after that. "I'm fucking you, Charles. Because Wesley wants me to."

Gunn shivered as the impact of Angel's statement hit him -- first his brain, then it hit him right in the cock and he was surprised he didn't start fucking Wes hard, right then. But he didn't -- he held still, surrounded by heat that felt like it was gonna just bake him alive, and let slippery butterfingers do their thing. And whoever made that up as a nickname for clumsy guys obviously never met Angel, or Angel's fingers, Gunn decided.

After a while, he wondered if he was being tortured again. If so, it wasn't working. It was too good right where he was, cock still but almost pulsing, fingers in him, stroking and stretching, and *there* -- he came close to thrusting, but didn't. Not even when long wide fingers reached in and slid over the place that made his knees start to wobble.

Gunn was too far gone for torture to work, and Angel was an expert at it; he'd have to know that. So this was all for the good, all for his enjoyment, and he was perfectly happy to stand there and enjoy.

"Angel."

Gunn looked at Wesley, the voice pulling him just enough out of his body to meet that gaze -- it didn't lessen the sensation of what he was feeling, though. Instead it made him want to tell Wes -- say something about what he was doing, where he was. Tell him he was *inside* Wes and make that connection through their bodies and through their eyes and through his voice as well.

"Yeah?" Angel's voice came from right over his shoulder, and despite the fact he had Angel's fingers in his ass and he knew Angel was right *there*, it made him shiver again at how close his lover was.

"Fuck him," Wesley instructed, not glancing away from Gunn's face.

Somebody moaned, and it might have been Angel, or it might have been Gunn, or it might have been all three because Angel obeyed immediately, slipping his hand out and pushing himself in. Gunn wasn't quite ready for him but it didn't matter because Angel *always* filled him up and made him think he was going to break, in that first second before the tip of his cock brushed the knee-wobbling spot.

"Bibble." He *knew* he didn't say *that*, but he didn't care who had. It was that, it was Angel in him - it was just a second and even that second was good, even too much was good, was great, was perfect. And then the second was over and his knees were wobbling and it was ever perfecter. More perfect. Just more. More driving him forward so even fully encased inside Wesley, he was still pushing. Hitting Wesley's knee-wobble-spot.

*Those* wobbling knees didn't belong to Gunn, for sure. He could tell the difference because his own were under him, and being helped out by Angel's hand around his waist, which was good. Because otherwise he'd be wobbling on the floor.

It was good because Gunn didn't think he could move, even as Angel started to pull out. Gunn wanted to yell at him where the hell did he think he was going -- but to turned out he was only doing what Wesley had told him. What *Gunn* was supposed to be doing, which he wasn't, because he couldn't think enough to make his body move. But he didn't have to, because Angel was sliding partway out, and then he was sliding in again -- fucking Gunn. And his moving, hanging onto Gunn's waist the way he was and maybe it was something else that Gunn couldn't think of because he couldn't think anything other than 'fuck me, fuck Wes', Angel moving out and back in pulled Gunn out a little, then back in, and Gunn was suddenly fucking Wes.

Angel did it again -- out, in -- and Gunn was being pulled back, and pushed forward. Wesley moaned, and pulled his legs up higher and Gunn tried to think of *something* he could do to help, besides be there. Between them. Fucking, being fucked. Being filled, filling Wes, sandwiched between them and it was like he was never gonna get free, and he didn't want to be anything even remotely *like* free, because that would mean not being here, Angel inside him and him inside Wes and all three of them moving and moaning together.

Gunn tried to breathe, so he wouldn't pass out and miss any of this. He heard himself making a noise that he hoped Angel took to mean 'fuck me harder.' Guess Wesley wasn't the only one good with languages, because Angel pulled back and without a warning, a breath or a finger tightening on his hipbone or anything, just *slammed* in, and Gunn slammed forward, and Wesley cried out, but Gunn could barely hear it over his own voice.

His head dropped forward. No matter how much he wanted to keep seeing glassy blue Wesley eyes wide with lust, with pleasure, with the pleasure *he* was giving and getting at the same time, he couldn't. Didn't have the strength to hold up his head, only had the strength to hold up his body because it was really Angel doing it. Angel doing everything and the rest of them along for the ride.

It was okay. He could still *hear* -- could still hear Wes panting and whispering something that was probably really dirty in some language that Gunn wouldn't be able to learn if Wes sat down and tried to teach it to him for a year. Could still hear Angel whispering things in his ear that didn't need any kind of translation, like, "So good," and "yeah," and "grrrrrr..." which was vampire for bibble.

All *he* could do was listen and take everything in -- everything, from the moans and growls to Angel's cock to Wesley's ass, and suddenly it wasn't him just waiting, anymore. He felt himself jerk, once, and he tried to inhale to tell Angel that *now* would be the time to slam into him again. But he didn't have to, because Angel had felt it too and was, hands gripping Gunn's hips so tight that he'd be bruised, and Angel was slamming into him and slamming Gunn into Wes, and Gunn was pretty sure he was gonna pass out after this, because his toes were starting to curl. If his cock needed *that* much, he was gonna come until his brain shot out with everything else.

Angel suddenly had an arm around Gunn's chest, and it was a good thing because Gunn was already losing control of what little of his body he'd still had any control of. Angel holding him tight, and fucking him, and Gunn screamed as he shook with the force of it. Gunn was being shoved, hard, over and over into Wesley, even as he was coming. Angel didn't seem interested in slowing down, either, and Gunn wondered if he was going to survive the experience long enough to say thank you.

Wesley's legs tightened around his waist, and Angel's arm around his chest, so at least if he died, he'd die standing up, and happy -- which really, you couldn't ask much more, right? Well, maybe in bed, snuggled up between your two lovers, but they could do that later. The snuggling, not the... He wasn't making any sense, because his brains had long ago been fucked out, and now there was only him and Angel pounding and him coming and Wes shouting. And Angel pushing him forward and freezing, finally, finally letting Gunn collapse and finish.

Someone else was shouting, and he knew it wasn't him, because he was dead. Draped forward, and he would have been happy to stay that way, plastered all over Wes, except he was only bent at the waist and not really lying on him. That and Angel was still in Gunn's ass, still pounding away, and would it be rude to crawl up and cuddle Wes while Angel finished?

Wes had his hands on Gunn's face, caressing him, saying something that sounded good, and sounded nearly as exhausted as Gunn felt. It was directed at Angel, though, he realized, as he heard Wesley say "I can feel you fucking him."

It was not possible for him to come again. It wasn't even possible for a *vampire* to come again, though he'd be almighty happy if Angel would get around to doing it the first time. But damn. Damn. Okay, maybe he'd stay where he was -- like he had any other choice -- and let Angel just do what Angel was going to do, because damn. If he coulda got hard again just by wanting to, he would. Because the way Angel was fucking him and the way Wesley was urging him on, made every blood cell in his body want to run down to his dick and make him hard enough to fuck again -- if they weren't all floating around half-conscious and wanting a cigarette.

As it was, he just let Angel fuck him -- as though he'd have said no -- and let Wesley hold him, awkwardly as they were pressed together, and felt when Angel finally lost control. Angel was screaming, now, and Gunn wondered if he was gonna get that bite on the shoulder that *would* make him hard again, no matter what his body said about it.

But no, though Angel bent forward and fell against him and there *was* a mouth on his shoulder, were fangs pressing hard against his skin. All they did was press, though, and all that mouth did was growl and scream into his body and through his skin and probably all the way down into Wesley, too. No bite, no blood, just sound and fury and the feel of Angel letting go into him like he wasn't planning on stopping *that* either.

Gunn had no intention of stopping him. It was hard to breathe, but he didn't need air. He could pass out, no problem, as soon as he was done letting Angel have him. There were hands on his body, moving and gripping, and he didn't even bother trying to tell who was who. He felt Angel suddenly freeze, and for a heart-stopping second they were motionless -- still entwined, still inside each other, each other them holding one to one another.

He felt like somebody should say something -- commemorate the occasion, let them all know that this was the best part about loving each other, except for being able to make someone else get out of bed and answer the phone or the knock at the door. Then Wesley kissed the side of his head, and Angel was groaning like he'd been shot, and the hands on Gunn's body were loosening.

"Love you," Wesley said, and it didn't matter who he was saying it to.

"Love you," Gunn answered him. Echoed him.

"Bibble," Angel sighed. Wesley kicked him.

Not very hard, just on the arm, or maybe the hip; Gunn couldn't really tell, squashed between them as he was. But Angel sighed again, the really put upon kind, like *he'd* been the one ordered to get up and answer the door, and then he bit Gunn's shoulder lightly, with not-sharp teeth, and said, "Love you too." Or maybe, "Love you two."

"Love us enough to pull us off the table and let us lay on you?" Gunn asked, and where the hell had his brain just come from?

"Excuse me?" Angel sounded confused.

"The table is cold, and I'm growing quite uncomfortable, all squashed in half like this," Wesley explained.

"And this is my problem, how?" Angel asked, and Gunn was impressed by his audacity. And his brain had *definitely* come back from its vacation in the warm south, because how else did he know words like audacity?

"You do seem to be the one squashing me against it," Wesley said, patient on the surface, but that note of warning in his voice that if somebody didn't get with the program, there would be revenge. Later. When it was least expected.

"I think technically that would be Gunn," Angel corrected.

"I think technically if someone isn't pulling me off this table and performing some deep-muscle cuddling in about ten seconds, someone is going to regret it, and that someone isn't going to be Gunn. Technically or otherwise."

Gunn didn't have much of a chance to inhale so he could laugh, before he was completely unfucked, pulled backwards, and lying on top of Angel with a Wesley in his arms. Or maybe Wes was in Angel's arms, and Gunn was being cuddled. It was hard to tell.

There was a second where they all settled into the multi-headed cuddle blob, then Angel asked, "Nine?"

Gunn saw Wes give him an amused, very indulgent look that said nobody was getting his ass staked. In the bad way. Gunn decided he didn't really care. Wes and Angel could have it out if they wanted, or not. Gunn was cuddling.


There was a shoulder under his nose, and a doorbell in his ear. Angel was pretty sure some part of that was off somewhere, but he wasn't quite awake enough to figure out which. If he wasn't awake, it was probably a dream, so it'd be fine if he just nuzzled the shoulder and ignored the doorbell, right?

Apparently so, because the doorbell went away and the shoulder stayed where it was. Angel nuzzled, and recognized it as Wes' shoulder. That probably meant the body on the other side was Gunn, but he couldn't be sure without opening his eyes. Not that Angel thought it would be somebody *else* -- but there were a lot of body parts pressed up against his, and figuring out who belonged to which part was more than his asleep-self wanted to worry about.

He heard Gunn mutter something, and some body parts moved, but they didn't go anywhere. Angel smiled, and settled in to resume cuddling and sleeping without thinking of doorbells.

He heard a door open, and someone walked into the room.

"What the--"

Cordelia.

"Guys? Are you in-- Oh, eww!" He heard something being slammed down on one of the tables near the kitchen door, then nothing, for a second. Then, "What is that -- a carrot? Of course it's a carrot. Why do I even ask these things."

The telltale tap of an expensive paid-for-with-his-money shoe against the tile floor.

"Did I not tell you to -- did you not *promise* me would -- put a *sign* on the door next time you decided to have a party in here? I know I wasn't gonna to be here, but geez. You could have a little respect for the other guys. What if Angel and Wes get back from their date and want a snack, huh?"

It occurred to Angel that from where she was, Cordelia couldn't see them -- about the same time it occurred to him who she *thought* she was talking to. Angel poked whom he hoped was Wes. By rights, if the shoulder he was nuzzling was Wes', then the ribs he'd got his fingers on were Wes' as well.

"Go 'way!" Wesley called out sleepily -- in a passable imitation of Spike's accent.

Angel had to wonder for a second how Wes had managed to sound like Spike and still be that asleep -- when he woke up enough to realize Wes had probably faked the 'sleepily' part. He decided he'd still growl at Spike, later, for being around Wes enough for Wes to have picked up his accent -- and on general principles.

"Fine. I'm keeping the pizza, then." Cordelia turned around and walked out, kitchen door swinging shut behind her.

Wes growled softly. "Bugger. I'm hungry."

Angel decided he needed to get an alarm clock with the sound of Wes growling, because it was damn sure waking him up. Parts of him, anyway. "She didn't take the pizza," he whispered.

"What do-- she didn't?" That was Gunn, whispering too. "Why are we whispering?"

"I can smell it. And we're whispering because--"

"Someone who thinks he's a maitre-d might want to get that pizza," Wes whispered pointedly. "And why *are* we whispering?"

"No, don't." Angel put a hand back to hang on to the body parts that thought they were a maitre-d. "We're whispering because--"

The door swung open. "Oh, fine, you can keep your pizza; but only because I hate pepperoni. You guys owe me twenty-five fifty -- you're lucky I left my purse here in the first place, or the guy probably would've left while you were doing things with carrots. And... ParKay? Oh, eww, again. This place had *better* be clean in the morning."

The door slammed again, and Angel heard the paid-for-with-his-money heels clack down the hall and away.

"It's safe, now," he said, no longer whispering.

"Only until she comes back," Gunn pointed out.

Wesley cleared his throat, and Angel looked at him, relieved to see Wes was directing his imperial gaze on *Gunn*.

"Um..? Oh! Pizza!" Gunn scrambled to his knees and elbows, then fell over as he tried to extract his hand from somewhere.

"At this rate I'm going to starve," Wesley observed.

"Nah, you won't," Angel reassured him. When Wesley raised an eyebrow at him, Angel pulled at the edge of the other table they hadn't been using, earlier. A bag fell off it, after some finessing. "We have carrots."

Now the Look was firmly fixed on him. "They're stale. And..." Wesley's eyes drifted to the carrots. "Er. Carrots."

"Yeah?"

"Er..." This time Wesley's eyes stayed -- a little glassily -- on the bag of carrots. "But I'm hungry..."

"But it's more important to just be here with us, right?" Angel teased, since he was fairly sure he was going to Hell someday anyway, for the things he was thinking about how Wes looked right now.

There was a pause, and a shaky intake of breath, then Wes muttered, suddenly, dangerously awake, "Yes, of course you're right. How could I ever think of choosing food over you, my dearest Mort--"

"Gunn, go get the pizza."