Prayer of St. Francis
Angel the Series/Roswell
Beta by ely_jan
For marenfic ... who asked for Angel/Max for Christmas and helped inspire me with dreams I was already panting over.
Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred let me sow love,
where there is injury let me sow pardon,
where there doubt let me sow faith,
where there is despair let me sow hope,
where there is darkness let me give light,
where there is sadness let me give joy.
O divine master, grant that I may
not try to be comforted but to comfort,
not try to be understood but to understand,
not try to be loved but to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in forgiving that we are forgiven,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Set directly after Ats 3x6/Roswell 3x4
Los Angeles, California
Angel watched the blue ball of light move down the bare skin of his chest. It glowed between the hand of the boy and his own body. There was no heat where he thought there should be, there was no warmth coming from the bright shine and his eyes flickered up to the face just inches from his own. An inhale and Angel could taste the salt of the sweat that ran from the boy's hair to catch in the shadows of stubble on his jaw. His eyes were dark, full of mysteries that made him appear older than his years. His pupils blown wide and he shivered as the palm of his hand covered the wound where blood poured from Angel's abdomen.
"You don't have to-" Angel whispered.
Those eyes met his and Angel shuddered as he felt his skin knit closed. As he felt the cold sensation of loosing too much blood, too fast, ease and stop. Those black eyes staring into him and suddenly Angel knew that more was going on here, more than a simple healing. More was going on than this boy using some unearthly power to force his body to return to its uninjured state faster than it normally would.
A field of stars in Angel's mind, pictures of people in his head that he didn't know. A girl reached out to him, her eyes as dark as night. She was soft and young and Angel could taste her kisses, he could feel the core of strength in her as her features changed, her brunette hair turning blonde, her brown eyes became green and for a moment ... Buffy ... but, no, of course not. Not here. Not now. Not ever. Someone else.
Angel felt the pain fade and watched sweat run down the boy's face. So close he could smell it, familiar and different and unique and his mouth watered at the tease that flavored the oxygen around them. Too close and it had been too long and it had never happened.
His hand dropped away from Angel's abdomen and the boy fell to his knees, looking up to Angel's face. His eyes haunted and broken and Angel knew that look. He'd seen it too many times before, felt it too many times before. It cut him to the core and when he reached for Max, the boy pushed backwards away from him. Scooted on his hands and knees into the shadows and dark, but Angel could still see his eyes. Still feel the horror they held. He could hear the whisper that carried with an empty, hollow echo in the chapel.
"I saw you. I know you."
Angel glanced down at his abdomen. A hand print glowed there, silver in the gloom of the candles that tried and failed to combat the darkness of the sanctuary. The wound was gone, the pain disappeared and all that was left were pants soaked with his own blood and the hunger that gnawed and ached and never faded.
"I told you, Max. You didn't have to do this."
Another vision late at night. Cordelia called him from her apartment and Angel considered calling Wesley or Gunn, he even thought about waking Fred, but after everything they'd just been through ... the infected touch of Billy, the beatings and terror, Angel found himself reluctant to disturb his friends, to call for help. And besides, she had told him the vision wasn't that bad, a couple demons loose on the streets, looking for trouble. Trouble they would definitely find, if Angel didn't get moving. He pulled on pants, grabbed a shirt out of his wardrobe and tied his shoes. His coat billowed around his calves as he grabbed his sword from a cabinet and locked the doors to the hotel as he left.
Three hours later, Angel found himself in the sanctuary of a church. Blood poured from a wound in his abdomen and his sword, once shiny and clean was covered with scales and something green that he didn't even want to think about. His free arm draped over a boy who at once seemed steeped in guilt and shrouded in mystery. Candles burned in a shrine along the walls and the shadows from the flames flickered over stained glass windows. Angel was half-carried, half-lurched up to the front pew and he dropped down to it, his sword clattered on the wooden floor.
"This is bad."
The boy whispered and Angel forced himself to not look at the huge cross in front of him, even a glance made him feel as if his eyes were burning in their sockets. He focused instead on the dark hair in front of him, on the boy who knelt and carefully avoided the stained blade of the sword.
Angel slid his hand behind himself, brought it forward and grimaced at the blood that covered his fingers. Run through, he knew it before he saw the proof. He could feel the liquid that seeped down his back, the pain curved into a spiraling arch inside him and Angel stopped moving. He spoke through thin lips and bared teeth.
"I'll be fine. Just need something to stop the bleeding for a while."
"You're not going to be fine. You've been stabbed by a sword or a horn or a claw ... what were those things?"
Angel watched as the boy shrugged off his jacket and pulled his T-shirt over his head. He winced when the material was pressed around his wound and he reached out, put his fingers over the boy's shoulder to stop him. They had no time for this, dawn was coming. Angel could feel it in his bones. The ticking of a clock. The second hand in constant motion.
"Demons. They were demons. I will heal, I just need more time."
The boy sat back on his heels and Angel's fingers slipped from his shoulder and left a trail of his own blood behind.
"Demons." Those dark eyes found his again and Angel bit down on the hiss of pain that threatened to spill from his lips. There was no surprise in the deep brown, only curiosity and concern and fear.
"Demons. Not aliens?"
Then Angel did let out a soft moan, followed by the faintest of laughs.
"And you're a demon also?"
"A vampire. But I've got a soul. I'm trying to fix things. Trying to help."
The boy shook his head and a humorless smile curved his lips for a second before it faded away.
"I knew I shouldn't have come to LA by myself."
Angel nodded in agreement. He slid a little further down in the pew, tried to relax and let his body rest. The hunger stirred in him, spiking up, as his blood puddled on the hard wood underneath him.
"I need to get back home. Do you have a car around here?"
The boy nodded as his eyes flickered around the church. He looked over the candles, the cross, the stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Crucifixion on one side and Saints on the other.
"How can you be in here, if you're a vampire?"
"Angel. My name is Angel and I'm okay as long as I don't touch anything. Or look at anything too long, it seems. This is not someplace I go on a regular basis. Anymore."
"Max Evans and yeah, I'm with you on that one."
"Just take me home." Angel whispered and reached forward again. His fingers slipped in the blood that marked Max. His blood. Pain lanced up through Angel's body straight into his brain and he sat back against the hard wood of the pew. A fresh spill of blood soaked through Max's t-shirt and Angel shuddered. "Maybe not."
"I can fix this." Max reached toward Angel. His hand stopped when Angel's fingers wrapped around his wrist.
"I will heal." Angel grunted, squeezing down on the wet cotton.
"In time? Don't you have to be in a coffin or crypt or something by sunrise?"
Angel just looked at him. In too much pain to explain, too weak to argue Vampire mythology and reality with a boy raised on Hollywood nonsense.
"How can you help?"
Those dark eyes shuttered for a moment, head dipped down and when Max met Angel's eyes again there was nothing but bare honesty in the brown. Masks stripped away from both of them.
"I'm not from here ... Earth. Alien, you know? Healing is one of my gifts."
Angel moved on the pew, he sank lower until he leaned on his elbow. His fingers wet as he clutched the shirt to his abdomen. No choices left, only trust. Trust of someone he didn't even know, had never seen until thirty minutes ago. Someone that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Stumbling into the middle of a fight, distracting Angel just long enough that he was stabbed or gored with a demon sword, horn, claw. Whatever. It was in pieces now, dumped into the sewer. Angel was trapped in the predawn darkness in a church that would soon be filling up with humans. Trapped here, wounded and almost helpless ... with a teenager that believed he was an alien. Believed he was from another planet and had a gift, some power to heal him.
"Trust me, Angel."
"Then get to it, Max."
Angel could feel Angelus inside, rattling the bars of his cage as he watched Max slide closer on his knees. Self sacrifice, taking chances, insanity, they always woke the sleeping demon inside him and brought Angelus directly to the front. Held back only by the prison of his soul.
Angel watched Max's fingers shake as he reached for his ruined shirt, as he pulled it away from the wound.
"So much blood." Max whispered, his gaze taking in the messy, torn hole. "So cold."
"Do it, Max. We're running out of time."
Angel traced a drop of sweat on Max's temple as the boy closed his eyes. His palm near Angel's collarbone and it moved down slowly.
Now he sat, the pain gone, the wound gone. A glowing silver handprint just above his hipbone and Max in the dark, his back against the railing that surrounded the Communion table. His eyes open and unseeing and terrified. Angel sat up, put his feet under him and stood. He swayed from the loss of blood. The hunger raged inside him like a living thing and it was too late, too late. Time to go. Now.
His hand held out to the boy, Angel reached down and picked up Max's leather jacket.
"Come with me, Max."
Whether it was the command in his voice, the curving line of strength in his hand or the look in Angel's eyes, kindness and compassion, gratitude, Angel didn't know. It didn't matter, it worked. Max lifted his arm, their fingers caught and held and Angel pulled him to his feet. Angel soaked up the pool of blood on the pew with Max's shirt, stuck it in the pocket of his trench coat. Even though the sky remained dark, he could sense the sun's steady, inevitable approach.
"Where's your car?"
Angel carried Max up to his room and laid him on his bed. Halfway to the hotel, Max had passed out. Angel grabbed the wheel, slid over from the passenger side and brought the car to a stop. He hadn't tried yet to wake the boy, the sense of time slipping away had been too strong. Angel drove straight to the Hyperion and parked in the alley.
The sense of relief that swept through his body once he was inside was just short of an orgasm and Angel didn't pause in the lobby. He climbed the stairs, Max in his arms. Those dark eyes opened when his head hit the pillow. Angel felt Max's hand snap up and lock around his wrist with surprising strength.
"Don't tell. You can't tell." Max whispered.
"Who would I tell?"
Angel pried his arm loose from Max and stood up. He pulled his wet, torn shirt off. His slacks fell to the floor around his feet and Angel touched the silver lines of fingers and palm just above his hip.
Max shrugged on the bed, his eyes closing again.
"A day, maybe less." Max's voice was so quiet that Angel knew that it was only because of the demon within that he could hear him at all. His breathing slipped down into a slow, deep rhythm and Angel stepped forward, his bare feet silent on the thick carpeting of his suite. His body felt odd. Normal and different, his mind felt as though he'd been opened up, all his memories and secrets taken out and examined, put back in the right spots ... but left exposed. So much shared that standing naked in front of Max seemed perfectly natural. What did he have to hide? The hunger stirred in him, mixed with something new, something old, something Angel hadn't felt for a long, long time.
Attraction. Desire. Hunger. Want. Have. Take.
Simple, basic emotions that he normally kept buried and suddenly they were ruling his every movement. His every thought.
Angel leaned over Max and inhaled. His mouth open as air rushed past his lips, over his tongue, down his throat and into his lungs and his senses picked every molecule apart. Boy. Sun. Leather. Denim. Frustration. Fear. Strength. Loyalty. Family. Love. Smells that Angel could find on any random human male, some stronger than others, but Max ... there was more. There was something else. Something indefinable. Something like the forgotten flavor of candy and chocolate, like the darkest, richest blood as the scent played over his taste buds and curled inside of Angel like smoke.
Something that called to him like nothing he'd ever felt before.
Heat radiated in waves off of Max's neck and chest and Angel bent over him. His mouth skimmed the air only inches from Max's body and he jerked back when Max opened his eyes again and pushed away.
"Angelus. Yellow eyes, long teeth. You liked to hurt people for hours, you'd drain them so slow. They would beg you for death and you would coat yourself in their blood. Smear it over your chest and arms and hands. You killed families one by one, you made fathers choose which child would die first. You liked to save the girls for last and you turned the wives and then staked them in front of their husbands. You would stick hot irons into them just to warm the blood when they were so close to dying ... you would fuck Darla or Spike or Dru on top of their corpses. I know you ... I know you ... I know you."
"Max, that's not me. Not anymore." Angel almost recoiled at the hiss of Max's breath over his words. His skin crawled with the fingers of ghosts as they reached for him out of the past. Nails that scratched down his back.
"Yes it is. Yes it is, yes it is. Still in you, still there. I saw it all, I lived it all I tasted it all I killed them with you killed them killed them all and they scream at me, beg me, hate you, haunt me. Still in you, still you, still yo-"
Angel silenced Max the only way he could. He kissed him, pressed the shaking boy down into the mattress. Hands on Max's shoulders, his fingers dug in as Angel felt Max move, squirm, try to slide away.
"Not me." Angel pulled back and repeated the words. "Not anymore."
Max's eyes were wide and dark. Panic and fear contorted his face.
"You were Liam."
Angel nodded. "A long time ago."
"You loved, you love ... Buffy?"
Another nod, this one smaller, tighter.
"I have never seen anything like that before. Never healed anyone that has lived for so long. There's too much in my head, too much in yours. Too much pain. So much loss."
"I saw you too, Max." Angel didn't move away. He couldn't. He took little breaths between sentences just to taste the air that came off of Max in dizzying waves. "I saw you as a boy, saw the stars in the dark. I saw your friends, your family and a girl with dark, hair like this-" Angel touched the thick, short black strands that fell over Max's forehead. "Dark eyes, like this." His fingers moved to trace the fine bones of Max's temples and cheeks, down to Max's lips.
"I need ... I need to taste you, Max."
"Taste me? You mean, bite me? Drink my blood?"
Angel watched as Max pushed another inch away. Practically pressed himself back into the wood of the headboard in an effort to put more room between them.
"You can't turn me into one of you. I don't want to be a vampire."
Angel didn't move a muscle. He would have laughed if he wasn't still lost in the heat of Max's skin, in that unique smell that he couldn't get out of his mind. He sat rigid and tense on the edge of the bed and his eyes never left Max's.
"Trust me, Max."
Angel leaned down again, moving so slowly he could hear the tendons shift in his shoulders. His mouth a half an inch from Max's skin and he inhaled. The same rush of air filled him and the same tantalizing, indescribable taste was there.
"What are you doing?"
Angel didn't stop his slow glide down Max's chest. His fingers on the waist of Max's jeans, popping the buttons of the black denim.
"Breathing." Angel said as he pulled the jeans down to Max's knees in one movement, bringing Max down flat on his back at the same time.
His head moved up, over the boy's groin and to the indentation of muscles in the center of his chest to the hollow where his collarbone met at the base of his throat. Angel continued up, his mouth tasting the air that rose off of Max, his chin and jaw and there, yes, his lips. Finally taking that tiny space away and he touched Max finally. Angel's tongue slipped into the heat, skated over the smooth texture of his teeth. He felt the roof of Max's mouth, the ridges and bumps and he moved on the bed. Rested on his forearms and knees over Max. Soaked up the difference in temperature in the space that separated them. Angel slid down again, between Max's legs, his fingers lightly touched Max's hips and he licked the head of the semi-hard cock that was lying in front of him. Flavors exploding on his tongue, salt and heat, musk and innocence and age. Exotic. Alive.
Angel felt the ripple that moved through Max's body and smiled. He did it again, his fingers dug into taut skin. The sudden sheen of sweat, the opening of pores, the shiver and twist of Max's hips against Angel's palms as he sucked Max's cock into his mouth.
"Done this before. You've shown me this before. Done this with Spike and Penn and-"
Angel's head lifted at the sound of Max's voice and he couldn't stop the low growl that came from the back of his throat.
"Stop, Max. Stop. Just feel it. Let it take over. Let it save you."
Let it save me went unspoken.
Angel's fingers moved on Max's body, he held Max's cock in his hand and sucked on the head. Lightly dragged the blunt edge of his teeth over tender, sensitive skin. He listened to Max's heart speed up and closed his eyes, concentrating on the rhythm. Matching it. The growl in his throat turned to a deep hum and Angel felt Max's hands move to his head. Soft, hesitant brushes against his hair and then in it. Fingers that pressed harder as he sucked more and deeper and Max's hips came up off the mattress.
Angel left Max's groin with one long lick, his lips wet and red and his hands slid behind Max's thighs. Lifting his legs, bending his knees. Max's eyes opened and once again, Angel was struck by the fierce heat that they contained. The maturity that didn't fit with the face.
"You like it better when they're face down. Then they can be anyone. Everyone."
"No. He did. I like it better when I can see you. When I know it's you."
The head of Angel's cock rubbed behind Max's balls and Angel bent lower. His forehead brushed against Max's and Angel held the stare, kept the boy here with him. Angel refused to let Max drift through one more of the nightmares he carried alone. He pushed in, slick and slow, Angel let Max's body try to adjust and he nipped at the full, swollen bottom lip on the boy whose spine arched beneath him. Inhaled the breath that blew over his face in rapid heat, drank in the sounds that slipped from Max's throat, the high pitched whimpers.
Angel's cock moved in deeper, he resisted the urge to simply slam forward and fuck until it was over ... until he couldn't. Angel's head dipped lower, past Max's mouth to the stubble under his jaw. His lips scratched over stiff hairs until his nose brushed against soft and his tongue slipped from between his lips to lie flat over the steady, hard pulse of Max's heart. Angel's hands and arms slipped under Max's shoulders and his hips settled between Max's thighs. He drove in and out of the boy, rutting into him and Max answered every thrust with a gasp and a moan. Angel felt Max's fingers dig into his arms, his palms sweat-slick and hot and the soft butter of Max's skin as his teeth elongated and sharpened and blood spilled on his tongue.
Lightning crashed in Angel's mind. People talking to him that he didn't know. Helpless, scared, caught in a trap. Driving down a canyon road with a girl beside him in a car he didn't own, had never seen. Her smile was infectious, her laughter a salve over his pain. The sun shone down on them both and Angel held his hand up into the light, squinting in the heat that bathed him ... incredible ... unforgettable.
Angel opened his eyes, Max stared at him still, but this time there was peace in the brown, calm in the black. The air around them was glowing and Max pulled Angel deeper, closer. Angel felt Max's legs lift up around his hips and the satisfying kick of Max's heels on the backs of his thighs.
"Do it, Angel. Take us there."
Angel ducked his head, his mouth clamped down on the torn skin of Max's neck and he fucked and fucked and fucked. Friction and fire, skin slapping together and pulling apart. Sweat mixing and pheromones painting the oxygen with lust. Angel's hand slipped down between their abdomens and he jerked Max's cock, twisted it in time with his own rough movements until they were both coming. Spilling out over fingers and into tight places. Blood on their tongues and teeth and the bubble of unearthly light expanded over them.
Time slowed to a crawl and Max lifted one hand as Angel stopped moving. He traced blue fire down Angel's face to his neck to the skin and muscle and bone over his heart. This time, Angel felt the burn he expected and there was no pain, no guilt, no worry. For a moment, for a brief, motionless, fleeting second in his long life, there was no pain, no hate, no conscience.
There was only love.
"It may not beat, Angel. But it thrives."
Showered and dressed and gone. A wave at the door after a wide-eyed, impromptu tour of the hotel. Laughter and endless talking about everything and nothing. Families and memories and history and time and then Angel watched Max walk out in the bright sun of another day in Los Angeles.
Angel heated a coffee cup of blood in the microwave and climbed the stairs to his room. He paused in the dim hallway and lifted the un-tucked tail of his shirt. The silver hand print was gone, just as the boy was. The glow faded, the wounds healed. The purpose renewed.