For sockkpuppett who gave me the prompt.
Spoilers through Ats season 5/ Supernatural season 3
Beta by lostakasha *luffs hard*
And as always, thanks to tabaqui <3’s forevah.
They’d been at it since sundown. Empty bottles of beer in front of them, shot glasses stacked in carefully placed pyramids five high. Neither one of them anywhere close to being drunk, and Angel finally had to ask,
“Why are you here? Last time we met, you weren’t exactly friendly.”
They were an unlikely duo to find drinking together, even an out of the way dive like this. Sitting near the back, just close enough to the bar for unobtrusive service and near enough to an alley door that leaving quickly wouldn’t be a problem. One wore denim and leather, the other dressed in black linen and worn cotton, they seemed to be united in only the waves of hate and fear that came from the rest of the place, from demon and human customers alike.
Angel because of what he was and what he had been. Dean because of what he is and what he’s done. And Angel could already hear Spike’s snort of derision and amusement when he told him who with whom he’d been drinking.
Angel waited for Dean to finish his latest bottle of beer. Of course he’d heard the rumors; even being so far out of the loop that he didn’t have a permanent address hadn’t kept the whispers away. The Hunter had gotten himself in a bind. He’d found a demon to resurrect his brother and the clock was ticking down on his one year left above ground. That he was being sent to Hell as payment.
“I want you to tell me about it.”
Angel shook his head. He looked everywhere but across the table. He scanned the dismal crowd that kept a respectful distance away from their table. He felt the pulse of generic bar rock vibrate up through the warped floorboards into his shoes. He rummaged for the stray pack of cigarettes and lighter that Spike always managed to shove into a random pocket of his coat as if he knew that Angel would need them. Tapped a bent one out and rolled it between his fingers before he lit it. The nicotine did nothing for him of course, but the taste made him feel less alone. Even when he was.
“Sulphur. Fire. Loneliness. Pain. I don’t remember specifics, if that’s what you want.”
Dean reached across the table and grabbed the Marlboro out of Angel’s fingers. He took a deep drag, stifled the cough with a shrug.
“Nothing is gonna fucking matter in a month. And I call bullshit on that, but I’m not asking about Hell. I think I already know what that’s gonna be.”
Angel finally met Dean’s eyes and they were almost glowing alien green in the purposefully dim light of the bar. He took back his cigarette and for a moment he was reminded of someone else -- and another time, another life.
“Then what do you want from me?”
“Your soul. What’s it feel like to give it up?”
A few years ago, a question like that probably wouldn’t have produced a reaction from Angel. It probably wouldn’t have made him stab out the cigarette in the cracked plastic ashtray while his tongue licked back the smoke. It probably wouldn’t have made him turn from the man in front of him, toss more cash than what was owed to the bartender and walk out the back door into the alley, his long coat curling around his legs as he left without another word.
He might have had some long, philosophical discussion that included memories that while they still hurt, they didn’t relentlessly burn inside him. Make him feel hollow with grief and pain and loss and friends and lovers that were no longer here, that didn’t, that hadn’t haunted Angel like they did now.
“You do not want to follow me, boy.” Angel spoke without turning.
Facing the street in the dark, the city heat created a dawn fog that snaked around the corners of buildings and covered what could just be another crack in the asphalt and concrete of the city. Or where a dragon fell from the sky and was slain. Where death throes created pot holes and no one knew because Angel and Spike had moved the carcass to the hills and even dead dragon meat from other dimensions was good enough for the scavengers here.
And after all the fires burnt down, after the buildings were gutted and restored or destroyed and rebuilt, no one asked why or how or what.
No one knew but Angel and his epic pain. Spike and his drunken, poetic, violent glory. And Illyria, wherever she might be now, in whatever world or dimension she fled.
“I need to know.”
Irrational fury filled Angel as he stood in the alley facing the empty street. Knowing Dean was right behind him and Angel deliberately cut his bottom lip on the deadly sharp of his teeth. Reveled in the minor pain as he kept the change from becoming complete, muscles bunched beneath his clothes and he looked up to the brick buildings that rose on either side of them. Calculated the jump that would take him away from this human.
“Can I still be who I am without a soul?”
Angel spat blood into the gravel and dirt of the alley and turned around. Still silent and though he knew he hadn’t become the demon hiding inside him, he could see the human reaction to the predator that he couldn’t hide track over Dean’s face, through his eyes. And the way the Hunter pushed that instinctive need for action aside – to run, to fight, to kill - made Angel back down from the tension that filled him.
Angel walked forward two steps and there was no space between them. He stood, looked down at Dean. He walked around the shorter man, not fooled by the difference in their bodies. He’d been badly hurt by someone a lot smaller than Dean, more than once. Hell, for over two hundred years Spike punched him whenever the urge presented itself. Sometimes, especially lately, just for the fun of it.
“You’ve got less than thirty days left and you want to spend this night with me. Talking about the value of your soul? And what happens, what will happen when you don’t have one?”
Dean didn’t flinch. Didn’t move. Angel counted Dean’s shallow breaths; the heart beat that pounded slow and steady while he waited for an answer.
“You’re the only demon I know that doesn’t have a reason to lie to me. So yeah, I came to you, Angel.”
Angel’s hand was on Dean’s face before he even realized it. Dean’s eyes looked gray in the streetlight, the moon pale above them, the stars unseen through the haze of the city. The night leeched the color from everything and left only harsh shadows and blood that ran black. Screams that went unheard.
“Four years ago I could have helped you. Hell, I probably had the demon that has your soul under contract on speed dial. I could have done something to change what is going to happen to you and now all I can do is watch.”
Angel’s thumb slid over stubble and skin to touch Dean’s bottom lip and then the vampire stepped away. Turned and walked out of the alley, pausing only once to look back,
Angel took Dean through the streets. Leading, although he didn’t really know where they were going. He had no great plan anymore, no destiny, and no desire to do anything at all but survive each night. They walked through another long alley, this one with trees on one side and the backs of buildings on the other. None of the bums asleep on cut cardboard taken from dumpsters stirred as they moved past, Dean was almost as unnaturally quiet as Angel, as instinctively careful and reserved. The shoes they wore made no sound on gravel and broken glass.
Angel spoke so low that he wasn’t sure Dean could hear him. He was sure that didn’t want to hear his own voice.
“This city isn’t different from any other. On one side you have the people with money and power, on the other you have the ones with nothing at all. Nothing but what they can carry, nothing but what they wear. What they can hide.”
There was a break between the buildings to their left and through it they could see a couple arguing under the white grey glow of a street light. A pimp and his whore, fighting over money or services, his share or hers, it didn’t matter.
The girl was small, blonde. Painted nails that flickered in the dark as she gestured and yelled and Angel felt the pain of memories that should have remained buried inside him. The man was tall, dressed in leather and denim and when he lifted his arm to hit her, Angel restrained Dean as he tried to step forward. His fingers sank into the worn flannel and cotton and leather at the nape of Dean’s neck.
“You can’t help her. I can’t. She doesn’t want to be saved and even if she did, without a soul you would not care. The people in their mansions and castles, behind security codes and alarms just steps away turn up their televisions and go on with their lives when voices are raised, when screams carry through the night. They don’t call for help; they don’t look out their windows. Even with their souls they don’t care and you won’t either.”
Defeat danced over his face as he remembered when he wouldn’t have hesitated to step into the fight. When he would have been inevitably hurt by the whore’s acceptance of her role and her indignation at his interference in her life and all he had ever wanted to do was help. Until now.
He turned to the right, pulled Dean with him, not needing the weak light to see into the shadows of the perfectly manicured backyards behind fences of wood and stone, the smell of chlorine and money on the air. His hand remained on Dean’s collar, on his neck, on his skin. It was so very warm there.
“And when the sound comes from this direction - when this husband beats his wife, rapes his daughter, scars his son where it will never show -- when this woman burns her baby because it’s the nanny’s night off and she doesn’t know how to bathe her own child -- do you think that the homeless rush to the nearest payphone? No,” Angel sighed. A needless breath. “They don’t move, they do nothing but cover themselves against the chill of the night and sleep on.”
“I’m not stupid, Angel.”
Dean jerked, tried to move away, but Angel’s grip on the back of his collar was firm.
“You will be.”
“This is not helping.” Angel heard the whisper as he lead Dean from the alley and back out into the streets of LA. He couldn’t stop laughing and he moved fast, not really caring if Dean kept up. Actually kind of hoping that when he stopped, the Hunter would not be there behind him. Briefly wondering when he had become so phobic about involvement and then remembering why. Again and forever and the laughter died.
On an empty street where the only sounds came from blocks away, wind moved a piece of paper until it caught on the rusted bumper of an abandoned car. A skinny cat moved along the wide sidewalk, stayed beside a building as though even here there was some fear of being kicked or stepped on or ran over.
Angel paused as he always did, taking in the night. Looked to see if anyone looked back. They moved about once a month. Randomly chose places that had been forgotten by the city around them. But he never felt safe. Never slept more than two hours at a time. Never came back from the same direction.
And now he was leading a Hunter back to their temporary home. Spike would laugh at the irony of it. Angel simply ignored the seemingly suicidal wish in his brain.
He followed the cat, stopping in the middle of the sidewalk and he jumped straight up without looking, hands wrapped around the lowest rung of a broken fire escape just over ten feet from the ground. Hooked his feet through it and bent back down, arm extended. Dean stood there, under him.
“Come on, boy. Act like you want it.”
Angel watched with no emotion on his face as Dean shook his head and he was certain, for a moment, that this would make him leave. That this would get him off the Hunter’s trail and yeah, Spike would be pissed that they’d have to move before dawn again, they’d have to take the sewer tunnels and Angel would have to listen to Spike bitch and moan and take a few hits before Spike got over it but Dean simply walked to the center of the street, looked both ways as if he was still five and ran back.
Angel caught Dean around the wrist with one hand and pulled him up quickly enough to avoid jerking the Hunter’s arm out of joint. One smooth motion that had Dean on the ladder above him, looking down. Angel pointed up.
“Middle window to the right. Don’t think Spike’s there, but keep sharp. He doesn’t ask questions first.”
Dean smirked at Angel and started climbing. He pushed past the heavy blinds that covered the open, broken window and Angel paused before following. He didn’t hear anything, but that didn’t mean that Dean wasn’t already dead. Spike was as fast as he could be and, of course, that was something Angel would never tell him.
“You live here?”
Dean looked around in the gloom, the only light came from outside and Angel shrugged. Spike wasn’t home, obviously.
“Had a penthouse. Didn’t like the cost.”
A mattress along the wall furthest from the covered windows. A couple bottles of whiskey and one of scotch. An overflowed ashtray and a pile of stolen books that Angel pretended to read when Spike was in one of his moods, that he really did read when the sun was too high and sleep wouldn’t come for the tenth day in a row. When there wasn’t enough alcohol in the room or in the world.
Dean pulled one blind all the way up, waved his arm to keep the thick, disturbed dust out of his lungs. He sat on the window frame after checking for stray glass. His gaze down on the floor, his forearms on his knees.
“You can’t help me.”
Angel leaned on the bare wall nearest Dean. Back against the broken plaster and faded paint.
“I believe I said that at the very beginning of this conversation.”
“Then what? What should I do, Angel? What can I do?”
Angel moved. So quickly that he knew Dean couldn’t track him and he was in front of the Hunter before Dean could comprehend that anything had changed. He stood just a breath away as if he’d always been there, hand on Dean’s shirt, fist curled in the soft material. Slow inhale through his mouth to taste the sweat that evaporated from the human’s skin.
“There is nothing you can do, Dean.”
He pulled Dean away from the open window, instinctively tugged down the blinds. He took Dean over to the far wall, fingers moved through the collection of too-many buttons on Dean’s shirt. Palms itched to feel the heat he could sense. He could almost taste.
“It’s waiting for all of us. Hell. Judgment. Perdition. Whatever you want to call it, it comes for us and we always have to go before we’re ready.”
Dry lips on skin. Angel didn’t even pretend that the first place he wanted to taste on Dean was his neck. The wet curve just above the Hunter’s shoulder. The spot where he could lap up salt and still count every beat of Dean’s heart. And it was no longer steady and calm, which made Angel smile in the dark.
Plaster crumbled and stuck on sweat as Angel stripped Dean. Pulled shirt and jacket off, hands reached for jeans when he felt Dean’s fingers on his shoulders.
“Do I look for you when I come back? Should I come for you when I’m not human anymore? Would you know me if I had another face?”
Angel licked his way down Dean’s chest, down his abdomen to where their hands tangled over denim and metal. He kissed the largest knuckle of Dean’s right hand with a reverence that he previously had only given to pretty blond girls that were about to die by his hands or by destiny.
“I would know you. I will know you. Forever.”
The hands on his shoulders moved to his head and Angel unbuttoned Dean’s jeans. He slid them down Dean’s thighs, his knees, to his ankles and he never took his eyes off Dean’s groin. Off his cock. One long lap from the head to the base and Angel knew he was growling. He could hear it, feel it. The purring vibration deep down in his chest. The demon inside him pushed on the bars of its cage; it made his eyes glow gold past long lashes in the dark.
Heartbeat. Breath. Sweat and precome and the smell of life. The pure essence of humanity in front of him. All that he wanted and all that he gave away and all that he would never have again. Dinner and dreams and sex; in one pretty package.
A turn of Angel’s head, his open mouth on Dean’s bare thigh and the slow trickle of blood from where his teeth cut. Curve of his tongue to let the droplets pool and gather. Angel’s body reacted to what it craved. Hot, fast, unneeded breaths that only fueled the hunger, fingers bruised Dean’s hips as Angel pushed him back tighter against the dry wall and Dean’s grip tightened on his head.
“Will you turn me? Would that save me?”
Angel swallowed the blood in his mouth. He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against Dean’s thigh. A hard shudder ran through him, worked up from his toes to his neck and he bit his own lips to keep his mind here. Now.
“I don’t do that anymore.”
“I don’t want to die.”
Angel looked up and pulled Dean down on the naked mattress with him. On their knees, face to face.
“No one does.”
The sex was slow, careful. Neither one of them completely sure of the other. Angel bent Dean down after the Hunter unbuttoned Angel’s shirt, unbuckled his belt, unzipped his pants. Heels on spines, knees over shoulders; inarticulate, gasped words swallowed by lips dipped in sweat and salt.
Slick slide of cocks together, Angel’s fingers pressed inside Dean. Quiet sigh of reverence at the explosion of warmth that Angel swore he could feel all the way down where it coiled and expanded in the small of his back, in his chest, in his groin, in his balls.
A kiss that lasted until Dean’s chest hitched, his lungs starved for oxygen. Angel couldn’t get enough of Dean’s mouth. The thick, full soft way Dean’s lips molded to his and Angel almost felt bad when his extended canines sliced thin cuts over them.
Angel felt Dean claw his back. Blunt, broken fingernails dragged over skin and Angel - blood and come on his tongue - rolled Dean on top of him. Dean’s chest shimmered in the pale glow that came through the slatted blinds as Angel watched him catch his breath. Dean pinned Angel down, his callused hands pressed Angel’s wrists to the floor. The vampire stared back, his vision crystal clear in the dark.
“There’s gotta be something, someone.”
… Whistler … the Furies … the Oracles … Wesley … the Powers … Illyria … Watcher’s Council … Buffy … fuck, even Lindsey …
There was no one left. Angel had no remaining connections to anything or anyone. All there was left was Spike and him, and they stayed under the radar.
Angel’s silence seemed to answer Dean and Angel didn’t move as Dean shrugged, fingers pinching his wrists as if he was actually being restrained. Strong weight on his hips, heat flooded his body as he absorbed the practically tangible waves that flowed from Dean. The pure fire of Dean’s soul, burning so brightly that Angel believed he could see it.
“At least gimme some advice.”
Angel pulled one arm free of Dean’s tight grip. He lifted his hand up to Dean’s face, fingers slid over cheekbone, ear, and short brush of silken hair to cup the back of Dean’s neck. Angel didn’t feel any tears. He didn’t expect to.
“Don’t wander off in the dark with a blond vampire masquerading as a courtesan. Don’t kill a Gypsy’s daughter. Don’t fall in love with a Slayer. Don’t try to open a gateway to Hell. Don’t ever make any sort of deals with evil law firms. Don’t believe every prophecy you’re told. And Spike would tell you to never wear any form of jewelry. ”
There was a moment of complete silence where Angel couldn’t even hear Dean take a breath and then the slow gather of laughter between them. Quiet and harsh without a shred of humor behind the glimmer of teeth bared in half smiles.
Angel’s free hand slid from the back of Dean’s neck down the smooth expanse of his chest to find the hard heat of Dean’s cock. His fingers wrapped tight around, thumb grazed the head and the sound in the room turned to low groans.
“I can only tell you what you already know. Take whatever pleasure you can, when you can find it. Where you can find it.”
Dean leaned down closer and Angel closed his eyes as he felt that hot, pretty mouth leave a trail of wet from just under his jaw to the center of his chest. A hard bite from dull, human teeth and hands under his thighs, lifting them. Spreading him wide.
“I think I’ll start here.”
My soul is full of whispered song,—
My blindness is my sight;
The shadows that I feared so long
Are full of life and light.
Alice Cary ~ Dying Hymn
What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined … to strengthen each other … to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories.