Summary: Sometimes you need to fall with someone.
“And you think you’re better now/You think you’re over it/I can see from the look on your face/You’re a long way off/Pride it always comes/Before a fall–“ –Kosheen, “Pride”
This is the fourth scotch I’ve had in an hour and I’m still not feeling it. I hate when that happens, but I’m still too pissed off to feel a damn thing besides the desire to find a dull knife and gut Gavin Park. Preferably while he’s still alive.
Fucking, fucking world.
After I gut Gavin, I want to find Angel and chain him to a wall in a little room with southern exposure. I think I’ll spend the night before playing with his ruggedly handsome face, a bottle of holy water, and a couple of solid silver crosses. I bet he scars nicely. I think I’ll have the screams taped to put me to sleep at night.
I hate men. To hell with all of them. Gavin, Angel, Linwood, Lindsey, all of them can fuck off for all I care.
And whom to my wondering eye should appear but the man who screwed us all over and his lovely new scar? Indeed, it’s the man himself, Mr. Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, almost smothered with a pillow by our mutual friend Angel.
The booze isn’t working–so why not a little witty repartee at someone else’s expense?
I take my glass and myself over to the lonely barstool where he stares into something that looks like gin. Never could stand the stuff. Too cheap and smells terrible.
“This seat taken?” I ask, sitting down next to him.
He looks up at me, the feeling completely bled out of his eyes. Not so much the prim and proper Brit we have so much–so very much–paperwork on. More jagged, rough-edged. Angry. Obviously.
“Go away,” he rasps.
“Don’t worry, I’m not here to ask you about Angel.”
“Go away,” he replies.
“I’m buying,” I say.
He looks at me again with those eyes and I realize that the annoyance that’s been driving me out of my skin has settled down to a low buzz. Very, very interesting. I was just looking for someone to make cheap shots at–but maybe not.
“All right,” he says. “Buy.”
I laugh. “Aren’t we grim and disaffected?” I say. “Look, I hate the world just as much as you do right now, so to hell with all the witty evil versus good banter bullshit. Let’s drink.”
He raises his glass and gulps the entire thing down in one fell swoop, inclining his glass to me in an ironic salute.
“Fuck the world,” he mutters. “Let’s drink.”
We drink. He orders gimlets. I drink scotch straight. He thinks that’s amusing, I can tell by the way he lifts his eyebrow. The pissed off has sort of shifted away. I still want to kill and maim all the annoying bastards in my life–but not yet. Later.
“You know what I hate?” I say, feeling the first scotch slowly creep into my bloodstream. “I hate people. I hate how they lie.”
He laughs–sort of. It sounds more like a death rattle to me. “And you don’t lie?”
“I don’t. Well, I do, but not about myself,” I clarify. “I know who I am. And I don’t–I do–I still hate people. How they pretend. How they pretend to be players when they are selfish peons who know nothing except how to be smug, wretched, tattletale motherfuckers.”
“Self-righteous,” he says in a husky voice. “Worst of all.”
“I hate them,” I say, feeling petty and fifteen and strangely delighted to find someone to bitch with. “All of ’em should kiss my ass.”
“And a lovely and toned ass it is at that,” he replies, taking another slug of his gimlet.
I realize that he hasn’t been talking much–and possibly not because he doesn’t want to talk. The scar, in all its searing red glory, is glaring at me along with his stubble. I doubt he’s touched a razor since that night. Probably never would again. I wouldn’t. Except I might. I love scars, when they’re not on me.
“Does it hurt?” I ask, apropos of nothing.
“Can I touch it?”
“If you’d like.”
I reach out and run my fingers down the puckered skin–it’s really not even a scar yet, more of a healing wound that could bleed if I decided to scratch it. I don’t. I feel the texture, strangely enticed by the idea of licking it. I’m not sure if that’s the scotch talking or the dark side.
“I like it,” I say. “Strange but true.”
He doesn’t say anything, but instead takes my hand in his and starts looking at the fingernails. They’re all perfect ovals, no polish, just a biweekly buffing given to me by a nice woman who doesn’t speak a word of English. He can see his reflection in them–I had them buffed and filed at lunch today, before the great snafu of bug-ness. The main reason I hate all people.
“What do you want?” he asks, his thumb sliding across my fingernails.
“I want everyone I hate to die while I watch,” I say, quite serious about that. “I want to be not afraid to go to sleep. I want someone to understand why I hate people. I want you to come home with me.”
He looks at me thoughtfully. And I don’t even know what he’s been doing–how he got that scar, what drove him to take Angel’s son away, what was going through his mind when he first thought of the plan, why his eyes glow with nothing but despair. I don’t know. But I want him. Because he understands how it is to have nothing to lose, everything to gain, and nowhere to go at the end of the day but to the bottom of a glass.
“You’d betray me in the morning,” he whispers gently, squeezing my hand tightly.
“You’d do the same thing,” I reply. “Come with me.”
And he does.
The cab ride is silent. We don’t touch, but we keep trying to look at each other when the other isn’t looking. I think we’re trying to figure out why. Why this, why now, why knowing that it’s going to be just tonight. All I can come up with is that we both know that the world is a nightmare in ways that everyone else can only imagine. Also, our mutual hatred of Angel and Wolfram and Hart might play into it.
Fucking world and fucking Angel and Gavin and everyone else. We know and the knowing demands…something.
The silent not-touching continues until we get to my door and I drop my keys on accident. I kneel down to pick them up and suddenly the formerly meek little British research guy has me pushed up against the door, the keys a lump on my shoe as his mouth presses against mine, hard and bitter and almost violent. I grab him by the collar and pull him closer, pressing into my body, breast to chest, hip to hip. His hand is pushing up my skirt, fumbling with the fabric.
He smells like sweat and gin and lime juice. Also blood and possibly that dusty smell that comes from living with books. Files and Records has the same smell. Not nearly as good a kisser, though.
His mouth pulls away from mine for a moment.
“Make it hurt,” I say. The back of my head slams into the door. It hurts like hell and it’s driving me crazy. I want him. I want to hurt him. In the hallway. In my bed. But the hallway first.
His fingers are on my blouse and before I can say DKNY, the buttons are rolling on the floor as jacket and top fall onto the keys and shoes. I pull at his shirt, the clothing imbalance starting to get to me. He pulled his shirt off impatiently, not really looking at me. Just my hands.
Hands that are sliding inside pants hands everywhere like there are lips everywhere, rougher kisses, stubble burning against my neck. He finds the spot where Angel-not-Angel bit down and I arch my back and slide my fingernails up his. Then I dig in and pull down as he pushes himself against me hard, entendre intended. He growls. It could be a moan. I’m not sure.
His hand is on my wrist. I think he might try to break it as he slams it against the wall. My mouth presses hard against his and I can feel his teeth against mine. I know this has been on my mind a while, but I really want to fuck him now. Possibly not in the hallway, but wherever I can get it.
We come up for air.
“Inside?” he asks.
We fumble-fall inside the apartment and despite the fact that the couch is genuine Italian leather and really fucking expensive, we’re on it, falling, fallen, my body sinking into the pillows as my skirt and remaining underwear ends up somewhere over the coffee table and his clothes disappear elsewhere. I’m still wearing my bra. I kind of like that.
Leg over the couch, yes, like that, just like that, arch up, push forward and FUCK yes.
Fuck yes. I find his shoulder with my teeth and graze it lightly with my teeth. Don’t break the skin yet. His hips are bony. They slam into mine and I match every thrust and the impact is sharp and slightly painful.
I’m not doing much thinking after that. Who thinks during sex? Good sex and yes
He’s got technique.
He’s good with the pain.
I break the skin when I come, biting down hard so that I can taste the metallic bittersweet of blood. Dangerous, maybe. I know a shaman. Worth the trouble. He moans and I can tell it’s a moan.
Then he grabs both of my wrists and pulls them over my head and now it really does hurt. Bastard. Fucking bastard. I twist my hands back and forth and grin at him to show that I’m not gonna crack. I want to hurt more than he does.
God, I needed this.
And then there’s more non-thinking.
He kisses me after he gets off, about two seconds after I come again. It’s so sweet that I almost think he’s gone crazy. Then I realize he was already crazy and by the time I come up with something to say, he’s headed toward my shower.
I touch my neck. No scars. Would I scar nicely? I’ve never tried it– there are always shamans and sorcerers and cosmetologists and dermatologists to stop that from happening.
I think about it because I won’t let it happen. But I might want it to.
The way I might want him again. But I won’t let it happen. Because once is an accident. Twice gives him the power. And that’s not going to happen.
Just the wondering and the game.