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Watching Angel and Lindsey interact was like watching a porno with the wrong soundtrack. First the come-hither eyes, then the slow sex-walk up to each other, the eye-fucking and leaning closer… except what came out of their mouths were threats and insults.

And afterward, Angel would manhandle Spike onto the nearest flat surface and fuck him raw. Not that Spike didn’t mind that now and then, but he was getting tired of Angel talking about Lindsey the whole time he did it. Made a vamp feel like a stand-in, and that was NOT Spike’s cup of tea.

Suggesting that Angel just get it over and proposition the cowboy didn’t go well, resulting in a lot of property damage and Spike not getting shagged. “It’s not a displacement activity!” Angel insisted, and then lied that he wasn’t turned on.

Like Angel furiously wanking in the shower was going to help Spike any. Fortunately, he had another avenue to explore. He got on well with Lindsey, since they both decided “I betrayed you and played you in an evil plot” was trumped by “I’m the only one here who knows how to have a good time and has the time to do it.”

Sitting down to play Crash Bandicoot with Lindsey, Spike decided to go subtle, so he mildly suggested, “Why don’t you fuck the big pillock already?”

Lindsey sputtered beer all over the controller and they had to turn the system off to dry it.

“Okay, first off, I ain’t gay. And if I was, there is no one on this earth I would be less interested in screwing than that self-important, self-serving bastard.”

“Right. Is that why you call every boss-monster ‘Angel’?”

“Fuck you. I’m not naming them. His name just slips in when I cuss.”

Spike leaned back and sipped his beer, watching Lindsey scowl in annoyance at the television, mouthing curses and biting his lip every time “Angel” tried to pop out. Spike decided that he'd never seen a more intractable denial, and he wasn't going to have peace until the unresolved sexual tension resolved.

He knew immediately who to recruit to help.

***

"They haven't?" Fred gasped, eyebrows touching her hairline. "Ever?"

"Cowboy thinks he's a zero on the Kinsey scale." Spike shrugged and picked up a random, delicate piece of equipment off Fred's workbench. "And Peaches just thinks he's too virtuous to bang lawyers, or something. They need a push." Spike looked thoughtful, tossing the etheric spectometer lightly. "Or chains. Handcuffs, maybe."

Fred snatched the spectrometer back and quickly checked that the mithril filaments were still in place before setting it down. "You're over-thinking. Let's just get them out on the same mission, alone together."

Spike raised an eyebrow. "They've never done that?"

Fred frowned. "There was this one time..." She paced. "Maybe you're right about the chains."

"If only we could get them both naked, then trip Lindsey onto Angel's cock," Spike slouched against the counter. "That'd work."

Fred tried to hide her laugh with a stern look, and failed. "Be serious."

"Well, you're the brains! What do you suggest?"

Fred's look turned sly. "Actually... you're right, nudity is an important starting point. I think I might have something that will work..." she sorted through the various bizarre and scientific things on her workbench. "We're going to need to get Lorne and Wesley involved."

"The more the merrier!" Spike clapped his hands. "The more people Peaches will feel embarrassed in front of!"

Fred once again failed to look disapproving. “Here’s what we do…”

***

Angel started the evening in such a good mood. Wes had come to him with a sweet mission – a rare tome he needed to avert an apocalypse, held in a cavern full of kobolds – dog monsters. Angel liked kobolds. They were fast and tenacious and easy to kill. No moral quandaries, no complicated rituals, just kill, grab, and go. Angel felt downright gleeful as he selected his weapons.

Then Lorne had come in. “I have some bad news, Angelcakes. There’s a curse on the cave. No one can enter it with intent to steal the big book.”

Angel tried not to pout as he set down the short-sword he was testing out for balance. “Let me guess, I need a big, complicated ritual? Something with pages of Latin and burning pig dung?”

“Yes, but! You’re in luck.” Lorne held out a brocade-covered box. “Wesley did all the pig-dung chanting for you.”

Angel opened the box to find two talismans on leather cords, a sun and a moon, both cast in pewter. He frowned. “These look like cheap hippie jewelry.”

“I don’t know how the engine works, sweetie, I just know where you put the key.” Lorne set his green hand over Angel’s. “They have to be worn by two opposites. We figure, one vampire, one live boy.”

“I’ll get Gunn.”

“He’s in court,” Lorne said, a little too fast. “And there’s a catch.”

Angel sighed. There was always a catch. “Just tell me I don’t have to sing.”

Lorne patted his hand. “You weren’t that bad. But no. Thank god.” He smiled. “Once the talismans are on, you can’t get more than one foot away from the other wearer, or the spell goes poof.”

Angel’s jaw set in a firm line. “One foot? We’ll have to be practically touching all the time to make sure.”

“Got it in one, sweetpea. But never fear, Lindsey’s agreed to…”

“Oh come on!” Angel almost dumped the talismans out of the box as he jerked back angrily from Lorne.

Lorne put on his best stern face. “It’s an apocalypse. Surely you can put up with the little guy for the hour it takes to get this magic book. You weren’t going out there just to have fun making slashy noises with your sword.”

Angel couldn’t fight against Lorne with his stern face. Lorne had never steered him wrong, and was always the best at pointing out when he wasn’t acting as adult as a 250-year-old should. He sighed. “Just tell me I don’t have to drive the miscreant there.”

“Linds is already in route to the cave. You can put your matching jewelry on right at the cave entrance and save some togetherness time.”

Angel looked down at his sword. There went fun-time. Why was being a hero so often a lot like work? He tucked the talisman box in his coat pocket and picked up his favorite axe. “I’ll be back in about an hour, I hope.”

“Go get ‘em tiger!”

***

Lorne watched the viper pull out of the parking garage from the windows in Fred’s lab. “I hate lying. Why did you have to make me do that?”

“Angel trusts you,” Fred said.

Gunn nodded, and cracked a big smile. “And none of the rest of us could have gotten through it with a straight face.”

Fred and Gunn and Spike dissolved into laughter, then. Lorne sighed, feeling like the only adult at Wolfram and Hart, and not for the first time. And he drank during work hours. “Well, I suppose it’s for the good of humanity,” he said.

Spike wiped a tear from his eye and clapped a hand on Lorne’s shoulder. “Not that I’m disagreeing, mate, but it’s hardly the good of humanity. Mostly the good of my bloody peace and quiet.”

“Lindsey’s singing aura was getting downright TENSE, and driving him sharp. I can’t abide ruining a beautiful thing like that.”

***

Lindsey scowled as the penis-compensation-mobile pulled up in a cloud of dust and the world’s only midlife crisis vampire got out. It felt like a set-up. How could there be no other warm-blooded human they trusted to play sidekick on this mission? But it had come from Lorne, and Lindsey trusted him. Besides, as Lorne had so truthfully pointed out, Angel was going to hate this even more than Lindsey did, so Lindsey had made the decision to put his own annoyance aside and simply enjoy the view of Angel’s annoyance.

He fixed a sunny smile on his face as Angel approached, which, as planned, made Angel scowl even worse. “Put this on.” Angel shoved the sun charm at him.

Lindsey shook out the leather cord but paused before ducking his head into it. “How is this going to work?”

“You concentrate on staying one foot from me. I’ll slay the monsters.” Angel hefted his sword, frowned bitterly, and put his own charm on.

They bumped into each other stepping toward the cave entrance. It wasn’t an auspicious start. Neither wanted the other at his back so they proceeded side-by-side, though the cave entrance was only barely wide enough to admit both of them.

Lindsey held his sword and felt Angel’s presence, just touching now and then, leather against his sleeve. It wasn’t nice at all! Well, okay, it was a little nice. He was finally where he wanted to be – working alongside the good guys, a regular hero.

Though the cave was just a tunnel of dirt so far, sandy walls and floor, hairy clumps of roots, the light from the entrance slowly fading around them. “I thought there were supposed to be monsters,” Lindsey said.

“Kobolds,” Angel said, sounding disappointed. He poked his sword at some roots.

“Well, maybe they were wro-“

That’s when the dog-faced midgets in ren fair armor attacked.

They kept back-to-back. Lindsey made sure to keep himself in contact with Angel though it meant ducking a lot as Angel swung wildly. They shuffled together through the yipping, snarling dog-monsters. The creatures had small swords and shields, but didn’t seem to make any contact with either as Lindsey sliced through them. He smiled. They were kicking kobold ass! They couldn’t get a finger on them.

Then he nearly face-planted as Angel slammed him in the back on a back-swing. “Watch it!” Lindsey windmilled, grabbing hold of Angel’s jacket to keep close. His face got a little too close for comfort to one of the slobbering dog-snouts.

As he straightened and Angel whirled, obviously forgetting that they had to stay close together, he caught sight of a doorway, clean and square in the uneven cave wall. It was hung with strips of cloth through which a golden light shone.

“This way,” Lindsey shouted, tugging on Angel.

Angel, super-strong and focused on killing dog-things, didn’t budge. Lindsey grabbed a double handful of leather coat and pulled. A seam ripped. Angel turned with a growl, vamped out.

“You want to fight dogs all day, champ? Or do you want to actually get this mission done?” Lindsey jerked a thumb back at the door.

Angel looked back at the snarling, yapping dogs, and then at Lindsey, and with a gruff exhale, grabbed Lindsey and shoved him ahead through the door.

The strips of fabric were sticky and wet, slapping Lindsey’s face and pulling his hair as they barreled through.

They turned as one to face the way they’d come, swords ready to attack the following monsters. The wet strips of fabric swayed, but nothing showed behind them but darkness.

Lindsey straightened out of his fighting stance first and looked around the plain room. It was walled in cinder-block, with pipes overhead. It smelled and looked like a basement storeroom, except for the velvet-draped altar at the far end, with a leather-bound tome on a stand in the center, surrounded by candles.

Lindsey took a step toward it. “So, we just take it? We don’t need to, like, chant something first?”

“We just grab it,” Angel said, lowering his sword. He grabbed Lindsey’s shoulder as he stepped past him, and the shoulder-seam came undone under his hand. Angel paused to gloat at the revenge for his coat, and then went to pick up the book.

Lindsey cursed, trying to get his sleeve back up on his shoulder. “What the hell?” The fabric of his shirt was dissolving under his fingers. “Angel!” He grabbed the tail of Angel’s coat, to stop him from stepping too far away, and the coat came off, falling to the ground in an untidy heap.

Angel grabbed Lindsey by the throat. “I liked that coat,” he said.

Lindsey kicked Angel’s shin, and his shoe tore through the fabric of Angel’s slacks. In a few seconds of struggling, Lindsey’s shirt fell completely away and Angel’s sleeves tore. Lindsey wriggled, dropped, and barreled into Angel’s middle, knocking him into the altar. Candles dropped and hissed out in pools of molten wax. They rolled together over the gritty concrete floor, leaving ragged swaths of fabric in their wake.

Lindsey somehow ended up on top. “Will you just stop and think?” He grabbed Angel’s wrists and held them, trying to stop the fight. “Something was on that doorway. It’s eating our clothes. It could be eating our skin next!”

Angel’s bumpies retreated, leaving his face adorably confused. He looked down at his bare chest, and, involuntarily, at Lindsey’s erect cock nestled against his abdomen. And Lindsey’s abdomen, and his thick, muscular thighs, and…

Angel quickly reversed their positions. “Then stop fighting me, and let’s get the book and get the hell out of here,” he said. While he ground slowly against the hard, warm body below him, enjoying the tickle of body hair against his dick.

“I already stopped!” Lindsey bucked up against him.

Their faces were inches apart. The concrete under them was cold, the room itself damp and chill. That was the only reason they clutched at each other. Warmth.

“Get off me, you fat gay vampire,” Lindsey said.

A slow, evil smile spread over Angel’s face. “Then let go,” he said.

Lindsey looked in horror at his own hands clinging to Angel’s broad, muscular, well-formed shoulders. With an eep he let go. “Maybe there’s a spell…”

“Mm hm. Conspiracy theories, Linds?” Angel ran his lips over the delicious side of Lindsey’s neck, enjoying the clean man-smell and the feel of a pulse jumping just under the skin.

“Spike’s right – you’re heavy.”

Angel sat up at that, scowling. “Spike? What did that little shit-?”

“Why aren’t the kobolds attacking?” Lindsey jerked his head toward the door. “Strips of fabric? Not exactly a solid barrier.”

Angel frowned thoughtfully. “Maybe they really like their outfits.”

Lindsey slammed into Angel, rolling and lifting his hips to flip Angel off of him. “We’ve been set up!”

They struggled, neither making it atop the other. Lindsey’s hair got all in his face. “Listen, damn it! A spell that means we have to be together? No one else available? A fucking clothes-eating chemical? It’s so obvio- oh, oh fuck.”

Angel’s dick had slotted between Lindsey’s legs, wet with sweat and running back and forth in their struggles, pressing along his perineum.

Angel smirked triumphantly as Lindsey was distracted by cock. He rolled his hips purposefully. “No, tell me, Linds, what’s obvious? The fact that you’re hungry for my dick?”

Lindsey tried to remember what was important besides being naked, on a naked Angel, and the silky feel of skin against skin and how hot Angel looked all sweaty and scraped and dirt-smudged. Lips open, he could taste Angel’s breaths. “I hate you,” he said, leaning closer.

Angel, deciding he’d heard enough from Lindsey, also decided the best way to shut him up was to stick his tongue in his mouth.

They devoured each other’s mouths for a good five minutes before remembering that they weren’t supposed to want to. Lindsey pushed away and in a voice that lacked all conviction, said, “Stop that.”

Combined with the suddenly nervous and innocent expression on his face, it was more than Angel could resist. He pounced, and the altar fell over them, revealing itself to be no more than a card table under the velvet cloth, not that either of the grappling men noticed.

***

Gunn cleared his throat, having long since stopped looking at the security tape. “I think we’ve seen enough.”

“I could stand to watch more,” Spike said, grinning gleefully.

On the monitor, Angel’s back flexed, his muscular ass in particular, over Lindsey’s splayed form, the smaller, stockier man pushing back and straining, his legs wide over a pile of velvet-draped rubble.

“I don’t care what you say, I won’t watch,” Fred said, staring raptly.

Lorne sipped his drink, smiling beatifically. “I wish all our cases could be resolved so neatly.”

“They’re going to notice that the kobolds were an illusion,” Wesley said. “And it wouldn’t take much to trace that chemical back to this lab.”

“You worry too much, Percy,” Spike said, offering Fred his bag of popcorn.

“Don’t worry, man,” Gunn clapped Wes on the shoulder, “it’s not like they can sue us – all the good lawyers are on our side.”

Gunn then discretely slipped out of the lab, while Fred, Spike, Lorne and Wes basked in a job well done.