Note: Not mine, although with the way some have been tossed callously aside, they might be better off in my hands. The story isn't mine, either. It was written because it had to be written.

Two vampires are sitting at a bar. Actually, considerably more than two vampires are sitting at the bar in question, but these two are pointedly alone at the bar, wide swaths of space carved out around both of them. They both shoulder heavy reputations, the dark one even this far away from his home, even in Toronto, where the blonde one lives, where the Raven is, where they're both sitting at a bar. The second one hadn't ordered anything yet, but when he does it's enough to give the blonde pause, make him glance up from his own glass and really look at the tall, dark stranger for the first time.

"Not many come in here for the bovine selection," he says dryly, raising his own glass. The dark man glances to him in surprise, and nods. He does not smile, but a smile would probably have been out of place on him anyway.

"But you do," he assumes, taking a sip as the glass is handed to him. To his surprise, it's not disgusting. It's actually not unpleasant, given its species, and appears to have been blended with something sweet and rich. "Not bad here," he admits, leaning closer to be heard above the music. The blonde smiles, either pleased, embarassed, or both.

"I happen to be familiar with the owner of the club. He acquires it as a bit of a special favour." Again, the same apologetic smile crosses his face, and he drinks deeply. The glass is refilled almost before he sets it down.

"Lucien LaCroix is your friend?" The blonde nearly drops the glass again, surprised, although perhaps he shouldn't have been. He eyes the dark man with a different, wary look, as though this is a situation he has encountered before and would have preferred never to have encountered again.

"Something like that. Not entirely. Yes and no." As the blonde vampire foundered, at a loss to explain himself, the dark man tilted his head to one side, let the edge of a smile touch his lips. "LaCroix is my sire," he says finally, as though this will explain everything. And it does seem to, understanding lighting in the dark man's eyes as he nods thoughtfully. "You came here looking for him?" Another nod. "Why?"

"To question him. About some connections between a law firm called Wolfram and Hart and this club." He paused, looking for some spark of recognition. The other shook his head, picking up his glass again. "No? Bunch of demons, humans, and vampires, working together to bring about a better Armageddon? Scare tactics, magic tricks, and vampire-to-human transformations preformed at no extra cost?"

"Lucien isn't involved with them," he said matter-of-factly, taking another sip of the blood blend. The dark vampire found himself following suit, finding it strange to be drinking cow blood for the taste.

"How can you be sure?" There was a stake inside the dark man's jacket, one that was intended for the very same LaCroix, should he prove to be uncooperative. He would not hesitate to use it on the blonde vampire, however, should the need arise. Stakes were re-useable.

"Trust me. I know Lucien." There was a soft weariness in the blonde's voice, and the dark vampire let his hand fall from where it had been inching towards the stake. He knew the tone of voice from personal experience, a century and change of talking about his own sire. "Lucien doesn't work well with others."

"'Others' meaning...?" The blonde shook his head and gestured wordlessly, as though that should have been enough. "Other vampires? Humans? Demons?"

"We don't get many demons in Toronto," he said with a small wince. Either he was lying, or the demons who did come up here made memorable visits. The dark man suspected the latter. "Lucien doesn't work well with anybody. Well," he added softly, and it would have been inaudible if the other man hadn't been a vampire as well, "nearly anybody." There was an immense amount of personal history going unsaid between the lines there, but the dark man, the stranger here, thought it best not to pry. Everyone had his secrets, the parts of himself he'd prefer to hide. "It's possible," he ventured after a long silence, staring into his glass, "that they might have been connected to the previous owner of the club." There was pain in his eyes, tanatmount to the dark man's own, and he felt an odd surge of symapthetic kinship for this stranger.

"The previous owner being...?" He left the question open and dangling in the air. The club had begun to empty a little now, and he found it necessary to lower his voice.

"Janette du Charme." Another moment passed in silence between them, barely a flicker of recognition passing in the dark man's eyes.

"What makes you say that?" As eager at the thought of progress as others of his kind were at the thought of blood, the dark man leaned forward, catching the blonde's eyes and wondering at the vampire's sad smile.

"Call it a hunch. Janette always did do better with people than Lucien, and," he swallowed thickly, dropping his eyes. The dark vampire bent to meet them, found himself much closer than he'd thought he would be, found the proximity to be much more comfortable than he would have imagined as well.

"Yes?" He pressed. Not wishing to hurt, but he'd been looking for so long that these small raindrops of information were precious, that to wait any longer was pain.

"She'd found a way to become human again. Never explained it to me, at least I think she didn't completely explain it, but... she found a way." A deep shuddering breath, and the blonde man leans on this stranger for support, aching from clearly still fresh wounds. The dark vampire is amazed at how much they seem to have in common.

"Is she still a human? Do you know where she is?" There was a third question, 'is she dead?' that it seemed far too cruel to ask, and so it was not asked. The blonde shook his head, not meeting the other man's eyes.

"No and no. I... I was forced to turn her, to save her life. I don't know where she is. I haven't seen her since."The dark man was used to suffering, predominantly his own, and it was certainly strange to see yet greater sorrow on another.

The bar is nearly empty now, with the dawn imminent, and the music has grown to something soft and gently keening, something, the dark vampire guesses from his unfortunate acquaintaces past, likely played by Bauhaus. The blonde has his face pressed into his neck, not biting, not even kissing, only breathing and trying not to weep as the dark vampire holds him. The bartender gives them a last, odd look before shutting off the music, thankfully, and the lights, leaving them alone in the locked bar. Nearly half an hour goes by before the blonde man pressed the first kiss to his lips.

"Nicholas de Brabant," he whispers fiercely against the dark man's cold skin, and it takes a few moments for the dark man to recognise this as the blonde's own name.

"Angel," he offers in response, gladly tightening his embrace to receive a soft rain of kisses. It takes longer for the blonde man, for Nicholas, to recognise this as a name given as an exchange for his own. Long minutes and both wonder if this isn't falling in love, before a gently, drawling voice shocks them both apart, sending Nicholas in particular across the room in a heartbeat.

"As a matter of fact, the answer is yes. You may stay here, Angelus, or Angel, or whatever it is you're calling yourself these days. Just remember that you are in my home, and while dear Nicholas does not have to pay for his drinks, you do, and if you break anything of mine, I will kill you." For a threat, it was surprisingly gentle and affectionate, although it was clear as deadly day that none of that affection in any way whatsoever was directed towards Angel. A glance at the man in question found him halfway between smirking and smiling, his eyes affixed on Nicholas though he addressed Angel. "That includes Nicholas, by the way. Try not to make too much noise." With that, he was gone, without so much as a sound to herald his departure. Angel was, unwillingly, impressed.

Just as silently, he finds that Nicholas has come to stand behind him, is staring still at the spot where his sire had stood. Angel turns and embraces him again, kissing his mouth, his throat, his hair, until he sighs and relaxes and becomes pliant and responsive once more. There is a strange relationship here, between sire and childe, that much is clear, as clear as the forbidden status of the subject. Nicholas grips Angel with sharp fingers that would have been painful on a mortal, afraid to let go of the momentary comfort the strange vampire offers, wondering at how the dark man can manage to be so gentle, so patient, when Nicholas is so hungry. Angel knows, instinctively, this vampire has no soul, and he wonders at the power of his restraint, to be able to drink cow blood and be satisfied. A sharp nip at his collarbone makes him gasp, and he realises, there is no satisfaction.

"Stay with me for the day," Nicholas demands fiercely, and Angel cannot help but to agree. This vampire is so like him, in so many ways, that he ought to feel nothing for him but the hatered he bears for himself. What he feels is not hatred, however. What neither of them feels is hatred, not even by the twisted definitions of love and hate they both bear for their sires, and Angel, for his childer. Then there is no more room for conscious thought, the both of them sinking to the floor and writhing, gasping, bare skin aganst the sticky wood.

Two vampires are making love in a bar.There is a third vampire in the bar in question, watching them with a yellow glower, but he crushes down his own jealous rage for the sake of his loved one's happiness, however temporary. He knows the reputation of the dark man, making his own reign of terror look like mere children's games in comparison. He knows he has more in common with that souled monster than his sweet Nicholas ever will, and he won't let Nicholas be hurt by that knowledge. Angel will be gone from his bar, from the Raven, from Toronto, as soon as the dawn breaks. LaCroix will see to it.