Half an hour later, Luke was pacing the living room, wondering what to do with himself, when Spike came down the stairs. "What did she say?" Luke asked.
"She likes the idea."
"But she won't do it until she talks to Giles about it."
"An expert on Vampires, Slayers, and all the other things that go bump in the night." Spike flopped down onto the couch.
"Getting an expert opinion sounds like a good idea. That should make Angel feel better about it, right?"
Luke smiled. "Is she going to call back tonight?"
Spike snorted. "Tonight? It will take Giles weeks to research this idea."
"Weeks?" Luke lost his smile.
"Weeks." Spike confirmed.
"Great." Luke sat down on the other side of the couch, leaned his head back, and closed his eyes.
Spike saw Angel coming out of Connor's room, and stood up, wondering how the kid was. Spike shoved his hands in his pockets and muttered, "Willow says hey."
"How are things on her end?" Angel asked.
"Everyone's fine. Buffy's still dating that wanker."
Angel frowned in distaste. "What does she see in him?"
"No idea. Willow said she'll talk to Giles and let us know."
Spike looked down the hall to Connor's closed door and said, "Is the kid okay?"
"He'll be fine." Angel said. "Just give him a day or two."
Spike frowned but nodded.
"Why don't you go to the office, and help Gunn for the afternoon."
"Okay." Spike knew there wasn't anything pressing for him to do at the office, but he figured Angel wanted to talk to Luke alone, and sending him to the office would also keep him and Connor apart for the rest of the afternoon.
Once Spike was in the sewers, Angel turned to Luke. "Looks like we won't have an answer from Willow for a while. That means we need to make a decision."
"A decision?" Luke asked.
"If you want to go home, we'll keep tabs on Noah to make sure he doesn't follow you to Oakdale, and then we'll call you as soon as we hear from Willow." Angel broke eye contact, arguing internally over the next option, not sure if it was fair to either of them to make it an option.
"Or?" Luke said.
Angel couldn't stop himself. "Or you could stay here with me until she calls." He heard Luke's heart rate go up.
Almost afraid to ask, Luke whispered, "Which one do you want me to do?"
Angel sat down next to Luke on the couch. "I want you to stay with me, but that's not what I think you should do. You should get as far away from me as possible."
Tentatively, Luke put his hand on Angel's thigh and said, "I'd like to stay."
Brushing his fingers down Luke's cheek, Angel said, "I'd like that too."
Luke leaned into the touch, and said, "Are you sure?"
In answer, Angel kissed him softly on the lips. He pulled back long enough to look into Luke's smiling face, and then leaned down to kiss him more passionately.
The kiss sent a rush of pleasant shivers through Luke's whole body. His hands found their way into Angel's hair, and he felt Angel's hand on his back pulling him in closer. A few minutes later when they broke apart, Luke was breathing hard, and tingling all over. "Wow."
"I agree," Angel said with a smile. Getting serious, added, "I'm glad you'd like to stay, but you should know what that means before you agree to it."
Trying to focus on something other than Angel's lips, Luke said, "Okay."
"You'll have to be with one of us at all times."
Those words startled him out of his lust induced haze. Pushing himself further away from the vampire, Luke said, "Wait a minute. What?"
Angel let his hands drop back into his own lap, but kept eye contact. "Noah could be a serious threat to you if you stay in town. He may only be able to come out at night, but there are plenty of humans willing to do a vampire's bidding for the right price, and that nest was one of the biggest ones that I've seen in LA. That means Noah has powerful friends, and he wanted to turn you. Until I'm sure he's not a threat, you'll need me, or one of my team, to be with you any time you're not here in the house"
Angel interrupted, "Only until we hear back from Willow."
Luke broke eye contact, and thought that over. He didn't like it, but he had to admit that Noah was scary now, and the idea of ending up back in that bar made him shudder. With a nod he said, "Okay."
"If being stuck with us drives you crazy, you can always go back to Oakdale until we have an answer."
Turning back to Angel, Luke slid a hand around the back of Angel's neck and gently pulled him closer. "You'll just have to keep me distracted."
Surprised at how happy those words made him, Angel started kissing him again. As they kissed, Angel maneuvered their bodies on the couch, so that Luke was lying on his back, with Angel's body covering most of his. Their hands were busy exploring each other's bodies, when Luke's cell phone rang. Angel pulled away.
With an apologetic smile, Luke grabbed his cell phone and looked at the number. "It's work," he muttered, and pushed himself back into a sitting position before answering. "This is Luke, how can I help you?"
Angel sat back against the couch, and listened to Luke's side of the conversation.
"Hi Karen, what's up… No, those funds were for the hospice… How did that happen?"
There was a longer pause, and Angel could tell from the younger man's expression, that something had gone wrong.
"Okay, let me make some phone calls and get back to you." Luke hung up and turned to Angel. "Sorry, looks like this is going to take a while."
Angel kissed his forehead. "It's okay, we'll have plenty of time to pick up where we left off later tonight." He stood up and added, "Make yourself at home while you're here. You can set up your laptop at the desk here in the living room, or if you need privacy, you can use the desk in your room. The rooms are soundproofed to human ears, but Spike, Connor and I will still be able to hear most of what you say, but we try not to listen."
Luke stood as well. "You sure you won't mind if I set up here in the living room?"
"Not at all. If you want to stay here and work tomorrow, one of us will stay with you. Or if you'd rather come to the office with us, you can use Spike's desk."
"Okay, thanks." Luke's cell phone went off again. He looked at the caller ID before answering. "Hi Mom… Yeah, I know, she just called me." He headed into his bedroom to get his laptop.
Angel looked at his watch, and decided to check in with Gunn, to see how things were going at the office.
# # #
A few hours later, Luke was still trying to solve bookkeeping issues for his foundation, when Angel got an urgent call from the office. After a short conversation with Gunn, Angel called out, "Hey Connor, could you come out here for a minute?"
Connor came out of his room for the first time that night. "Yeah?"
Wondering what was going on, Luke focused on Angel instead of his laptop.
"Gunn called, we've got a new case."
"Great, you wanna tell me about it on the way?"
"No, I want you to stay here with Luke."
Frowning, Connor glanced over at Luke. He didn't want to stay home when there was a case to work on, especially if it meant he was stuck babysitting his father's potential boyfriend.
Angel could see the argument forming in Connor's head, and cut it off before it could start. "Noah may come after him, so for the next week or two Luke can't be alone, and I haven't had time to go over the basics with him on how to keep himself safe if he finds himself alone with Noah."
Crossing his arms, Connor said, "I could go and you could stay."
"You have class early tomorrow, and this one could take all night."
Connor sighed. "Fine. I'll stay and teach Vampire 101."
"Thanks." Angel squeezed his shoulder, and then turned to Luke. "It's already getting dark out, so the two of you need to stay in the house."
Luke frowned as well, thinking it was going to be an awkward night. How was he supposed to act normal and hang out with someone his own age, when he was lusting after the guy's father?
Angel looked back and forth at the two younger men and worried that leaving them alone tonight might not be the best decision, but he didn't have any other option if he wanted to take this case. He turned to Connor and said, "If you two have any problems, give me a call, okay?"
Connor rolled his eyes when he saw the worry crease in his father's forehead. "Jeez Dad, brood much? I've been on protection detail a million times. We'll be fine." He waved his hand towards the door and said, "Go."
Angel turned back to Luke. The younger man nodded and said, "Connor's right, we'll be fine, and I have hours worth of work left to do anyway."
Feeling better about it, Angel walked to the weapon cabinet, and got out a sword. When he turned around, he saw the shock on Luke's face, as he scanned the sheer volume of weapons they kept on hand. Angel said to Connor, "And maybe a short explanation for the kinds of jobs we usually get."
Seeing Luke's face, Connor nodded in agreement. Angel walked to Luke, and put a hand on the side of his face. "I know it's a lot to take in one day."
Trying not to show how unsettled he was, Luke smiled and said, "It's okay. I can handle it."
Angel leaned down and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. "See you when I get back."
Connor turned away as he saw Angel's lips touch Luke's, but kept his distaste to himself.
A few seconds later, Luke and Connor were alone in the living room. An uncomfortable silence filled the room. Luke was the first to speak. "I'm at a good stopping point with my work if you want to go over that vampire information with me."
Happy to have something to focus on, Connor said, "Sure, this is a good time for me too. Are you hungry? We could see what's in the house for dinner while we talk."
"Sounds good to me."
# # #
At one o'clock in the morning, a bedraggled trio came home through the front door covered in gunk. While the three took off their shoes in the entranceway, Angel said to Gunn, "After we shower, you clean the weapons." He turned to Spike, "You clean our clothes, and I'll clean the car."
The two gave weary nods, and started taking off their clothes, stacking them in a pile for Spike to get later. When Spike took his shirt off something clattered to the floor. He picked it up, and held it up the tooth for the others to see. "Either of you want a souvenir?"
Gunn groaned and said, "I'd rather forget I ever saw that thing. I don't want a reminder that it exploded all over me, thanks anyway."
Angel muttered, "I've got bits of intestine in my hair."
Once the three were down to underwear, Gunn and Spike headed to their rooms to shower. Wanting to check on both Luke and Connor, Angel sniffed the air, and listened for heartbeats. Once he assured himself that both of them were at least safe in the house, he went to shower off.
An hour later, Angel was done cleaning the gore out of his car, and came in to find that Spike and Gunn had already finished their portion of the cleaning, and gone to sleep. He walked to Connor's door, and listened for a few seconds. The steady heartbeat and even breathing told him Connor was asleep. He went to Luke's door to listen, but instead of a steady heartbeat, and even breathing, he heard movement. Then Luke moaned, and said, "No."
Angel knew there was no way Noah could get into the house without being invited, and he also knew Connor would have gone over that with Luke, but the image that flashed in his mind was Noah biting Luke again. He opened the door a crack, and saw Luke alone in the bed. He appeared to be asleep but having a bad dream. Angel went in and shut the door behind him, not wanting to wake the others up, which could be difficult to do in a house full of super hearing beings.
Sitting on the edge of Luke's bed, he reached out and touched his shoulder. "Hey Luke, you're dreaming."
Jerking awake, Luke was disoriented for a few seconds. He sat up halfway, propping himself up on his elbows and mumbled, "I was back at the bar." He shuddered, and his eyes scanned the room, checking to make sure of his surroundings.
Brushing the hair from Luke's eyes, Angel said, "You're safe here with me."
Luke sat up and scooted back so he could lean up against the headboard. "What time is it?"
"A little after two."
"Did you just get in?"
"Well we got home about an hour ago, but we had a lot of cleaning to do before we could call it a night. Then I came to check on you, and when I saw you weren't sleeping peacefully, I thought I'd come wake you up. I hope that's okay."
"More than okay." Luke said. "It was not a good dream."
"How did it go tonight?" Angel hoped things hadn't been too awkward for either of them.
Luke smiled, "Connor and I got along fine, probably better than either one of us expected."
Relieved, Angel smiled too. "Good."
"We have a lot in common when it comes to our fathers."
"Your fathers?" Angel asked, feeling a little uncomfortable. He wasn't sure that he wanted them bonding over something that had to do with him.
"I wasn't raised by my biological father either."
Angel raised his eyebrows in surprise.
Luke said, "I was adopted and raised by Holden Snyder. He's a lot like Connor's dad, Laurence. They're both honest, hard working family men. My biological father, Damion is the polar opposite. He lies, cheats, and manipulates everyone to get what he wants. Thank goodness I didn't have much contact with him while growing up."
"When I first came out to my parents, my dad, Holden, was amazingly supportive. Even when he wasn't entirely comfortable with my being gay, he never made me feel bad about myself because of it. But Damion… He tried talking my mom into sending me to one of those camps that promises to turn gay kids straight. He was ashamed of a basic part of what makes me me, and it's a part of me that I have no control over. When I was telling Connor about that last night, he said that Holtz always made him feel ashamed that he was part demon, even though it is a basic part of what makes him him."
Angel nodded. "I'm grateful to Laurence for giving Connor the love and stability he needed to recover from the things Holtz and I did to him."
Luke leaned forward and put a hand on Angel's knee. "No, Connor puts you in the same category with Laurence, not with Holtz."
Angel frowned, but before he could say anything about it, Luke said, "Last night he told me that sometimes he wonders what his childhood would have been like if Holtz had never taken him."
"Me too," Angel whispered.
"He believes that you would have given him a good childhood if you'd had the chance."
Angel shook his head. He didn't have the same faith in himself that Connor apparently had.
Luke took Angel's hand in his. "And he seems genuinely happy when he talks about his life with you now." Luke brought the hand up to his lips, and gently kissed the back of Angel's hand. "Thanks for waking me up." He turned Angel's hand over, and kissed the palm.
Angel leaned in and kissed Luke gently. Luke put his hands on the back of Angel's head, and pulled him in closer, turning the kiss passionate. After a few minutes of serious kissing, Luke was lying flat on his back, with most of Angel's upper body pressing him down into the mattress.
Angel pulled away when he felt Luke's hand slipping under his tee shirt. He desperately wanted to keep going, but forced himself to say, "I should go, so you can get some sleep."
"I want you to stay," Luke said, trying unsuccessfully to pull Angel back down for another kiss.
"Are you sure?" Angel asked. "I mean I want to stay, but I also want you to be sure."
Luke thought of all the chances he'd had with Reid, and wished he could have just one of them back to do differently. He wasn't sure where things were going with Angel in the long run, but he knew where he wanted things to go tonight. "I'm sure. Please stay."
Angel sat up long enough to pull his shirt off, and Luke took his off as well. Angel paused a few seconds to let his eyes roam over Luke's body. Luke did the same and trailed a finger over Angel's shoulder. Angel leaned down and trailed his tongue from the center of Luke's chest, over to his right nipple, pausing to suck on it gently. He felt the vibrations under his lips when Luke moaned, and trailed his tongue over to the left side to do the same. When he pulled away, Luke's breathing was rapid.
Angel stood and took his pajama pants off along with his boxers, and stood still while Luke looked him up and down. After getting his fill, Luke tossed the covers off, and reached down to take his underwear off, but his finger's stalled when they hit the elastic. He looked into Angel's face and whispered nervously, "Noah is the only other person I've been with."
Angel felt a rush of excitement at those words. Inexperience had always been a turn on for both Angel and Angelus, though for very different reasons. With a grin, Angel crawled on top of Luke and whispered in his ear, "That only makes me want you more."
Those words settled Luke's nerves, and he didn't resist when he felt Angel reach down to take off his briefs for him.
# # #
Connor got up feeling better than he had the day before. Hanging out with Luke last night had helped him feel a lot more like Connor Reilly, and a lot less like the Destroyer. And making the connection between Holtz hating him for being a demon, and Damien hating Luke for being gay, made Connor realize that his own initial reactions to Luke had been wrong.
He walked past Luke's door, and stopped in mid stride when he realized his father's scent was just as strong as Luke's behind Luke's door. The smell of sex was heavy in the air. Connor's lip curled back in disgust automatically, but he forced the expression off his face a second later, thinking about Luke's sadness the night before when he talked about his father, Damion. And when Connor thought about it logically instead of emotionally, he didn't begrudge his father a little happiness after all the things they'd suffered through over the past three years. Once he had talked himself out of being upset, he walked the rest of the way down the hall.
When he got to the kitchen, Connor was surprised to see Spike sitting at the table with a mug of blood, and decided it was the perfect time for some revenge. He got a bowl of cereal and sat down across from him.
"Hey." Spike said.
"Hey. You're up earlier than usual."
"Couldn't sleep." After a short pause, Spike said, "Sorry about yesterday."
Surprised at how honest that sounded, Spike asked, "It's okay?"
"You were right, I was being a jerk about Dad and Luke."
Spike scrutinized Connor for a few seconds, trying to figure out if he was lying or not. "What made you change your mind?"
"Luke and I talked last night. And I found out we have a lot in common."
"Yeah? Like what?"
"We both have annoying little sisters that we love even though they're annoying. We both have more than one father. Neither of us was raised by our biological father, and we both had one father who hated something about us."
Spike's eyebrows raised in surprise. "Wow."
"I know. It's a lot, right?"
Spike nodded and gulped the rest of his blood. "I'm glad you two have found some common ground, because I think he's going to be around for a lot longer than a week."
Connor gulped down the rest of his milk, and put his bowl in the sink. He turned and leaned against the counter, and said, "So Dad's type is, petite strong willed blondes huh?"
"Yeah?" Spike turned in his chair to see what the kid was trying to get at.
"You know that describes you."
"What? Sod off! I'm not petite!"
"You are compared to Dad." Connor smiled.
"And I'm not really blond either!"
"I know." Connor's smile turned into a grin. "That means you do it on purpose."
It only took a millisecond for Spike to realize what Connor was implying, and lunged for the boy, intending to put him in a headlock until he took it back.
Expecting the attack, Connor evaded Spike's grasp, and took off running for the front door. He made it out into the morning sunlight in record time, and turned to laugh at Spike.
Spike smiled, but it wasn't pleasant. "Yeah, you enjoy the sun while you can, college boy."
"I will, thanks." He got his car keys out of his pocket, and said, "I've got to get to class. See you in a few hours."
Spike shut the front door a little harder than usual, and decided he was ready to try and get some more sleep.
# # #
Luke woke up, and felt something cold next to him. His eyes popped open, and he saw Angel's face directly in front of him. Remembering last night, Luke smiled as he stretched, and mumbled, "Morning."
Angel said, "I tried to keep to my side of the bed so you wouldn't get cold last night, but each time I woke up, my hands had found their way over to you."
With a seductive smile, Luke said, "I'm not feeling cold now."
"No?" Angel murmured and kissed the uninjured side of Luke's neck.
"Not cold at all." Luke leaned up and kissed Angel's shoulder.
Pulling away from the younger man's neck, Angel made eye contact and asked, "Want to take a shower with me?" When he saw Luke nod, Angel got up, took Luke's hand, and led him to the bathroom, kissing him along the way.
Forty-five minutes later, Luke was eating scrambled eggs at the kitchen table, and Angel was debating getting himself a mug of blood. He didn't think Luke would be disgusted if he drank a mug of blood, but the subject of him feeding hadn't really come up.
After Luke had taken a couple of bites of the breakfast Angel had made him, he thought about asking if Angel was going to have any, and quickly realized the answer to that would be no.
"What?" Angel asked. "Did you find a shell in your eggs?"
Luke realized he'd paused with his fork half way up to his mouth. "No, they're great. I was just thinking about your breakfast."
The two made eye contact, and Angel said, "There's pigs blood in the refrigerator. I usually have it in a mug that I warm up in the microwave. Will that bother you?"
"No, go ahead," Luke said, relieved that Angel didn't want to eat any of his blood for breakfast, and put another bite of eggs in his mouth.
"I'm surprised you're taking it so well. Most people are grossed out when I tell them what I eat."
Swallowing first, Luke said, "I spent a lot of my childhood on a working farm. Things that would gross out a lot of people don't phase me."
Believing him, Angel got out some blood for himself. The two ate their breakfasts in companionable silence. When Luke was done, he got up and put his plate in the sink. Angel turned in his chair and asked, "Did you want to come into the office with me today, or would you rather stay here with Spike?"
"Well that depends," Luke said with a small smile.
"Do you think we can keep our hands off each other long enough for either of us to get any work done today?"
Grinning, Angel walked over and invaded Luke's personal space while putting his empty mug in the sink. He wrapped his arms around Luke's middle, and said softly, "No promises," before leaning in to kiss him. Angel could hear Gunn walking towards the kitchen, but didn't stop what he was doing, wanting Gunn to find out sooner rather than later.
Gunn stopped in his tracks, and just stared, trying to process what he was seeing.
When the kiss ended, Angel said, "Morning Gunn," without turning to look at him.
Flustered to be caught making out, Luke blushed and backed away from Angel a few steps, to see around his broad shoulders. When he saw Gunn's shell shocked expression, he said, "Um… maybe I should go check my emails before we go to the office."
Angel nodded, and Luke escaped to his room. Angel turned to look at Gunn, and said, "You wanna talk about this?"
"Angel man, I didn't know you were…" Gunn couldn't make his mouth come out with the word bisexual while thinking about the friend that he'd known for seven years.
Angel gestured to the table, and the two men sat down. He said, "I've lived a long time. In my human years I was only with women. About twenty years after I was turned, Darla said she wanted to invite another man into our bed. I was very against the idea at first. But then when I saw who she had in mind…" Angel looked down at the table and said, "He was human, barely sixteen. We did horrible things to him. Kept him alive for days even when he begged for death. He was my first male. We'd done similar things to hundreds of girls before that, but he sticks in my head. After that I never denied her when she asked to bring a male home."
Angel brought his eyes up to meet Gunn's. Gunn nodded in understanding. He'd met Angelus. He knew how cruel he could be, and wasn't surprised. Angel continued, "Then when I first had my soul back, I couldn't bring myself to sleep with anyone for years. But because I lived in the allies and sewers, I constantly ran into lost souls trying to find a moment of happiness in their miserable lives. I was always able to refuse until I met a kid named Phillip. He was in his early twenties, and he'd been living on the streets for three years as a prostitute. I found him in an ally beaten and bleeding. It took everything I had not to eat him when I smelled the blood. I picked him up to take him to a doctor, but he begged me not to, so I took him back to the abandoned barn I'd been sleeping in. I helped him recover, and once he was healthy… he was grateful. I tried to resist, but after months of him following me around, I eventually gave in."
The room grew silent for a few seconds while Gunn mulled this new information over. Having had some time to recover from his initial shock, he said, "It will take some time to get used to the idea, but I can get past you liking men. But what's with you and Luke? He's a client. We just met him."
"I know. I could hear and smell his attraction to me the instant we met, and after spending some time with him, I felt the same way. I could have resisted, but I didn't want to."
Trying to stay calm, Gunn said, "Have you already slept with him?"
"I don't see where that's any of your business."
"Because of the curse!"
With a sigh, Angel said, "We've been over this before. Just because I have sex with someone doesn't mean it's a moment of perfect happiness. I didn't turn into Angelus when I slept with Phillip."
Leaning forward, Gunn said, "I know that, but that kiss I just saw? That wasn't a one night stand kind of kiss. And the way your face looks when you talk about him? That's the look of a man falling in love."
Angel looked down at his hands on the table, knowing Gunn had a valid point, even if he didn't want to admit it. Quietly he said, "I know things may get to that point at some time in the future, but it's no where close to that yet. He's still got feelings for Noah, and he was in love with someone else three months ago. It's not going to be perfect any time soon. I want to wait until we hear from Willow before I talk to Luke about it "
Satisfied to see that Angel had given it some serious thought already, Gunn nodded and said, "Okay."
Surprised, Angel made eye contact, "Okay?"
"I want you to be happy, I just don't want to meet your evil twin again because of it."
Angel smiled. "Thanks Gunn."
# # #
Three Weeks Later:
Luke woke up, rolled to the side, and reached a hand out for his lover. Finding the bed empty, he sat up and looked around. The clock on his nightstand read 7:08AM. Thinking it was odd that the vampire would be up before him, Luke got up, got dressed, and went out into the living room.
He found Spike and Noah sitting on the couch together watching a black and white movie that he didn't recognize. He said, "Did you guys stay up all night?"
"Shhh! This is the good part." Spike hissed without looking Luke's way.
Noah stood and gestured for Luke to follow him into the kitchen, where they would be less of an annoyance to the older vampire.
Luke hesitated. He hadn't been alone with Noah since that night at the bar, even though Noah had had his soul back, and been living at Angel's house for over a week now. Knowing he couldn't put it off forever, Luke forced his feet to move forward.
Once they were in the kitchen together, Noah said, "I've been meaning to talk to you for the past few days, but..." there was an awkward pause.
"Yeah, I've been meaning to talk to you too."
With a rueful smile, Noah shook his head. "No you haven't. You've been avoiding me."
"Don't." Noah cut him off. "Don't start lying to me now. Not after everything that's happened."
Luke shoved his hands into his pockets and stared at the floor. "Okay. Yeah, I have been avoiding you."
Sounding close to tears, Noah asked, "Are you afraid of me now?"
Luke's head snapped back up, "What? No, of course not, Noah!" He stepped closer to Noah, and pulled him into a tight hug as proof. "Don't ever think that, okay?"
Some tears ran down Noah's face while he hugged Luke back, but he hardly noticed. He'd done a lot of crying over the past week and a half. "But after the things I did to you..."
Luke kept his hands on Noah's shoulders, but pushed him away far enough to look into his eyes when he said, "That wasn't the real you. I know that. I knew it, even before I knew what was wrong with you."
Luke let go of Noah's shoulders, and walked over to the kitchen counter to start making himself some coffee. "Because of Angel."
Noah saw what Luke was doing, and took the coffee can from his hands almost automatically, "Here, let me." Then when he realized what he'd done, he paused to see Luke's reaction.
Smiling slightly, Luke said, "Afraid I'll forget to put the pot under it again?"
With an easy smile, Noah said, "No, I'm afraid it will have the consistency of glue again."
Luke waved a hand in the general direction of the coffee pot and said, "You're the Java worker, not me."
Happy to have something to do with his hands, Noah started making the coffee and said, "So you were avoiding me because you're with Angel now?"
Leaning against the counter, Luke said, "I guess I felt guilty. I came all the way out here, and hired Angel to find you, because I was worried about you. And then while you were going through the most traumatic experience in your life, I was falling in love with someone else."
Noah made eye contact and said, "I want you to be happy Luke. I still love you. You know that. But I can't be with anyone right now, and I want you to be happy. If Angel makes you happy, then you should be with him."
"Thanks." Luke said quietly. Once the coffee was dripping, he said, "How is it going with Spike?"
Noah leaned against the counter too, and shrugged. "Okay I guess. Does it seem weird to you? You haven't really said much about it."
"Right before Willow came to curse your soul back into you, Angel and Spike sat the rest of us down and tried to explain it to us. They said that all new vampires have a kind of instinctual need for a Sire for a few years, but if they lose their real sire, that need is somehow intensified. I'm not saying it's not weird to see you being so… submissive to him, because it is. But better Spike than your real Sire."
Staring off into space, Noah whispered, "I still miss her. She's cruel, she's violent, she's immoral, and I hate her. But a part of me misses her too, even though I know I could never tolerate being around her now. It's not something I ever felt while I was human. I can't describe it very well. It's not a sexual feeling, and it's not the same feeling I would have for a parent. It's… something else."
"I'm sorry you miss her."
Noah made eye contact and smiled softly. "Don't be. I feel the same way about Spike, and he's someone I can actually look up to and have respect for. The fact that we both love movies has made the transition easier. And I haven't had that much time to think about her with all the training we've been doing."
"Do you like the training?" Luke asked. He doubted he would appreciate it if he were being forced to practice fighting moves every day for hours.
"Like doesn't figure into it. It's something my Sire wants me to do."
Luke shook his head and frowned.
Trying to make Luke feel better, Noah said, "Pleasing him makes me happy, so I guess you could say I like the training. Spike said I'm already fairly good at it. Probably thanks to a childhood with Colonel Mayer."
"When do you think they'll let you go on a case with them?"
"Probably not for months. Spike hasn't even let me go to the office yet."
Luke got a mug out of the cupboard and poured himself some coffee. "You want some?"
"No thanks. Are you working today?"
Luke nodded and sipped his coffee. "Gunn, and I are going to go visit some of the homeless shelters in the area, so I can decide which one the foundation is going to donate to. Connor may come too if he gets out of class early enough. Then tonight, Angel said he'd take me out to dinner."
Working to keep the frown off his face, Noah said, "That's nice."
"Speaking of Angel, do you know where he is?"
"Yeah, he's…" Noah trailed off. His eyes opened wide with surprise, and they darted to the kitchen door. Luke looked behind him, but couldn't see anything there.
Luke heard a muffled voice from the living room say, "Noah."
Luke saw Noah wince as if he'd been hit, even though the voice had been mild. Forgetting that Luke was even in the room, Noah whispered, "I'm sorry Sire. I forgot."
Coming into the kitchen, Spike turned to Luke and said, "Angel's in his room, and he doesn't want to be disturbed until he comes out. He'll take you to work in about an hour."
Confused, and trying to figure out what Noah was so upset about, Luke muttered, "Okay."
Spike focused on Noah, who bowed his head in a distinctly submissive pose. "Please forgive me Sire, I didn't mean to."
"Didn't mean to what?" Luke asked.
Both vampires ignored him. Spike walked up to Noah, and gently carded his fingers through Noah's hair. He said softly, "I know you didn't mean to, and you stopped yourself before you did, but if you hadn't heard me stand up, you might have."
Luke heard an inhuman and pitiful whine come from Noah's throat.
Spike kissed Noah's forehead and said, "I am unhappy with you. You may not watch the rest of the movie with me. I'll think about forgiving you when I'm done watching it."
With fresh tears on his face, Noah whispered, "Yes Sire."
Spike let go of his surrogate childe and said, "Off to bed with you then."
Noah fled the room so quickly, Luke could only see a blur. He glared at Spike and said, "What did he do?"
Spike got himself some coffee and said, "Angel asked us not to tell you what he was up to, because he's all doe eyed over you, and Noah almost let the cat out of the bag."
Crossing his arms, Luke said, "So what?"
Spike got the pigs blood out of the refrigerator, and put a little in his coffee before taking a sip. Trying to be patient, Spike said, "So, Angel is my grandsire, and my new little childe feels the urge to please him almost as much as he feels the need to please me. He's distraught when he realizes he isn't making us happy."
They'd been over this more than once, and Luke had seen enough of Noah's behavior to know it was true, but it was still difficult for him to accept. "Okay, then why didn't you reassure him, and tell him he was forgiven right away?"
"Because he would have been miserable if I'd done that."
Luke waved an arm in the direction of the kitchen door and said, "He looked pretty miserable just now!"
Glaring, Spike raised his voice, "Having your soul shoved back down your gullet will do that to a man. Crying all day over nothing is a better way of dealing with it than the things I did." Spike cocked his head to the side and listened as his childe's weeping got louder. He said to the doorway, "Noah, turn some music on, and stop trying to listen to me."
Once he heard some music playing, Spike invaded Luke's personal space and growled at him. "This argument is making it worse for him." Swallowing hard, Luke backed up against he kitchen counter. Spike whispered, "Don't muck around in things you don't understand. You wanted him to have his soul back, but that doesn't make him human again. I've got a blood bond with him now, and I'll do with him as I see fit. You will stay out of it, or we'll move out for a few years."
Afraid of Spike for the first time, Luke nodded quickly and choked out, "I'm sorry. I won't interfere."
Spike took a step back and clapped Luke on the shoulder a little harder then necessary. "Glad we have an understanding."
"Spike!" Angel's exasperated voice came from the kitchen entrance.
Spike rolled his eyes, "Thought you were busy."
"I got done early. Now stop intimidating my boyfriend, and go take care of your childe. His sobbing is unnerving."
"My movie isn't over."
"Really? Because the TV is off, so I'd say it is."
Spike stormed out of the kitchen, muttering about grumpy grandsires who should mind their own business, and went to finish watching the movie with his crying childe in the room they were currently sharing.
Once Spike was out of the room, Luke felt like he could breathe more comfortably.
Angel pulled Luke into a hug, and said, "Sorry about that."
Luke pushed out of the hug and said suspiciously, "What were you doing?"
"Talking to Willow."
Irritated, Luke said, "Okay, so why the secrecy?"
"I was talking to her about my curse, and I didn't want you to know until I had an answer."
Irritation turned to concern. "What about your curse? Is everything okay?"
"Everything is fine. I just asked her what she thought about creating a new curse."
"A new curse?"
"One that won't go away just because I'm falling in love."
Luke couldn't keep the smile off his face at those words. "You're falling in love?"
Angel grabbed Luke around the middle, pulled him close, and kissed him possessively. Once the broke apart he said, "I am."
Breathless, Luke said, "Me too."
They kissed again, and Angel said, "Are you ready for work?"
"Not so fast!" Luke said. "Tell me what Willow said."
Angel smiled. "What do you think she said?"
"Yes?" Luke guessed.
Chuckling, Angel said, "No. She said she'd talk to Giles about it, and get back to us in a few weeks."
"Oh." Luke groaned with obvious disappointment.
Angel kissed the frown off his face, and said, "Trust me, if anyone can do it, Willow can."
Luke kissed him back, and when they broke apart, he said, "I hope so, because if you're feeling anything like what I'm feeling, we're going to need that new curse pretty damn quick."
"Pretty damn quick." Angel agreed, and let go of Luke. "Come on. Let's head to the office before we end up in bed again."
Luke smirked and followed Angel to the sewer entrance, so they could walk to the office together.