The After Party

By: Lesera128 & dharmamonkey

Rated: M

Disclaimer: Here we posit our normal rigmarole. No, we don't own anything from Bones or Angel... or anything else. Yes, we're wrecking what havoc we can with these characters that we don't own to create an awesome story. But, since it's only for the purposes of creative enjoyment and amusing distraction, we think we're okay. Are there any other questions? No? ::blinks:: Good. Then, moving on―

Summary: After Angel's romp with Eve at the Wolfram and Hart Halloween Party, a surprise visitor from Washington D.C. ends up in his penthouse and asks where he's been. Set at the end of Angel episode 5x05 - "The Life of the Party." Bones/Angel crossover. Very, very AU. Sequel to "Toe to Toe," "Barging In," "Making Him Beg" and "Comfort on the Edge of Reason." Complete.

Logistical Notes: For those who are wondering, in Bones chronology, this story would take place two years before season 1...or one year before Brennan worked the Gemma Arrington case with Booth.

A/N: So, here it is, Part III, i.e., the pretty epic (at least, we think so) rocking conclusion to the fifth piece of our Angel(us)/Brennan story arc. Thanks so much, once again, to those who have reviewed. To those who haven't, we can't say this enough. Please consider dropping us a line so we know what people think of this series. Even if it's just a word or two, it means more to us than we can say. One thing we noticed in the last piece is that some people (like Angel) were getting quite frustrated with Bren. All we can say is, remember that we made an 80-year jump between where we left the pair in "Comfort on the Edge of Reason" and where we picked up in this piece. They are not the same people they were then, and it's with good cause. Now, do we promise that you will start to get glimpses of what happened to the pair in those years (and how they each responded to canonical events of BTVS and Angel)? Yes. But, it may just not at the pace that everyone wants. However, we like to that we're emulating the brilliant, if Puck-like, Joss Whedon in this. Suffice to say, there's always a reason why Angel and Bren are acting as they are. You may not like it, you may not understand it, and if you don't have the patience to wait to find out why characterization has been written this way...well, then you probably won't like the rest of this story, let alone the rest of this series, so you probably shouldn't read on further as we can guarantee it will be a frustrating experience for you. We think you got a bit of the missing background that should help you to understand that in the last part and there is more to come. But, it won't be a quick or an easy journey. We hope that will not deter such readers, but if it does, we know there's not anything we can do about that. Now, moving on...

UNF Alert: ::looks:: Yup. It's still here. If you read Part II, then you know why. It still applies for Part III (who are we kidding? Part III is why it deserves it in the first place). Consider yourselves duly warned.

Part III: Marking Her Territory

To make good on his promise, focusing for a moment on the bright gleam in her eyes, Angel moved in again, cupping her full breasts in his large hands and squeezing them gently, a low hum sounding from his throat as he felt the firm pebbles of her nipples press into his broad palms. "Yes, I'm definitely gonna follow through this time. And more importantly, this time I think you won't stop me, lass. This time, I think you're gonna let me," he murmured, squeezing again and grinning at the way she raised her chin as a breathy sigh passed from her slender pink lips. He leaned in, brushing his lips against the edge of her square jaw as he brought his mouth to the flat space in front of her ear. "I think you will," he whispered, his warm breath tickling the fine whisps of hair on her temple. "It's been too long, Bren. Too long, and I know you want this." He rubbed his faintly stubbled jaw against her cheek. "I want you, lass. Always you. Always. Please...

Brennan moaned softly at feeling his feather-light kisses fall along the line of her jaw. "I-I..."

"Come on, Bren," he pleaded softly. "You know you want this. You know you want me. So stop fighting it. Just tell me I can, and I'll do what I know you're starting to drip with want of me doing to you. All you have to do it tell me what you want. Tell me I can—"

She hissed again as he flicked his thumb over one pert nipple before she tensed, bit her lip, and shook her head. "No—"

Sighing, he cursed softly, "Fuck, Bren."

"That's not how this is going to go, Angel," Bren muttered. "So quit messing around. Quit teasing me."

"Isn't that the point, Bren?" he groaned, taking a half-step backwards and letting his hands fall away from her chest. "You've spent the last hundred fifty years teasing me. Now that I finally figure out how to return your serves, you get cranky about it and don't want to play..."

Pursing her lips, she scowled at him as she took a step forward and jammed her finger into the flesh of his still-damp pectoral muscle. "That's right, Angel," she growled. "I'm not playing. After the games you've played tonight, I'm all done playing."

Angel quirked an eyebrow. "I'm not playing games, woman," he said with a frown. "But clearly you've lost your sense of humor. That's okay. Fine. I get it. So—you wanna see my office?"

"Wait," she said, her eyes wide in disbelief. "You think that—whether it was of your own volition or not—the fact that you were between another woman's legs two hours ago...on tonight of all nights, is something I should find...humorous?"

"Bren," he said sharply. "Listen, alright? Are you listening? 'Cause this is an important point, okay? I fucked Eve, but I didn't want to fuck Eve. If I could go back and keep all that from happening, I would. Believe me. But short of going to the Powers That Be and asking to turn back the clock, which I've already done once and I probably won't get to do again, I can't undo the past. Woman, you know as well as I do that I've got more shit I'd want to undo than you can shake a stick at, alright? I can't change what's done. And I can't own this...this thing that happened tonight. Am I sorry it happened? Hell yes. Can I change it? Hell no."

She blinked at him for a minute, pressing her lips together in a firm line, and her voice cracked a bit as she said, "So, what? I'm just supposed to pretend that it doesn't bother me? That I'm not hurt by this? I just need to what...get over it? And be done with it? Well, you know what, Angel? I'm sorry, but I can't."

"No," he admitted. "But at what point do you stop your bitching and busting my balls about something I couldn't stop from happening and can't undo now that it has happened?" He took a deep breath and tried to tamp down his rising frustration, knowing that she was very close to the end of her quick-burning fuse. "Please, Bren. It happened. It's done. There's nothing we can do to change it except to let it go. So come on, okay?" He took slow, hesitant step towards her, reaching his hand out to touch her arm. "Please."

"Could you just let it go that easily?" she asked him in a quiet voice. "If our positions were reversed—and I understand about your point about your own choice in the matter, I do—but if you found out that you'd come all the way to D.C. for what was supposed to be our three days out of the entire five years...and later you found out the reason why you couldn't find me when you got there was because I was busy getting worked over by some other guy...are you saying it wouldn't bother you at all?"

"It would bother me," he agreed. "But if you told me you'd got caught up in a magic enchantment of some kind, like what I've been telling you? I'd be frustrated, and pissed, but not at you. I'd be frustrated and pissed at the situation, Bren. But not at you. I get your anger, Bren. But don't lash out at me. This isn't my fault. I'm trying to do the right thing here, okay, I really am, but I'm feeling like nothing I can say or do would matter at this point. So...this is it. You can either choose to let it go, Bren...really let it go. You can let go of it, and we can enjoy this time we have together, which we never seem to get enough of...or not." His voice dropped in pitch, leaving the statement unfinished as he couldn't quite bear to even utter a single sentence that contained the word 'leave' in it just in case he was wrong, and she might end up being the one who left him this time. Still, feeling a need to say something, he added, "If you want me, Bren, and if you want to be with me, the way I want to be with you, then tell me. Because you know what I want..who I want. But either way...make your choice and let it be done."

She was quiet for a moment and took a deep breath before she walked past him, her body tense as she called over her shoulder, "Get dressed."

"Okay," he said, pulling a second towel off the rack and wiping the last of the water off his back before hanging the damp towel on the hook and walking back into the bedroom.

She sat on the edge of the bed, staring out at the Los Angeles skyline as she heard him shuffling behind her. She was quiet until he stilled behind her. He'd pulled on a black pin-stripe button down shirt although he still had the fluffy dark blue towel wrapped around his waist.

Not bothering to look towards him, she asked, "Do you remember it?"


"Do you remember it?" she asked a second time, her voice a bit raw as she looked away from him.

"What?" he asked again. "You mean the...the thing that happened with Eve?"


He took a deep breath. "Not really," he said. "Like I said before...well, that's why, you know, when you asked me earlier, how many times, I was kind of unsure. I don't remember much of it. I don't remember any of the details, and I don't really remember how..." He paused for a second and then shook his head. "I's the feelings, okay? Those I remember. There was want and this frenzied furious thing between us...that I remember—the want most of all."

This time it was Brennan's turn to be quiet before she turned her head and looked at him, "Want of her or want of release?"

Angel stood there for a moment in silence as he thought about the question and blinked as a memory—of the way Eve had kissed him, her mouth grasping at his in a way that was wild and insatiable, drawing his tongue into her mouth as they tumbled into his office—flashed before his eyes. "Want of release," he said solemnly. "I don't think it was about her. As far as I remember, it was all about...just the sex itself. Like the figurative thinking with one's dick. My brain wasn't engaged. It was like I was a marionette and someone else was holding the strings. That probably doesn't make any sense." He turned and looked away with a heavy sigh as he distractedly surveyed the slacks hanging in his closet.

She stood up and tilted her head towards him, and he saw her eyes were wide as she licked her lips and she stared at him for a long minute. "Do you still want me?" she asked him softly.

"Yes," he whispered. After a moment, he turned back to face her. "Yes, Bren," he said more firmly. "More than ever. I do want you. I told you that, I'm just not certain why you don't believe me. I do want you. I always want you." His sad brown eyes blinked as he looked at her. "If...that still want me to want you."

"I'm feeling a great amount of emotional turmoil at the current moment," she told him, her voice still low and silky as she sat down again on the edge of his bed. "A great amount."

"I know you are," he said quietly, the tenor of his voice deep and rich as he looked at her with his warm brown eyes. "You're part of me, Bren," he said with a swallow. "I don't...I don't like to see you hurting. Please, Bren..."

Brennan raised her gaze to meet his and he saw her eyes shimmering with raw and exposed feeling as she said, "Angel, I...I..."

"Bren," he whispered, closing the distance between them in a couple of steps. For a moment, he stood in front of her as she sat on his bed. After a fraction of second's pause, he took another step forward and put his knee on the edge of the mattress, then pressed her gently back onto the bed. The moment her back hit the mattress, he lowered himself over her and, leaning in, kissed her, his mouth grasping for hers as his nostrils flared at the smell of her. She returned his kiss, hesitantly at first and then more enthusiastically as their tongues twirled together in a battle for dominance. As he savored the taste and smell of her, and the way her warm, wet tongue worked his mouth, he felt a renewed wave of want surge within him and he reached his hand up, cupping her breast in his hand and swiping his thumb across the erect point of her nipple that he could feel even through the fabric of her dress and bra.

She mumbled something incoherent as she pulled away from his kiss, arching her back off the mattress at his touch.

"You look fantastic in black," he rasped, licking his lips before leaning in for another kiss. Just as he was going to touch her mouth again, he saw the lone daffodil laying on the nightstand table. He pulled away and reached for it, drawing it beneath his nostrils and inhaling its fragrance before he smiled and brushed its silky petals over the swell of her breasts, just above the neckline of her dress. "Absolutely gorgeous," he whispered as he quietly snapped the stem in half and tucked the pale yellow bloom behind her ear. "Your skin looks like marble," he murmured as he lowered his mouth to her neck and began kissing his way back up to her mouth. "Not like's not hard or cool to the touch. But warm and soft and vibrant. The black..." He smiled against her skin with each soft kiss. "Makes your skin..." She hummed as he reached her pharynx and he could feel the vibration beneath his lips. "Look almost translucent..." He kissed her chin. "Like moonlight." Angel smiled and moved to cover her mouth with his.

Brennan turned her head to the side, dodging his lips, which fell instead on the flat space along her jaw immediately in front of her ear. "Red, too," he mumbled as he placed a line of feather-light kisses along the delicate edge of her square jaw. Letting his mouth linger before dropping to her throat, he said. "I still dream about that red velvet dress you wore that night, and the way you looked at Covent Garden." The tip of his tongue flicked at her skin before his lips closed around the area he'd just wetted and gave a gentle suck. "God, you looked so good that night. But black? Tonight? Like you're wearing tonight? Well—, black is so your color."

"It's always been a good color on you, too,"she told him reluctantly, still angry at him but forgetting the exact reasons as to why she was so upset with each second that passed. She unconsciously leaned her head back to expose her creamy neck to his ministrations. "You look far better in black than you do in any other color...especially that stupid orange color you were wearing earlier."

"I hate orange," he snickered as he drew another, harder sucking kiss on her neck along the round edge of her pharynx. "But Lorne insisted I wear something more festive. Big fucking mistake that was."

Angel slid his hand along the inside of her calf, relishing in the smoothness of her skin as his palm coasted over her knee and on to the silky skin of her inner thigh. The towel he'd wrapped around his waist fell to the floor as he hitched up the skirt of her dress and settled into the space between her thighs. He'd stepped out of the shower half-hard, but as he felt the soft warmth of Brennan's thighs against his cool, still-damp skin, he felt himself harden fully and his balls begin to ache again. His erection brushed briefly against her panties, and he groaned, leaning harder into her as his hands once more began to roam over the curves of her ample chest.

"I want you, Bren," he sighed, his tongue darting out to lick his bee-stung lips before he bent his head down again to resume his mouth's explorations. His lips worked at the skin of her neck, finally coming to rest at the notch at the base of her neck as he palmed her breasts, squeezing them in his hands. "You're like a drug, woman," he said in a low voice. "The more I have of you, the more I want. You're like the finest opium. I need more...more...more," he murmured into her ear.

Angel pulled his mouth away from her throat, glancing down to admire the faint red mark he'd left there, then moved back to plunder her sweet mouth, which gaped open slightly. He kissed her again, pleased that he had barely brushed his lips against hers before she reached up and grasped for his kiss, covering his mouth with hers as she waited for his tongue to meet hers halfway. Brennan murmured into their kiss one more time before pulling away from him once more.

"Enough," she growled after several long moments of enjoying the way he kissed her as she swatted his hand away and pushed him off of her. "That's not—you're," she said as she struggled to put distance between them. "You''re...not getting out of the metaphorical doghouse that easily, Angel." She rolled away from him and then stood up on shaky feet.

"Why not?" he pressed her. "You want me. Tell me you don't, and we'll both know you're lying."

"I do want you," she admitted. "I do...but not here. First...first we need to go downstairs."

Sighing heavily, he rolled into a sitting position as she said, "Now?" He winced at feeling, once again, like Tantalus, in front of whom the much-desired refreshing cup of cool water was proffered only to have it be yanked away at the very moment he had it nearly in his grasp to finally quench his insatiable thirst. His balls ached with want of her, and he dreaded having to wait while she toyed with him.

"Now," she nodded firmly, as she put a hand on her hip and stared at him expectantly.

"Fuck," he growled as he pushed himself off the bed and approached his dresser with a petulant grunt, jerking a pair of boxers out of the drawer, pulling them on with a scowl on his face.

Fucking parties, he grumbled silently. I hate fucking parties. I always have. No good deed goes unpunished, huh? I let Lorne do this party thing, get myself roped into going, and this is what happens. Fuck me.

"Damn it," he muttered under his breath as he walked to the closet, quickly yanking a pair of black trousers off the hanger. Brennan had to bite her lip to keep from laughing, but nonetheless enjoyed watching his frustration mount. "Fucking bullshit," he grumbled to himself. "Son of a bitch." He quickly threw them on and zipped himself up as the hanger clattered in the closet. He walked past her into the outer room and barked, "Fine. Come on, then. Follow me."

Given what had just happened in the bedroom, every sense that he had was heightened...aroused and attuned to her. He could sense her want and possessiveness, and the gloating that she wore as a mask to cover up her frustration and jealousy, and all these combined to put him on edge. He didn't even need to take a deep breath to inhale her scent deeply to know that she wanted him almost as much as he wanted her in that moment...even if she was being rather...difficult...about things. As they rode downstairs in his private elevator, his eyes darted over to look at her body. He was contemplating what she might do to him if he turned around, slammed her up against the elevator wall, and saw how quickly he could yank up her dress, push aside her panties, and shove himself inside her.

The idea was exquisitely tempting.

However, she slowly shook her head, and—almost as if she could hear what he was thinking—said with a sharp look, "No way. Nothing's going to happen until we get to your office, so don't even think about it."

Angel's brow quickly sank low and hard over his eyes as he pouted his lips and grunted. "Suit yourself," he muttered. She gets away with this because she's mind-rippingly hot, and she can drive me crazy, and I still care about her and want her even more...and she fucking knows it, he grumbled to himself. She knows my balls are just about to fall off here, and the damn elevator is full of the smell of her. The smell is hanging in the air like fog. It's only by a damn miracle—or some kind of magic trick—that it's not dripping down her legs, she's so horned up. She's just doing this to torture me. She says she doesn't like sports. Huh. Right. Her favorite sport is Professional Angel Torture, played with a single set of blue balls. Angel took a couple of steps back and leaned against the railing in the back of elevator and sighed, letting his eyes skate down the back of her dress, along the small of her back to the flare that opened up to the curve of her shapely ass. She's only been doing that for a fucking century and a half. You think I'd know better by now. But I keep falling for it every timehook, line, and sinker. Fuck me...she...I...I-I mean, shit.

Scowling, he knew he'd already started to give off a certain brooding vibe. A few moments later, the pair of them found themselves standing in Angel's office. He pointed at the still sleeping form of Lorne that was draped over one of the chaise lounges. "If you want to blame someone, here's your guy," he told her with a quietly ironic chuckle.

Brennan arched an eyebrow as she looked over at him and asked, "What happened to him?"

In a quiet voice, Angel replied, "Uhhh, it's kind of a long story, Bren, but Lorne hasn't slept in a month, and he really deserves some uninterrupted shut-eye, so maybe we could hurry up and do whatever it is that you wanted to do here and get out so we, uhhh, could get back to what we were doing upstairs before you decided you wanted to see my office for whatever fucking weird reason, huh?"

Angel met Brennan's intense blue eyes as she studied him. He waited for her to say something, and started to grow impatient the longer she remained quiet. After a minute, she finally said in a low voice, "Where did it happen?"

A wicked grin broke across his lips as he realized what she was doing and he pointed in the vague direction of the reddish-brown leather couch that sat in the far corner of the office. For a few moments, he stared over the couch and out the window behind it, distracted by the twinkling lights of the L.A. skyline as he felt a crackling of arousal pulse from the pit of his belly into his extremities. "There," he grunted, his teeth gritted as his balls tightened at seeing the aggressive flash of territoriality in her pale eyes.

Brennan pursed her lips and tilted her head as she said, "Three times, huh?"

"Yeah," Angel said quietly. "I'm pretty sure. She came twice the first time, only once the second time, I think, because we sorta...well, we got interrupted and never really had a...err, a complete finale."

Slowly, Brennan walked over to the far side of the couch and stood next to it so that Angel still had a clear view of her body. She toed off one of her black pumps and kicked it aside. She then followed suit with the other one as she came to stand before him in her bare feet. Lifting up one of her arms, she reached around and tugged at the zipper that was hidden in the side of her dress. As she slowly unzipped the dress, it fell loose and allowed her to quickly push it off of her shoulders to fall in a nearly silent whoosh of fabric that pooled at her feet. Stepping out of it, she stood before him clad only in a black lace underwire bra and a pair of matching black lace tanga panties. Taking one of the leather cushions off the back of couch, she gently tossed it on the ground in front of her.

Angel watched each move she made with intense interest. When she stood before him and waited, he took a step closer to her and said, "What are you doing, Bren?"

"I wore black just for you," she said with a nod of her head. "Remember? I know it's your favorite color. I didn't forget."

"I remember," he nodded in appreciation as his eyes hungrily ran over her body. "And, no, I didn't think you'd forget...then again, you never do." He stopped and then said, "But, seriously—what are you doing, Bren?"

"What's it look like, Angel?" she said, her voice low and throaty. Slowly, she lowered herself onto the leather cushion, positioning herself so that her knees were slightly parted, and she waited for him to come closer.

He licked his lips in want and took a step forward. "I think it looks like you're finally doing what I've been trying to get you to do for over a hundred and fifty years." Angel's eyes were immediately drawn to her mouth—her smirking, thin-lipped mouth that he'd kissed a thousand times and had felt take him in, all the way until he could almost feel the back of her throat, but which had never taken him all the way to the edge of oblivion and swallowed everything he'd had to give her. He bit the inside of his lip as his hard flesh twitched and strained against the black gabardine of his trousers.

She couldn't help but smirk as she said, "You act like I've never sucked your cock before, Angel."

Blinking at her quiet words, he said with a small smirk of his own, "Sucked on...yes. Sucked off? Nope. Not almost a century and a half, despite all those promises of yours...and how hard I've tried to get you to do it." He smirked. "No pun intended."

She laughed again as she opened her mouth slightly and said, "So, is this your way of saying you don't want to finally find out what you've been missing out on?"

"Now, did I say that?" he told her, taking another step towards her. He cocked his head to the side and looked at her, his eyes tracing the fringe of her straightened auburn hair, down the side of her face and along the straight, square line of her jaw. "I just don't get it," he said. "How can you go from so pissed off at me that you wanted to leave not an hour ago to stripping down to that fuckable sexy little number that you're wearing and offering to do something to me that I've been wanting you to do to me for a very long time?"

Realizing that he was close enough to touch, she reached out and grabbed him by placing one hand on each of his bony hips. Pulling him towards her, she caught hold of the waistband of the suit pants he'd grabbed from his closet and pulled on after Brennan had pushed him away from their very disconcerting makeout session that had happened on his bed. She moved one hand from one of his hip to the button at the top of his waistband and plucked it free. Very quickly, she unzipped his fly, and she gave him a deep, throaty purr when she felt him shiver at her touch. As she tugged at the pants, she pulled them off his hips and peeled them down his legs.

He was already hard when she'd unbuttoned his trousers, and the moment she pushed them off his body, and his cock sprang free of its confines, he felt his balls tighten and his throat go dry at the same time. "Bren—" he groaned.

She looked up at him and said, "Mine. Tonight...and for the next three days, you're mine. Not anyone else's. And, so I'm going to claim what's mine...because I think you want to be claimed, don't you, Angel? Isn't that what you want me to do?"

Angel blinked and looked at her, his mouth hanging open with surprise. "Yes," he gulped. "I've been yours for a long time, Bren." He shivered at the feel of her touch and added, "You've gotta know that."

"I do," she admitted. "Even if I forget it sometimes because you drive me mad, you know that?" she asked him as she coasted the flat of her palms over the corded muscles of the front of his thighs. "You're going to make me as crazy as Drusilla is before you're done."

Angel's eyes darkened at the reference to the sensitive, innocent young woman with the second sight whose suffering his prior self had turned into a sadistic piece of what would later be called 'performance art'—the eternal suffering of a tortured soul, damned by the endlessness of her own agony which Angelus had engineered with a ruthlessness that had surprised even his own sire.

"Bren," he groaned, his brow creasing deeply and his jaws hardening as he winced, trying desperately to flush the memory of what he believed his most unredeemable atrocity in a century and a half of atrocities of unspeakable cruelty on a scale unmatched by any one man before or since. "Don't...please—don't speak of that to me, not even as a joke."

Brennan's eye twitched and narrowed at hearing the gravity of his response, and for a moment, she regretted her words. Then the wave of sympathy receded, leaving behind the anger that had preceded it. "I'm not joking, Angel," she said gruffly. "This—this thing we've done, the last eighty-some odd years, stepping out of our lives for three days every five years, to be together—it's itself a sort of insanity. And then, after stepping out of my life, the one I've worked so hard at building for myself in D.C. these last few years, and coming out here to be with be with you, Angel, and to find myself stood up while you're down here fucking another woman...this see-saw, yo-yo of inconsistency, Angel, is enough to drive a well-ordered mind to utter insanity."

"Hey," Angel huffed. "You're not the only one who struggles with how to weave this...this thing of ours...into some semblance of a normal life." He paused and frowned. "Not that what I have is anything like a normal life. But, come on. We made a choice—it was a conscious choice, offered and accepted by two consenting adults, so we're doing the best we can with here we are."

She blinked for a moment or two and then glanced at the thick, hard, well-formed cock in front of her face, then shook her head at the ludicrousness of the circumstances. "You do realize that I wouldn't put up with this," she hissed. "Well...whatever this bullshit is...if it were anyone else but you, don't you?"

"I said I was sorry," he told her, his voice suddenly raspy. "So, come on..."

"On the sabbath, Angel," she said as she looked up at him with a clearly annoyed look in her eye. "You know what the significance of today is, and still...God, you just drive me now, I think it's time for me to return the favor, and I think we're going to see how good you are at keeping your balance, Angel. But, for both our sakes', I'd suggest that you do your best to stay upright, hmmm?"

Brennan's tongue darted out of her mouth, and she ran it from one corner of her bright pink bottom lip to the other. Moving her other hand, she reached out and grabbed him in the tight sheath she'd created in the palm of one of her hands as she wrapped her long fingers around his swollen length. She fisted him slowly, dragging the pad of her thumb from the base of his shaft to the glistening tip and back again. Each time she did so, the torturously slow movement elicited a small groan from him.

"Mmmmm..." she almost purred as she tilted her head and studied him for a moment. "Mmmm..."

As soon as she'd reached for him, Angel felt a stab of pleasure tear through him that immediately pushed any memory of how Eve had touched his body out of his mind. The sole remnant of the rational part of his mind began to wonder, as she fisted him in a wickedly enjoyable way, that perhaps that was what Brennan had intended to do all along as she touched him. He both dreaded and yearned for her to wrap her hot wet lips around him, and with every few seconds that she didn't, he couldn't help but feel his excitement growing. When he glanced down and saw that she still hadn't moved her head any closer to his crotch, his impatience got the better of him. Gently, but firmly, he let his fingers intertwine in her silky, straight auburn hair. Placing a hand on each side of her head, he pulled her lightly forward.

"Don't tease me," he growled.

Brennan answered his statement with actions and not words as she immediately released his cock from where she'd held it in her hand and used her other one to press it flush against his body. She let her eyes dart up to meet his for a split second as he realized what she was about to do before she did it.

Dare me? she seemed to say as she looked at him with those expressive eyes of hers that had always held him in some sort of inexplicable thrall.

Yeah, he answered wordlessly. I do.

This time when she leaned in towards him, her hot tongue made contact with his sensitive skin. She started at the base of his shaft, and used the flat of her rough tongue to swipe a zigzag pattern, moving in one direction and proceeding forward until she reached his tip. The swollen tip of his cock already gleamed in the soft light of the one or two office accent lamps that he'd left on earlier. Removing the hand that had pressed his cock flush against his body, she couldn't help herself as she opened her mouth and took just the tip of him in her mouth. She let her now freed hand move to cup his balls, as she kneaded small circles with her thumb.

The combination of finally feeling her mouth on him, combined with how she was palming his heavy sack while massaging it with her thumbs, caused him to almost come right in that moment. He bit down on his bottom lip, and managed to exert some level of self-control with only an unintelligible grunt escaping from his mouth as she worked him over. Despite the fact that she had a mouthful of cock in that moment, she couldn't help herself as she grinned at his tenacity. She gave the tip of his cock a few more light sucks, as if she were rolling a particularly large ice cube around in her mouth. She moved quickly, not letting her lips and tongue stay in any one place for any significant period of time as she concentrated on the top half of his shaft. After a minute, when she felt his grip on her head lessen slightly, she adroitly shifted her head away from him, and let him fall away from her mouth.

He was panting when she looked up at him, and she grinned evilly. "What do you think so far?" she asked him. "Am I as good as I said?"

Widening his eyes and gasping at the loss of contact, he blinked several times before he reached for her head and said, "Ask me again in a few minutes after I've actually come in your mouth. Then we'll see if it was worth all the build-up."

She chuckled at him again as she let him move her head closer to his cock that stood rigid and shining as it was covered in a mixture of his precum and her saliva. She instantly opened her mouth, and this time moved to take him as fully into her mouth as possible, spurred on by the sight of him twitching in anticipation of feeling her lips wrap around him again.

The first time she took him in her mouth completely, he was surprised when he pressed as far as he could and hit the back of her throat. For some reason, he expected her to begin gagging and let him lose. When she didn't, but merely moved her jaw slightly to accommodate his length and girth, he felt another flash of want course through him.

"God, I want you," he groaned as he threaded his fingers in her hair again. When he felt her begin to suck on him in earnest, his knees buckled a bit, and a mutter escaped his lips as he moaned, "Unnnnggtthh."

Brennan took the wobble she felt as a supreme compliment and also as a sign of encouragement. She quickly redoubled her efforts and began an alternating motion of sucking him as she moved her head forward and licking the circle of his shaft as she moved backward. Very quickly, she established a steady rhythm, and Angel felt the tugging in his navel moving hard and faster so that soon he felt a building wave getting ready to explode within him. He continued to pull her towards him, ignoring the fact that his efforts might be hindering more than helping his goal of letting her suck him until she'd drained every last drop of him dry.

"Ooohhhh—" he groaned, no longer caring if Lorne or the entire staff of the Wolfram and Hart-L.A. Office heard him when he came. "Fuck, Bren. Ohhh, fuck. That's good."

Finally hearing his gravelly voice egg her on, Brennan redoubled her efforts, increasing the speed at which her head bobbed up and down in front of him. At some point, she'd let her hands fall away from his balls, and her fingers had grabbed a muscular handful of his ass as he began to thrust into her mouth in earnest.

"Ohhhhh, shit," he muttered, feeling his release coming on hard and fast. "Bren...I think...oh, fuck. I'm gonna..."

Her only response was to wrap her lips around him tighter and to suck him even harder.

As pinpricks of light started to tear at the edge of his field of vision, his eyes rolled back into the back of his head, and he swallowed once as he felt her dug her nails into his ass, and he plunged into her mouth one last time.

"Brennnnan," he moaned, as he felt himself start to spend. "Oh, fuck, Bren—"

With one last grunt, he finally let himself go as he spilled his milky white come into her waiting mouth. He groaned with the ecstatic relief of it all as he felt his body shake with release. A couple of more jerks, and he was done. Brennan only let her mouth fall away from his now softening cock when she was sure she'd drained him of every last ounce of come that he had to give her. When he felt the moist cocoon of her mouth fall away from him, he whimpered slightly in protest.

Quickly standing up, Brennan couldn't help but chuckle as it was actually her legs that wobbled a bit despite the fact that she'd teased him earlier about being the one with shaky feet. She grinned as she met his eyes, and for a moment, it seemed they were both surprised that they were still upright. She took only a moment before she pushed him towards the back of the couch. He landed on the floor with a distinct ummmph, as he hadn't had time to kick away his trousers or his shoes. Looking up at her from where he'd landed on the flat of his back, he raised his head off the ground and tilted it slightly, confusion still evident on his face in the moments after his orgasm had rendered his brain low on operating capacity.

Stalking towards him, she narrowed her eyes and licked her lips, finally saying the first coherent words she'd muttered in some time. "Sweet," she chuckled. "Very sweet...just like I always knew it would be."

"Bren?" he said, not certain what she was going to do next and quite sure he didn't have a prayer at figuring it out considering the mind-sucking orgasm she'd just blown him to.

"That was once," she said. "Now, I intend to go for number two in fairly short order because I'm better than her. You said it, but I'm going to prove it. I'm better than her and every other one of them in every fucking way.." She stopped and looked around before she spoke again. "" she asked him.

"Uhhh, what?" he blurted out. He looked at her, blinking away the haze in his vision as he struggled to regain his bearings. His skin was flushed from his shattering release, which was made all the more mind-numbing by the fact that he'd been more or less aroused for the better part of an hour before he finally let go. "Bren?" he asked, narrowing his eyes as he watched her look around the room as if she was a lioness seeking the perfect place to mark her territory. "What are you—?"

"" she asked. "Here...I think it was...the place where you fucked that demon-spawn trollop."

She didn't wait for an answer as she reached around and unclasped her bra. Slowly, she shrugged out of it, letting Angel enjoy the view of her removing the very pretty garment. Dangling it in her hand for a moment, she let it fall to the office floor in a wisp of silkiness. Not wasting another moment, she hooked her thumbs in the lacy waistband of her tanga panties and slowly peeled them off of her legs—legs that looked very, very long and luscious to Angel in that moment.

Prowling towards him, she narrowed her eyes, and Angel knew that he was in trouble—of the best kind—when he saw the telltale glow of her blue eyes start to get brighter with each step that she took towards him.

"I really hope," she told him as she pushed him onto his back and carefully stepped over him so that she was straddling him with each each knee pressing against his hips, "that you're ready to put some of that creative enthusiasm of yours to use...or do I need to give you a little help in the stamina department?"

"You...really...need to ask me that?" he groaned, his eyes narrowing as he looked at her with a glance of lustful want plainly writ on his face.

"Unless you're being less than truthful with've come at least three times in less than three hours," she smirked at him. "And, since you're not a sixteen-year old who's never had sex before or some variant on a spidermonkey, I just want to make certain you can keep up with me, Angel. Now, if you need a bit of magical umph to make that happen, no problem, sweetness. Just tell me."

"You're so full of shit sometimes, Bren," he said. Thrusting up with his thighs, he knocked her off balance so she collapsed on top of him. He grinned as he felt her warm and pliant body fall onto his, and he wrapped his arms around her as they rolled over so that she was now the one underneath him. "You know I've never had any issues in that department. I can keep up with you, every step of the way..." He twisted his hips against hers. "No one's ever challenged me the way you have, Bren. As a lover—or otherwise. No one. The way you make me feel. You're the only one who can do that to me. The only one. So tell me what you want." he coaxed her. "Come on, lass. Tell me, and I'll do it. I can tell you want me...but tell me how you want me, and I'll give it to you."

"Only me," she told him. "I intend to fuck the image of Eve and this office out of your mind before I'm done. So...fuck me...fuck me harder, fuck me faster, fuck me more than you ever fucked her."

"Hmmmm," he chuckled. "We've always fucked that way, Bren. Harder, faster and with more...well, with more more everything...than anything I ever did with her...or anyone else. You know that. You've known it since the very first time, Bren—a hundred fifty years ago. But I'm all up for proving it to you again. You wanna do it here, yeah? Fine. I'm always game for you, Bren. Always."

Shifting a bit, Angel brought himself up on his knees, and this time it was his turn to straddle her. Quickly, he reached down, and wanted to brush his muscular chest against hers, but it took a moment for him to realize that he was still wearing his shirt. "Shit," he muttered, wondering for a moment how he could have forgotten he was still wearing it. Reaching down, he didn't bother to unbutton the shirt, but pulled it over his head and tossed it behind him. Then, he finally was able to press his skin to hers, and he felt a stab of excitement begin to build at the base of his spine. When he pulled away, and heard her mewl in protest, the excitement grew. Using his arms, he bent down and quickly used it to flip her over. Sliding one of his arms underneath the softness of her belly, he grunted as he lifted her up so that her back was flush against his chest and stomach as she knelt on her hands and knees.

Bringing his lips to her ear, he nibbled her earlobe and whispered, "This is what I did to her. I took her and used her and fucked her from behind...just like this. Twice. I was a fucking animal, Bren—rough and demanding. I gave her no quarter. I didn't stop or slow down to make sure she got off. I took her, hard, rough and fast." He nipped at her ear and growled. "I'll admit it. I wanna give it to you rough, Bren. Is that what you want? Do you want me to use you like I used her? Is that it? Do you want it hard and rough and fast, Bren?"

"Yessss," she hissed. "Now...right now."

Even though Angel hadn't moved his eyes to meet hers, he could tell by the familiar tickle of the electrical static around them that she was building very close to coming already. "God, Bren—" he moaned as he reached for her chin, turned her head and sought out her lips. "Why? We're better than that—so much better than that. Even...even before, before I got my soul back...even then I made sure you got two for every one of mine. It was always more than just me fucking you. Even back then, it was always different with you than with any other woman."

"Then," she grunted as she turned her face so that she was looking at him. "Prove it. I need you...I need you to prove it, Angel. Fuck me like you fucked her. Make me feel it...all of it...better than you did for her. It may be stupid, Angel, and it may make no sense, but it's what I want." She rotated her hips so that she could press against him to illustrate her point. "And I want it now."

When he felt her press her ass against his shaft—which had long since already hardened again for want of her—he moaned as he used his knee to spread her legs. Shifting slightly, he reached between them for his cock and brought it up to tip of the cleft in her ass. Parting the soft folds of her cheeks, he heard her moan as he felt her bend forward slightly to give him better access.

"Give it to me," she told him forcefully in a tone that left no doubts in either of their minds that she was making a demand of him.

Lifting his head, he leaned forward and pulled her hair, gently arching her head back so he could press his lips to her ear. He whispered in a gravelly voice, "If that's what you want, I'll give it to you." He stopped talking long enough to suck on her earlobe, bringing the soft and tender skin between his teeth, holding it there as he twirled his tongue around the sensitive flesh and then sucked on it for good measure. He felt Brennan tilted her head even farther back as she whined lightly in that throaty drawl of hers that had always made Angel's balls hitch and his cock stiffen at the same time. After a minute, he released her earlobe and then began to kiss his way down her neck and the strong curve of her right shoulder blade. He only stopped when he came to a particularly favorite swell of her shoulder. Pressing his lips to the warmth of her skin, he'd always been drawn to that one spot since it was one of two places on her entire body where he believed she smelled the sweetest...and the one place where he could let loose his fangs on her, but would never be able to get her to surrender to him no matter how hard he tried. "But, this won't be on your terms, Bren. This time...this time it's on mine."


"No," he grunted as he rolled his hips back and thrust towards her. " wanted me to treat you like Eve? Then, this is how that goes. She was like a piece of meat, and I was a starving man. I devoured her. I fucking ravaged her. Like Angelus, I took and took and took and didn't give anything back except the come I left inside of her when I was done because she didn't deserve more, Bren. She didn't deserve anything else. She wasn't special. She was just a warm wet hole that I could stick my cock into and buck until I'd came." Reaching down, he grabbed his cock and used his hand to guide it towards her wet hole. "She was drenched and waiting for me too by the time I was ready to stick it in her. I took her and didn't stop until I was empty." He heard the tumble of his words and swallowed. "And it was empty, Bren. Fucking empty. After it was over, I felt empty." He jerked his hips into her, letting his shaft brush the sensitive skin of her inner thigh. "It's never like that with you," he added with a grateful sigh. "It hasn't been for a long, long time. But—if that's what you really want, who am I to deny you anything? It's fine by me."

Once he'd lined his shaft up with her entrance, he pushed forward and slid into her. For a moment, he forgot where he was and could only feel the ecstatic happiness that he'd reveled in each time he felt himself inside her once again.

"Oh, God, Bren—" he groaned, his eyes squeezed shut, and he felt himself begin to spiral towards his release already. " you you always feel, how you've always felt. It's all I've ever wanted. Even...even when I was with Eve...with anyone else, it''s never ever been like this."

"Touch me," she moaned. "Oh, please...Angel. Move. Touch me.'re killing me."

Only too happy to comply, he grunted as he gritted his teeth and began to move. After seven or eight fluid thrusts, when they'd found their rhythm, Brennan pressed back against him. Angel had to use his grip on her hips to steady himself as she cried out with each time he pistoned into her.

"Ahh," she moaned softly. "Ohhh, fuck. Ahhh, ahhhh, ahhhhh."

Angel almost didn't care how loud they were in that moment, but when he heard a small rustling behind them, he lifted one of his hands up off of her hips as he stilled his thrusts and quickly brought his hand to to cover her mouth. Offering her the fleshy part of his palm, he whispered, "Bite me if you have to." The slowing of his movements drew her attention. Brennan, processing his words as if on a five-second delay, could only swallow once before taking his meaning. She used what little rational thought that she could manage in that moment to convey her understanding and nodded.

Satisfied, Angel resumed moving. After another dozen strokes, he could tell they were both close as the air around them once more crackled with the blue electricity that had always heralded her release when she was with him. Angel struggled to last long enough to push her over the edge, and when he moved his other hand off of her hip, snaked it across her waist, and brought it to her swollen clit, he only had to move his thumb along the top in frenzied back and forth movement a few times before he achieved his goal. He felt her body tense, and as her tight walls fluttered around his shaft, he was kept from having to bit his own lip to keep from crying out when he felt her sharp teeth dig into the soft part of his skin.

"Unnngggttthhh," he groaned quietly as he pumped into her and released his hot come into her in three or four last jerks. "Oh fuck, Bren," he whispered softly as he collapsed limply against her body.

Somehow, Brennan managed to stay upright and that was the only reason the pair of them didn't collapse onto the ground.

After a minute, he moved his hand away from her mouth and slipped out of her wet folds, and used his nose to move her hair away from the sweep of her neck and placed a delicate kiss there. "God, Bren...that was so much much better than before. Don't ever doubt that. She's got nothing on you," he told her with a languid smile tugging at his lips, even though she couldn't see it. "No one ever has...and I don't think anyone ever will. You know that, right? You trust it? You believe it? You believe me? You're the only one I want. Believe me, alright? Cause it's the truth." He laid another, slightly harder and more demanding kiss, sucking at the skin on her neck, then said, "Am I forgiven, lass? Tell me."

"Yes," she gasped as she felt him draw her skin between his lips with another sucking kiss. "Ohhhh, yes..."

"Are you sure?" he asked, pulling his mouth from her neck with a relieved sigh. "Mmm?" He laid another kiss on her soft, silky skin.

Brennan arched her neck in response to the pleasure of his touch. "God, yes," she hissed.

"Good," he snickered. "'Cause I don't think I was gonna win a battle of stubborns with you. You thick-headed, willful goddess, you. And you say I'm the stubborn one."

Slowly, by way of answer, Brennan—her lovely face flushed a bright pink color from her own orgasm—rolled over and turned her head to kiss him. But, just before their lips met, she whispered softly, "I think you're going to have to do that to me again, least a couple of more times before I'll believe you."

He happily nodded as he met her lips with a kiss with acknowledgement of what they'd just shared and with a strong promise of what was to come.

They hadn't really bothered to dress after they'd managed to work up enough energy to stumble to the elevator and ride it back to his penthouse on the 30th floor since it was only a 3-floor elevator ride that had seemed rather long the first time they'd taken it down to his office that evening, but now seemed incredibly short. She'd pulled on his shirt, while he'd tugged on his pants, and they both gathered what clothing they saw in a heap that was promptly dropped at the foot of his bed before he ripped his shirt off of her and proceeded to show her that he was, indeed, still good for acts three and four where she was concerned if she could keep up with him.

Later, replete and drowsy, Brennan lay splayed over his chest while he was situated in the middle of his bed. She smacked her lips and said, "I hate how you make me feel sometimes."

"What?" he asked as he rhythmically moved one of his hands up and down the smooth, ivory skin of her back. "Why?"

"In my work at the Jeffersonian, it...well, I don't use my powers very often. I mean, I don't use either magic or magick very often."

"Remind me again," Angel murmured against her. "What's the difference?"

"Magic is small things. Things that get done in the normal course of a day...trivial things, almost. They don't take a tremendous amount of effort or power on the part of a witch. But, magicks? Those are some serious spells. Those are the powerful, rare things that a witch only engages in when she must because there's a great cost in both energy and effort to make them work. Such spells when magick is work is never an undertaking to be taken on lightly or pursed without serious forethought of the consequences that such magicks can wrought." She paused and then continued, "As I said, I don't use my powers to cast either magic or magick most days. I know that makes you giddy, but it's not just because of you that I do it. There's a beautiful consistency to the scientific process, and it's come to bring me a great deal of solace in recent years. It's objective and factual and constant...and simple. Science can be beautifully very unlike everything related to magic. But, the more that I think and exist in that world, the more I get knocked off base when I come back to this world when I'm not just one of the world's best forensic anthropologists who works at the Jeffersonian Institute. When I leave D.C., and come back to the world of magic that I left behind...the world where I can be with you—even if it's just for whatever time we can steal here and there—it gets harder and harder for me to deal with the emotions when I come here. I'm not the same person I was, but I keep being reminded of her no matter how hard I work to distance myself and remake myself anew.."

"Bren," Angel whispered, turning his head and pressing a soft kiss on her forehead. "You don't really mean that. I mean, you're not—are you telling me you don't want me, or to be with me, after all that's happened between us? I know you're not. Right?" He rubbed his faintly-stubbled chin against her temple as a certain glassy sadness descended over his warm brown eyes. "Help me. I-I...I don't understand."

"No, of course I still want you," Brennan said with a faint waiver at the edges of her voice. "It's just...well, I can't make the shift from stoic, compartmentalized scientist to suave and debonair five hundred year-old witch that I once was as easily as I thought I could. Each time it gets more and more difficult. It's like I'm two separate people...and you have no idea how infuriating it is to make that shift...but when I do, you're the one constant."

He stopped rubbing her back for a minute and then asked, "Do you regret coming here?"

"No," Brennan said. "I remember, don't you? You have your curse to bear just like I have mine...'bowed, domesticated, and finally broken.' Remember? Your soul was a curse, Angel. But my soul? It was parceled into three parts. That was the price to be paid for the deal I made for part of what's made me as I am today...the youth and the power."

Angel brushed his lips along the curve of her shoulder and nodded. "I know," he murmured. "I know."

"And, I can't help but feel more and more of an attachment to you since I gave you the power to break me, Angel. I think that's more and more time has passed? Well, since you know this already...we both do. But since that night in Chicago...I don't think even I knew at the time how pivotal a night that was for me. The logisitikon was always mine to have and to do with what I could, and I think the reason I took to anthropology as I did was because it's a world where the logos can not only function, but thrive. That only left the thumetikon and the epithumetikon to consider. I was always going to lose one of was only a matter of time and a question as to who I would lose it to and under what circumstances. I didn't have a choice in which one I would part with...the epithumetikon is the feminine side. I'm a female, it's the part that defines me most in some ways. So, it was the thumetikon that I had to give away and learning to live without that has been...a struggle. It's made even more difficult when I'm around you and am reminded of what I lost. Because...when I'm with you, I get just enough of a taste of what I'm missing that I remember what I don't have. It's—it's part of what makes me so off kilter sometimes. The jealousy...the bitchiness...the hurt and anger that I felt getting stronger and stronger in the last few years? All of them contributing to the insecure vulnerabilities I have now? Well, I think that they've all emerged because I don't...I don't know how to handle that part of myself when I'm with you and remember that it's there...even if I can't feel it all the time."

Angel narrowed his eyes and scratched his jaw as he listened. "I know, Bren. It's...I know it's not easy. But...we agreed. We'd find a way to make it work."

"I know," she said, snuggling against him. "Sometimes...on some days, like today, it takes more work than on others, I suppose."

He was quiet for a minute and then said, "So is this your way of telling me I need to get you some type of warning label that says 'caution: do not operate rarely used parts of the logos without ensouled vampire supervision?'"

Brennan shot him a look and then said, "Don't make me smack you."

He wagged his eyebrows at her playfully and then a thoughtful look over took his face. "You know, I really should have been paying more attention to my Greek philosophy in school, aye?" he said with a smile, allowing his long-ago sublimated Galway brogue bleed through again. He reached over and tucked a lock of Brennan's hair behind her ear and said, in his normal, Americanized style, "So that's what you gave to me? Your thumekiton?"

"Thumetikon," Brennan corrected him as he shrugged with a sheepish grin. She laughed, then continued. "When I found you that night back in Chicago, you'd lost your bearings, your sense of purpose. The thumetikon is the masculine third of the human soul, the portion often referred to as the 'spirited soul.' That part of the soul is said to be the wellspring from which come a sense of honor and duty, and which helps regulate the emotions and appetites so that the rational element of the soul, the logistikon, can govern. I had a vague sense that you needed my thumetikon more sorely than I did, and knowing that, as a woman, I really needed to hang on to my epithumetikon, I decided to part with my thumetikon and give it to you. And..." Brennan sat up a little, drawing her teasing thumb across his nipple before raising her head and kissing him lightly on the cheek. "It seems as though you've done alright with it, for the most part."

"For the most part, huh?" Angel chuckled. "Thanks."

"I mean," she laughed, "that you've done well enough. Not as well as I could have done, given the chance, but not bad. A strong effort."

He rolled his eyes playfully. "You're so stingy with compliments," he said. "You make it seem like I'm in some sort of Twelve-Step Program for ego reduction."

"Are you?" she asked with a smirk. He stuck his tongue out and made a teasing pffft sound.

Angel looked away for a moment, lost in thought, then nodded to himself and gently turned her head, bringing her lips to his and kissing her, softly at first and then, as she parted her lips, more deeply and passionately, their tongues tangling for a few seconds before they broke apart again.

"What you did for me," he said, "back then, and even in all the time since, all those times...well, I'm really grateful for it." He stroked his thumb under her chin. "You saved me, Bren."

He pursed his lips and thought about what she had done, and the bargain she'd made. When she'd stumbled on him that night in the shadows, huddled on the sidewalk trying to conserve his warmth on that bitterly cold night as the wind snarled off Lake Michigan, and he'd followed into her apartment, he had no idea that she, too, had been hobbled by a costly bargain that meant her soul and her life was no longer entirely her own. But as that evening wore on, and the years since then passed, it was clear that, though she was—for the most part, that is—human, and he had long since lost his own humanity, the bond they shared was profound, and not only because she'd given him the power to destroy her. In a way, he thought as he held her close to him, relishing in the way her silky skin warmed his own, she knew his struggle more than probably any other being on earth.

"Yes," she said with a smile, which faded quickly as she returned to her earlier train of thought. "I know. It's just—"

"What?" he asked, sensing her hesitation.

Drawing a breath, she responded, "You remember...well, the terms of the original deal I made? The one that I made where, if I didn't find a compatible immortal to entrust with it before the five-hundredth anniversary of the day I struck that bargain, He'd take it and find a keeper for it?"

"Of course," he nodded at her. "As if I could forget something like that."

"Well," she said. "It's like I've said before...when I decided to make the choice to offer a part of myself to give it to you as I did that night—I gave a piece of myself into your keeping. And, I'm only whole so long as our bond stays renewed every fifth sabbath. I think we learned our lesson, after you left Chicago." Brennan paused, pursing her lips and averting her eyes from his as she let her gaze fall on the line of his collarbone, skimming from the notch at the base of his neck and up to the outside of his round, muscular shoulders. She took a breath and said, "What I mean is, those five years you stayed with me, after that night, were in a lot of ways the best five years of my life, and—"

"I feel that way, too, Bren," Angel said, smiling at the feeling of warmth that oozed through his chest as he recalled the happy memories of that part of their lives. "But, act like all the good times ended when those five years were over. We both know that's not true. When I left—"

"Angel," she said quietly. "You know...that time we were together? I mean, of course, I've been happy with you since then. Many, many times over. But...those five years, though—to have you with me, waiting for me when I came home each night with a kettle of tea on the stove, or a bottle of whiskey when you always knew it had been a bad day and that I'd need something stronger? Well, it was nice that way, to share our life the way we did for those few years. To be with you in the evenings, to fall asleep in each others' arms each night and sleep in late in the mornings—that was quite nice...perfect, really. I think that you were happy, too, Angel, in your own, quasi-brooding, vampiric kind of way..." She arched an eyebrow and smiled, hoping to elicit a smile from him, but her own face slackened as she saw his somewhat forlorn expression. "You were, weren't you? Happy, I mean."

He turned to her, nibbling the inside of his lip for a moment before he raised his eyebrows and a faint smile spread across his lips. "I was," he said. "I was happy. I didn't leave because I wasn't happy. I left because I didn't want to be happy at your expense, Bren. And because I wasn't sure how you could have the life you wanted, the life that would make you happy, and to have a life for myself—to do something with myself, that would somehow let me find a bit of purpose for myself and maybe some happiness—with us keeping on that way. And I wasn't happy those six months I spent in New York, after you went off to Mexico. It took me awhile to find myself, even after all that, and—"

"But we figured it out," she said, interrupting him lest he talk himself back into a brooding mood the way she had seen him do a thousand times before. "It took a few years, but we eventually figured it out—that we had to come together, at least every fifth year, on Halloween, to renew and reinforce the bond between us. Even though we've led separate lives since then, and had some significant bumps along the way, I think we've somehow made it work, in our own inexplicable way. Don't you?"

Angel blinked and asked, "What? Make it work?" A smile, not a faint one but a wider, toothier one, broke across his face. "Yeah, it's like you said earlier. For the most part, there are lots of good days...a few not so good days. But, in between them, we make it work. I'm not sure how or why, but yeah, we make it work." He turned and kissed her forehead again. "I wish that there was a way that we could do what we do and have what we have but be able to see more of each other. This—the way we've been—it's just hard. I miss you so much, Bren. I mean, maybe someday we'll figure out how to both of us be happy and make a difference in our respective worlds in the same place, but in the meantime?" He stopped and then said, "I wasn't just blowing smoke up your skirt earlier, Bren. I meant what I said...I don't want to keep doing this once or twice a year, or every third or fifth year. I-I...I think, maybe...we're at a point where we can try to be in the same place at the same time and maybe—" He cupped her jaw in his hand and drew his thumb along the edge of her cheekbone and tilted his head to the side as he gazed into her glistening blue eyes. "I want more, Bren."

She blinked at him a few times, and then said, "So...this is your way of starting The Talk, hmmm?"

Angel shrugged. "I was being honest when I said I've been thinking about it for a long time...I just didn't think that you—or me, if I'm gonna be 100% honest—were ready to make a serious go at things and have them finally work. But, now, Bren? Now...I think we can. And...I want to try."

Brennan considered his words for a moment and then said, "You really want to do this?"

"Yeah, Bren," he nodded. "I do."

When she answered again, this time, there wasn't any further hesitation on Brennan's part. "If that's what you want, then that's what I want, too, Angel," she said, her voice moist with emotion. "I think we've gotten ourselves into trouble when we try to keep separate lives apart. It doesn't work, and somebody just ends up getting hurt no matter how good our intentions were not to cause any pain or suffering."

"Yes," he said quietly. "'s not like we really have separate lives. We live apart, sure...and those lives may exist partially in other worlds, but I really think we can find a middle way, between your world and mine...can't we?" Angel stroked his fingers over her soft, silky auburn hair.

"That's all I want," she said softly. "That's all I've ever wanted...I just, I'm not quite certain how to go about doing it."

"Well...what if we start simple?" he asked. "What if we try to see each other one weekend a month?" He paused, considering what he'd just said, and then frowned as he added, "I mean, it'll take some doing, but...well—"

Brennan smiled. "I know," she said with a soft laugh. "Travel isn't easy for you." She remembered the time he took the red-eye from LAX to Dulles and a mechanical problem with the aircraft delayed the flight for two hours, and how miserable he'd been upon arrival after spending the last two hours of the flight defending his use of the window shade from the crotchety old woman sitting next to him in First Class. "I could come to you," she said. "I think I can probably come up with an arrangement whereby Dr. Goodman at Jeffersonian permits me to take a three- or four-day weekend once a month."

"Really?" Angel said, a hopeful smile growing on his handsome face.

"Yes," she said. "To start...I think a good idea. I mean, we'll have to be careful about scheduling between my work at the Jeffersonian and my teaching...but, yes, I think it's a good place to start, especially since...well, since we're setting terms, here...I think the words you used earlier was formally to add a few labels to what we are, then you know that there'll be no more of this...what happened tonight, Angel."

"Bren, I already explained to you that the whole thing with Eve was out of my control," he said, a vague whine on the edge of his voice. "And you agreed that it was all a bunch of magic. And you said you forgave me. So, what's—"

"Listen, Angel," she said, gently cutting him off. "I did forgive...I do forgive you. And, look, I know that I was probably more...emotional tonight than normal when I were with Eve and all that mattered—all valid reasons and acceptable explanations aside—was that she was with you when I wasn't. But you have to hurt...and even if it's illogical and irrational, it still does make a small part of me afraid. It makes me very fearful that one'll hurt me and see me 'bowed, domesticated, and finally broken.'"

He was quiet for a minute as the events of that night—the night she rescued him from his own oblivion on the cold, damp streets of Chicago—replayed through the newsreel of his mind.

"Bren," he said quietly, resuming the slow, rhythmic motion of his fingers over the smooth, soft plane of her back. He thought back to the first sixty years of their acquaintance, of the way he spoke then, when even a hundred-odd years after he'd left his hometown in on the west coast of Ireland, his voice still dripped with a honeyed Gaelic brogue. "Lass," he said with a faint smile that faded as his eyes skimmed over the features of her beautiful, square-jawed face. "I made you a promise that night. And I've never thought about breaking that promise...not once. Not for a moment. A hundred years I spent in hell and I never broke that promise, and I never will. I will never hurt you. I will never betray you. You just have to trust me. Trust me now as you trusted me then."

She considered his words and then leaned up to kiss him gently. "I'm still here, aren't I?" .

"Aye," he nodded. "That you are."

Brennan took a deep breath. "Then...Angel, please—promise me that...well...that, no matter what, whether we decide to see each other more often or stick to our earlier arrangement...I can' has to be all or nothing, Angel."

"Yes," he said, leaning in closer so that their foreheads touched. "I think it's always been that way, but we've been too blind to see it. You're it, Bren. You're the one I want. The only one I want. You know that, right?" He kissed her softly on the lips and pulled away, watching her expectantly.

"Yes," she said, her solemn nod slowly giving way to a wide, closed-mouth smile. "I know it. And you're it for me, Angel. The only one I want."

"Good, then," he said with a toothy grin. "And just so we're clear," he added. "I'm not letting you out of my sight for the next three days."

He reached over and held her jaw in his hand and pulled her lips to his for another kiss, grasping at her mouth with his and humming at the sweet taste of her mouth and the warmth that spread through his chest at feeling her tongue glance against his.

After a moment, he broke off the kiss and said, "On second thought, I'm inclined to not let you out of my arms for the next three days—at least not for more than a minute or two at a time, tops."

"What about being the CEO and president of said multidimensional evil law firm?" she asked him.

He was quiet for a minute and then said, "Except for one short conference call tomorrow morning, I'm gonna clear the rest of my schedule. It's just you, me, here...and I promise I'll make it up to you tomorrow once I've finished that damn conference call." He stopped and then tilted his head at her as a rather sly grin crossed his face. "On second thought, I've got a better idea."

"What?" Brennan asked him, the amusement clear in her voice.

Leaning forward, he looked deeply into her eyes as he said, "Stay with me."

"I already am staying with you," she laughed. "Remember? You've got me for the next three days before I have to be back in D.C."

"No," he said. "That is, I want you to stay longer."

Blinking a few times, Brennan arched her eyebrow as she said, "For how long?"

"A week," he responded. "Maybe two."

She stared at him for a minute and then shook her head. "Angel, come on. You know I can't just disappear from my job at the Jeffersonian for two weeks. I have work to do—"

"Then, you can do it here," he offered. "You already have your laptop. Anything else you need is just an elevator ride away. Don't you know that we've got some of the best lab space in the entire world here, down in Practical Sciences? And, Fred—she's heading up the lab down there for the company now—she'll love you. And I think you'll really like her. This'll be great because it'll give you two an excuse and a chance to finally meet. You two can do that genius talk thing of yours and play in the lab during the day and at night, uhhhh...we can play here." He punctuated his offer with a toothy grin. "Come on, what do you say?"

Brennan stared at him for another minute before she said, "You're serious, aren't you?"

"Dead serious," he nodded. "Stay. I want you to stay with me."

"Angel, I can't—" she sighed sadly. "You know I can't. All my work is back in D.C. I can't just leave the cases I'm working on there to sit—"

"Why not?" he asked. "Get whatever you need Fed-exed here, or better yet. Why don't you let me find you some really interesting bones to play with? I'm sure we've got to have some skeletons somewhere that need to be dusted off and pranced out during a long overdue spring cleaning." He paused and then gave her another cocky smile as he said, "You want me to call the Jeffersonian? Because I will. I'll tell them that we've got a very difficult case that we need their best bonesy expert on to help us with in an extended consultation, and—"

Laughing, Brennan felt unusually liberated as she said, "Consultation, huh?"

"Yup," Angel nodded solemnly. "One of the most important kinds."

"And, this consultation for which I'm so desperately needed?" Brennan asked, her eyes sparkling as she stared at him.

"Uh huh..."

"That consultation wouldn't happen to need to take place mostly in your bed would it?" she asked.

Moving his head towards her ear, he nipped it lightly before he whispered, "Damn straight it will."

"Angel—" she sighed, shivering slightly as he nibbled on her ear. "I can't—" But even as she was saying 'no' verbally, Angel could feel her resolve weakening.

"Stay," he repeated with another puff of hot air on her neck. "Stay with me." He punctuated his offer with another kiss, as he gently but firmly began to suck on the pulse point at the base of her neck. When she began to make a slight mewling sound, Angel knew he had her. "Say you'll stay."

"Yes," she breathed.

"Yes, what?" he prompted her.

"Yes," she said softly. "I'll stay."

"Excellent," he said as he moved his lips across her neck and towards her job. "Then after my conference call, you can have breakfast in bed and anything else you want."

She cracked a smile at him as she said, "Anything else I want, hmmm?" She paused and then gave him an evil smile as she said, "So, I guess that doesn't mean that I can I just order off the menu and choose you as the only thing I'd like to consume for my breakfast tomorrow morning?"

His brown eyes darkened with pleasure at her question. By way of an answer, he pulled her towards him, rolled them over, and began to give her a preview of what was on the chef's menu if he was her aperitif of choice once the morning came after all.

If there had been one thing that Harmony Kendall had grown used to in her time working for Wolfram and Hart, it was that there was no such thing as a 'normal' business morning—particularly on the morning after the company's annual Halloween party More than half of the department heads had already called in 'sick' and about one-half of those who'd actually managed to pull themselves up and were attempting to stumble into work had already called their respective supervisors to let them know that while they were definitely coming in, there would be some 'unexpected' delays in their arrival. Thus, Harmony was more than prepared to handle any grumbles she got from Angel and his immediate circle when they told her they wanted something done, and she knew she would have trouble making that happen due to a lack in available personnel.

However, what Harmony never would've expected...not in a million-trillion-gazillion years was that she found two very brief if cryptic messages from her boss. The first one she found, a yellow post-it note taped to her computer read "Clear Calendar for Next Three Days. No questions asked." It was signed with a tell-tale single initial—A. While she was puzzling over this strange development, Harmony began to suspect that perhaps someone had left the note on her computer screen to dupe her so that she got into trouble with Angel. However, when she sat down at her desk and turned on her computer screen, occasionally staring at the suspicious looking note as she chewed her bottom lip in confusion, she waited for her login on the firm's intranet to pop up so that she could check her email. She was debating if she should try to see if Angel was in his office—he'd had an important conference call two hours earlier that she knew he'd kept from the stack of notes that she saw he'd also left her on her desk. As Harmony contemplated this realization, she came to the conclusion that there was at least one good point of evidence that the post-it note was real, i.e., Angel had already been in the office and left. Then, when she opened up her email client, she saw an email from a familiar email address with a strange subject line that had been sent three hours earlier. The subject line read: "Yes, It's Real." Clicking on it, Harmony let out a sigh of relief as Angel told her that yes, he'd left her a note telling her to clear his calendar for three days; yes, he was serious; no, he wasn't joking; no, she couldn't ask any questions. He ended it by reminding her to check on the still passed-out empath demon who'd taken up residence in Angel's office.

An hour later, Harmony had just finished transcribing the notes Angel had left for her from the morning conference call when a perky voice addressed her. "Good morning, Harmony."

Looking up from her desk, Harmony's brow furrowed lightly as she saw Angel's liaison to the Senior Partners come bouncing toward her. "Yes?" Harmony asked, having never really liked Eve since she'd met her a couple of months before since she reminded her just a little too much of herself for comfort.

"Is Angel in?" she asked, tilted her head in the direction of his closed office door. "Normally, I'd go straight in, but I figured he might be a bit touchy after what happened yesterday, so I thought I'd behave just this once to keep him on his toes." She turned her head back to Harmony and then said, "I need to talk to him about something."

Narrowing her eyes, Harmony said, "You can't."

"Why not?" Eve asked, some of her smile disappearing. "I need—"

Mentally complementing herself on being professional enough not to roll her eyes at a person who, technically, Harmony supposed, was another firm employee, she tried to keep her responses in a similar vein when she spoke again. "Look, I know you're used to getting whatever you want whenever you want, but right now, if you need to talk to Angel, I'd suggest you send him an email. Or, if you want, you can leave a message with me, and I'll give it to him the next time he checks in. But, you can't—"

"Checks in?" a cultured English voice suddenly interrupted as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce suddenly appeared out of his office. Taking in the sight before him, his eyes darted back and forth between Eve, Harmony, and Angel's closed office door. "Did Angel go somewhere and not tell us?"

Looking to Wesley, Harmony's firm resolve crumbled a bit as she said, "Well, errr, not exactly. At least, I don't think he did so, but I'm not too certain. I just know he's—"

"Not in his office," a fourth voice suddenly interrupted, finishing Harmony's sentence as he did so. Spike's sharp Cockney caught Wesley and Eve's attention. "At least, he isn't anymore."

"Hey, blondie bear," Harmony said, unable to help herself as she flashed Spike a playful smile. "You over the case of uber happies you had yesterday?"

Tilting his head, Spike nodded, "Fuck yes. For the most part, I'm back to being my normal wanker of a self, thanks for asking." He then turned back to Wesley and Eve as she said, "What do you need the brooding ponce for, anyway?"

Eve narrowed her eyes and then answered vaguely, "Just normal Senior Partner Liaison/CEO stuff."

"Oh?" Spike asked. "And, that wouldn't happen to be code for you hoping to get another shot at turning a few more tricks with Captain Forehead, would it?"

A slight frown marred Eve's face as she said, "No. It wouldn't. I really need to talk to Angel about business."

"It'll have to wait," Spike said. "He's busy."

"Doing what?" Wesley asked, as he lowered the old manuscript he held in his hands, and looked at the incorporeal vampire with clear curiosity. "And, earlier, you said he's not in his office 'anymore'. So, does that mean he was in his office earlier, and you saw him?"

For a split second, Spike looked down at his feet, and smiled to himself as he recalled what he'd stumbled into the night before when he'd heard a noise in Angel's office several hours after the Halloween party ended, and he'd thought Lorne might've awakened. While he could've done without the part of seeing Angel come when Brennan sucked him into oblivion, he did admit that he admired the rack the witch had always had—particularly when she looked as lovely and flushed as she had when she'd been giving Angel a blowjob in his office. However, after a minute, Spike sobered and quickly wiped the smile off his face when he remembered how angry a certain witch with blue eyes could get when she was pushed too far. He winced as he recalled a particularly nasty hex she'd put on him not long after he'd been sired by Drusilla in early 1882 that had left him with a horn in the middle of his forehead for just under a month because he'd made a lewd comment about the size of her tits and how Angelus appeared to enjoy being attached to them like she was his nursing mother.

Shaking away the image, Spike answered, "I did. And the right question to ask, mate, it wasn't what he was doing at the time, but who the tosser was doing when last I saw him." He left his vaguely cryptic mark unfinished but for one more nod of acknowledgement before he turned back to Eve. "Now, as for you, you heard what Harmony said. Angel's busy, so unless you're prone to being hexed, I'd say sod off for the next couple o' weeks. She's got a nasty streak in her you'd do well to stay away from, but don't say you heard that from me."

He paused for a moment, considered what he'd just said, and then nodded again before he turned away from the group and disappeared back from whence he'd come, leaving Harmony, Eve, and Wesley watching in open-mouthed surprise as he went.

The next day, Brennan woke to feel the luxurious softness of Angel's sheets caress her naked body. The bed was colder than she'd expected, but since she was used to him disappearing—whether to feed, to save somebody, or to join a conference call with some demon clan now, it seemed—she knew he'd be back eventually. Quickly scanning the room for a note, not that she really expected one, she smiled when she glanced at a small cart that stood at the foot of the bed. Not bothering to clutch a sheet to cover her form, after she stretched in the bed, she let out a loud yawn before she threw her feet over the edge of the bed and walked towards the cart.

Arrayed on a grouping of silver platters were a selection of pastries, muffins, and bagels. A silver teapot sat over a small bunsen flame while Brennan saw a small silver creamer and selection of butters and whipped cream cheeses sat cooling in baths of icewater. She grinned as she saw her preferred selection of Earl Grey tea bags sat next to a stack of Irish Breakfast tea bags—once again a silent reminder of the age-old debate they'd had about which was the better type of tea...English or Irish. She lifted the Twinings' green-wrappered tea bag to her nose and sniffed it appreciatively. Although she'd never concede it out loud to him, Brennan had actually come to appreciate the Irish Breakfast tea he favored over the many years of their acquaintanceship. As she set the teabag down, her eyes darted the corner of the tray and she took in the sight of what looked like a jar of what seemed to be fresh strawberry preserves sitting next to a small crystal bud vase that held a single butter-yellow daffodil.

Brennan was about to take what looked to be a brown sugar tart covered in a drizzle of confectioner's sugar from the wide array of breakfast treats when she heard a shuffling in the outer room. She frowned when she instantly sensed it wasn't the one person who it was supposed to be.

Her suspicions were confirmed when a female voice called out, "Angel?" The tell-tale clack of heels on his floors echoed as the voice repeated her initial query while she walked towards the bedroom. "Angel? You here?"

As Eve rounded the corner and walked into the room, took in the sight of Brennan—who stood glaring at her with hands clasped defensively on her hips—she smiled as she saw that the other woman wasn't even making a move to cover herself.

"Why, hello there," Eve said.

Taking a disdainful sniff of the air, Brennan made a face as she recognized the tart scent immediately for what it was as she said, "Ahhh, you must be Eve."

"And, you would know that how?" the younger petite woman asked with an amused smile still clear on her face.

Chuckling, Brennan said, "Easy...I could smell you."

"Dandy," Eve grinned, refusing to be cowed by Brennan's behavior. "So, is Angel here?"

"No," Brennan said gesturing at the rumpled sheets and the pile of their clothes that they'd brought with them from his office and dumped at the foot of his bed. He'd obviously come and gone, and although Brennan had no way of knowing that he'd already completed his conference call—and had disappeared to go purchase her a second and fresh bouquet of daffodils—it didn't really matter to her as she stared at Eve with an unimpressed look on her face. "And, even if he were here , he'd be busy, so we'd both be telling you to come back later—when you had a properly scheduled appointment as made with his assistant, Harmony—anyway."

"Uhhh huh," Eve chuckled. "And, who are you again?"

"An old friend," Brennan said as she plucked the tart she'd been considering eating before Eve's arrival from the tray, brought it to her lips, and took a bite. She chewed it thoughtfully before she swallowed, then tilted her head at Eve and added, "A very old friend."

"Let me guess," Even said as she stared directly into Brennan's eyes. "You just flew in on your broom for the holiday or something, right?" Eve told her. "Ms...Brennan is it?"

"Dr. Brennan," she quickly corrected Eve. "Dr. Temperance Brennan of the Jeffersonian Institute." She stopped and then snapped her fingers, a familiar blue light shooting out and bouncing towards Eve. When it enveloped Eve and held her firm, Brennan walked past her towards Angel's closet, reached inside, and pulled a black sateen button down shirt off of one of his hangers. Shrugging into it, she smoothed the fabric with her hands and then turned around to face Eve. She grinned as she said, "You know, he hates it when I use my powers. And, now he's going to know I did it, and he's going to be pissed off because he especially doesn't like it when I use them near him...but, he can smell it on me. So, since it's not like I'm not going to hear him complaining about it since I've already gone and used them to get your attention anyway, I suppose it's only logical to take this opportunity to have a little chat between the two of us, hmmm, Eve? Because you obviously have an idea of who I am...and I know exactly who you that we've gotten the social niceties out of the way, I think it's more than past time to educate you on the finer points of how I don't like to share my toys...Angel being first among them. I never have, and I doubt that I ever will."

Her eyes skimmed over the features of Eve's face and she smirked at seeing the anxiety flicker in the young woman's eyes.

"And," she continued, "despite that fact that he wants to chalk everything that happened between you two last night up to mystical powers of a sleep-deprived empath demon, I'm not so certain. Especially, since I know my compulsion magics well enough to know that there has to be a basis of want on the part of at least one person involved in the spell for it to take hold. And, since we both know that the only reason Angel might've had a want of you is because your coloring might, in a vague way, remind him of me—well, that only leaves one person who can be wanting between you two, as evidenced I think quite clearly by the fact that you keep breezing into his apartment...his personal space...without invitation or right just because you think you can get away with it for some reason. So, as I said, all that means is we need to have a little chat to make certain none of this happens again. Now, do we understand each other...or do I need to go into more...detail?"

Eve could only blink in silence, not being able to actually verbalize as response, and her silence seemed to inordinately please Brennan as the witch's lips curled into a waiting smile as she decided what she would do next to drive her point home.

~The End~

A/N2- So, there we have it. Was it as good for you all as it was for us? ::blinks:: Anyway, coming up next in our sixth of nine pieces, and there's not so nearly as large a time gap between five and six. We will be in D.C. in 2004. For those keeping track, yes, that does catapult us past the series finale at the end of Season 5 in Angel and hurtle us closer and closer to the series premiere of Season 1 in Bones. Weirdest coinkydink ever on that one, huh? Want to see what happens to Angel and Bren next (and, yes, we can guarantee that it will continue to be complicated, emotional, but oh-so-hot in that way that only dharmasera tosses out there)? Then, us do your things by doing ours. Reviews are so precious, and most readers don't even know how important they are to writers. So, if you even moderately liked what you've seen here, and want to see some more, take 30 seconds, and let us know. Our deepest thanks in advance.