Title: Artistic License
Author: Dusk (dusk@goldserve.net)
Pairing: A/m (Angel/Host)
Rating: R
Series/Sequel: Seabreeze Situations #8.
Archive/repost: AngelSlash, RareSlash, Songs of Mercy, Slashrealm, LoveLorne
Website: https://www.angelfire.com/falcon/dusk/
Disclaimer: Not mine. No profit made. Just telling a story.
Summary: Cary gets bored and creative. Demons get fighty. Vampires get horny.
Comments: Feedback always appreciated. And these stories make a lot more sense when read in order. :) For Cleo, for choosing now-and-R over eventually-and-NC-17.
Posted: June '01

***
Angel awoke with the classic moment of disorientation. His own bed, minus the covers, all limbs and soul intact, no immediate threat, he summarised sleepily.

Okay. Good.

Except that someone was sitting on the backs of his thighs. He did a scent check and relaxed fractionally. It was Cary... which was odd, but not actually dangerous.

The scent check also brought a faint chemical tang.

"Dare I even ask what you're doing?" he mumbled into the pillow.

"Stop twitching," he was told.

"So that's a no, I shouldn't ask?"

"You'll mess it up if you keep moving, Angel. Quit squirming, will you?"

"I'll stop squirming when you tell me what you're doing to me. Mess what up?"

Cary sat back and put the cap back on the pen he held. "Well... and it's really a funny story... I was looking at your tattoo. One lonely winged thing on that great expanse of back...."

"...griffin...."

"Okay, griffin," Cary agreed. "Anyway, there's just one of it. So I decided to fill the rest of the space."

"With *what*? And how permanent is this graffiti?" Angel started to sit up and was pushed firmly back down.

"It'll wash off, don't worry. I wish you could see it."

"Cary. Tell me what you've written on me. Now."

Cary pulled a face. "So brusque this morning. Just pictures, mostly. A whole mythological menagerie. See, right here..." and he traced the picture on Angel's shoulder, "...we have a winged horse, to match the griffin. Then down the spine, a sea serpent..." he followed the lines with his fingertip, "...I said stop squirming, Angel."

Angel held still with difficulty.

"Then here..." and the touch moved to Angel's left lower back, "...we have a dragon of some kind."

"What kind?"

"I have no idea. How do you tell?"

"Uh... by the legs, I think. How many legs does it have?"

Cary counted. "Oops. Seven." He uncapped the pen and added another one.

Angel hid his smile in the pillow. "What else?"

"Up here..." and now the finger was tracing shapes on the back of his neck, "...well, it was meant to be a pterodactyl, but it kinda looks more like a depressed penguin."

Angel's shoulders were shaking now.

"Oh, you may laugh, mister, but you're the one who's been drawn on, not me." He moved back down to the right side of Angel's back. "And here's a tremou. A pretty good one, thank you so very much."

"A what?"

"I guess not all myths and legends are universal, then. Little baby demons of many species fall asleep to tales of... mostly of death and destruction and how great things were before the pesky humans took over, actually, but there's a few about various beasties. The tremou is a creature of great intelligence and cunning, who tricks all the other monsters into avoiding the best hunting grounds. Shame that it looks a lot like a giant spiny llama."

Angel was laughing again into his pillow.

"It's supposed to look like that!" Cary insisted indignantly. He uncapped the pen again and drew something elaborate on Angel's left buttock.

"What's that?"

"Signing my masterpiece. In Miquoti."

"You're not Miquot... aren't they the yellow ones with plates on their skulls? You don't have those."

"Well no, I'm not, yes they are, and I don't. But it's such a lovely language."

"You really were bored, weren't you?"

"Yes! I woke up and you were sleeping like the dead... which, now I think about it, isn't that strange...." He bent down until his breath tickled Angel's ear. "Poor me, all bored, with you selfishly sleeping... I had to do something to keep myself occupied."

"You *could* have made yourself useful, made coffee or something. Not that I'm complaining...." He paused and thought about that. "Actually, yes, I am complaining. I've been vandalised, I have every reason to complain."

"I was going to make breakfast, but then I thought of this, which was a *lot* more fun, and allowed me to stay here and look at you. Which I enjoy very much." He grinned.

Angel wasn't buying it. "Draw on me, you mean."

"That too."

"Now that I'm awake...."

Cary's breath was hot against his neck, and his hands rested either side of Angel's hips. Angel could feel the demon's body heat all the way down his back.

"Mmmhmm?"

"Why don't you go make coffee?"

Cary's response to that was fortunately interrupted by the phone ringing. With much effort, Angel managed to reach it without actually having to move, which would be close to impossible with a demon sitting on him.

"Mmm," he answered, somewhat inarticulately.

/ /Demon!// Cordelia shrieked.

"Um... yes?" He looked over his shoulder at Cary, wondering vaguely how Cordelia could see him.

/ /No, vision! Demon in vision! Ouch, that hurts. Big badass demon needs seeing to right *now*."//

"Ah," he said. That made more sense. "Right away? Do I have time to shower?"

/ /Jeez, Angel, no! I'm on my way and we have to get halfway across town before this thing eats half of Joe's Steakhouse."

"I hear the food's good there...."

/ /The customers! Get a grip, will you? No shower, no leisurely breakfasts. Get your weapons and let's go!//

She hung up. Angel dropped his face into the pillow and handed the phone over his shoulder to Cary, who replaced it on the table.

"You really are on call 24/7, aren't you?" he commented, having been close enough to hear both sides of the conversation.

"Yes," Angel mumbled into the pillow, dearly wanting to go back to sleep, or at least stay in bed.

"You have to get up and go fight the evil while I can stay in bed."

"Yes."

"And my favourite part? You have to do it with my lovely illustrations all over you."

"Yes, I noticed that part too."

Cary got off him. "No, wait a second." After a second's thought, he wrote something on Angel's thigh.

'Good luck'. In Miquoti.

"There. Now you're ready to face the day."

"Joy," Angel told the pillow.

***

Five minutes later, Angel was dressed - in clothes that covered as much graffiti'd skin as possible, which he very much hoped wouldn't get torn in the fight - and on his way out the door.

"She's not here yet," Cary told him. He'd donned Angel's robe and was lounging around with the air of somebody who could easily do nothing all day. Angel was deeply envious.

Before he could reply, a horn sounded repeatedly outside. Angel winced.

Cary handed him a plastic cup with a lid and a straw. Angel couldn't guess where it'd come from. He was sure it wasn't his. He took it cautiously.

"Excuse the presentation, but you can eat on the run. You need a good breakfast if you want to beat this guy."

Angel tasted it. B neg. Body temperature.

"Thanks," he said.

Cary kissed him on the cheek. "You have a nice day, dear."

Angel raised his eyebrows. "I never really pictured you as the housewife type."

"No, me either," Cary agreed, "so don't get used to it."

The horn sounded again.

"I'm coming, I'm coming," Angel muttered.

Cary sat down and waved him away. "Go on. I'm quite capable of making myself breakfast. We can talk when you've finished the superhero bit."

Angel nodded and left.

Cary snorted to himself. The price for dating a Champion... there was always more evil to deal with. So much for a lay-in. So much for nice sleepy wake-up sex.

So much for breakfast. The contents of Angel's kitchen still left much to be desired. He settled for a glass of grapefruit juice, which was the only thing he'd remembered to bring so far.

***

Angel jumped into Cordelia's car, crossbow in one hand.

"Took you long enough," she grumbled, stepping on the accelerator.

"Good morning to you too."

"Good middle of the night, you mean. And what the hell do you have there?"

He waved the crossbow. "You said to bring weapons. This is one."

"Not that. That." She nodded at his other hand.

Angel looked at the plastic cup.

"Breakfast," he explained, taking a long swallow.

Cordelia gave up. "Okay, whatever. Wes'll meet us there with information, so far all we know is that it's big, hairy, has a taste for recently-fed human flesh and it also has seriously bad breath."

"Can't wait."

She looked sideways at him. "You're way too cheerful, and I'm still in the post-vision painfest, so just eat quietly and don't talk to me, okay?"

Angel shut up, thankful for the lidded cup as Cordelia took her frustrations out on the road. Bloodstains would attract attention, and he wasn't planning on removing his shirt today, no matter what.

When he got back, he was going to kill Cary.

***

Cordelia dropped him off outside his door, still complaining, this time about how hard it was to get demon blood out of her car's interior.

Angel agreed it was hard, adding to himself that that was why they didn't use his car anymore for demon-killing. He was bright enough to recognise that saying that part out loud could earn him a good staking, given Cordelia's current mood.

He realised as soon as he opened his front door that Cary was still there, his scent new rather than faded due to time. He dropped the crossbow on the desk and shed his coat, careful not to leave it anywhere it could mess up the furniture.

"Honey, I'm home," he called idly. Cary appeared from the back rooms, arms crossed.

"I'm tired of being the one who stays at home," he said with a smile. "Tomorrow, you stay here and I get to go battle evil."

Angel nodded wearily. "Suits me. Getting the crap beaten out of you just isn't as much fun as it sounds."

"Poor boy. Still, since you're still here I assume you were victorious." He brushed ineffectively at some of the more obnoxious stains on Angel's shirt. "Will you look at yourself? That's never going to come out."

"I'm so sorry, I'll try and kill the bad guys more carefully next time. What's a few extra bruises if I save the life of a perfectly good shirt?" Angel realised as he said it that his irritation wasn't aimed at Cary, and shot an apologetic look at the demon.

"Touchy," Cary grumbled, but nodded.

"I never liked this shirt, anyway. No big loss," Angel offered.

"I don't know, it covered up my little artistic endeavours pretty well."

Angel looked down at himself. "Yes, about that...."

"You're not mad, are you?"

He shook his head. He wasn't. Actually, it was pretty funny. Had the shirt torn and necessitated him explaining it all to Cordelia... *that* would have made him mad.

"Not mad. Tired, bruised and bloody, but not mad."

"I knew it. Now, get upstairs and out of those clothes."

Angel raised his eyebrows in surprise. "That's a more direct approach than you usually take," he commented.

"That was not a proposition, sweetie. If we soak the clothes right away, we can probably save the coat, possibly the pants. The shirt looks like it's had it. And if you don't wash that blood out of your hair before it sets, believe me, you will regret it." As he spoke he hustled Angel up the first few stairs, until the vampire got the hint and walked the rest of the way himself.

"I think I can live with the hair. Maybe I could go back to bed."

Cary looked disapproving. "You say that now, but when you wake up tomorrow with your head one solid mass of demon blood, all the gel in the world won't save you."

"Okay, fine. I don't think I have the energy to argue with you."

"This was a tough one, was it?" Cary opened the door to the bathroom and started the shower running. Angel unbuttoned his shirt and took it off, leaving it in the sink and wincing slightly as bruised skin and muscle protested. Pants, socks and shorts followed suit and he stepped under the warm water, closing his eyes and letting it wash over him. It felt good.

"I'll just stay here a while, then," he murmured.

Cary made sceptical noises as he set the clothes to soak. "Are you falling asleep in there?"

"Very possibly." Angel swiped at the design on his backside, which was the only one he could reach, and frowned. "What did you use to draw these works of art?"

"Don't worry, it'll wash off."

"When? After how many years?"

"Don't be such a baby, Angel, it's just ink."

"It's just ink that's not going anywhere, though."

Cary put his head around the shower curtain. Angel yelped.

"Hey!"

"Oh, for... it's not like I've never seen you naked, is it now?"

Angel turned around, facing away from him. "Look."

Cary did, at length.

"Yes, very nice. What's your point?"

Angel turned around again. "Are they coming off?"

"No, but that's what soap is for. You must have heard of it."

"You're no help," Angel said. He wiped the water from his eyes with one hand and used the other to balance against the wall.

"You want help, that's fine by me." Cary backed up and let the curtain fall. A moment later he pulled it back again. "Move over."

Angel looked down, then up again. "You're naked," he pointed out.

"Oh, aren't we observant today?"

"I think I've missed half the conversation...." He moved back, anyway.

Cary stepped in and pulled the curtain behind him.

"You invited me to join you. Showers, as a rule, work better without clothing."

"I don't remember inviting you."

"Well, you definitely did, or I wouldn't be here, would I? Turn around."

Angel gave up trying to follow this line of reasoning and did as he was told.

"That's better." Cary rubbed at the lines on Angel's shoulder with one hand, then reached for the soap and a washcloth. Angel let his head fall down and closed his eyes.

It didn't take long for the ink to wash off, and Cary gently removed the drawings one by one, moving down Angel's back. When he came to the signature on Angel's buttock, the vampire braced himself against the opposite wall and moved his legs a few inches further apart.

Cary shook his head reluctantly. "This was not intended to turn you on, Angel," he said softly. Or me, he added to himself, in face of the evidence to the contrary.

"No... but it's a great side-effect," Angel replied, still not opening his eyes.

Cary focused his attention on the few square inches of skin that were still inked, washing the lines away. Which left...

"I'm not sure I can do the other one," he said, referring to the words on Angel's thigh. And it had seemed like such a good idea at the time... but he knew that, post-fight, Angel needed relaxation more than he needed sex. Suggestive touching would definitely lead to the latter.

"You can't stop there, just when I'm enjoying it," Angel said. He sounded pretty relaxed.

"I don't think...." How to finish that sentence? I don't think we should do this thing that we both very clearly want? It didn't sound very convincing.

"Don't stop," Angel said clearly. He hadn't known it was possible to feel so relaxed and yet so aroused. He definitely didn't want it to end yet.

Cary gave in, moving the washcloth over the wet skin to the final image, which like the others was soon gone. He stepped back as far as the tiny space would allow.

"You stopped," Angel said, sounding disappointed.

"Your new artwork is all gone," Cary said.

"So?"

"So you better wash that gunk out of your hair. That was kind of the point, remember?"

"Vaguely...." Angel said.

"You are very easily distracted, do you know that?"

"Your fault. You're distracting."

"Gee, thanks." Since Angel was still just standing there, obviously with no intentions of moving any time soon, Cary reached for the shampoo himself.

"I have to do everything around here," he muttered to himself. Angel smiled at that.

"We should do this again. Possibly without the demon-killing, and definitely without the extra artwork... mmmm. That feels good... weird, but good."

"You've never had your hair washed before?"

"No," Angel said, wiping some stray bubbles out of his face. "I like it. You're good at it."

"I should have been a hairdresser. Mom would have been so proud." He moved Angel under the showerhead until the bubbles were washed away. "I think we're done. Turn around."

Angel did so, smiling as he watched the demon examine his hair closely.

"Yup. Done."

"I don't think we're done," Angel said.

"No?"

"No," he said, stepping closer.

Cary held a warning hand up. "Stop right there. I'm not having sex with you in the shower."

"Why not?"

"Because... you're tired, and you're all bruised from the fighting...." he gestured in the general direction of Angel's more noticeable bruises.

"And then you got me all worked up."

"I did not!"

"And you got you all worked up, too," Angel continued as though he hadn't spoken.

"Did *not*!" Cary insisted.

Angel's glance flickered downwards momentarily. "So I'm imagining that, am I?"

"Yes?" Cary tried, then gave up. "You don't seem to appreciate that I'm thinking of you, here."

"Yes, I can see that."

"I *meant* that you need rest, and sleep, and...."

"You," Angel finished, shutting him up by the expedient means of kissing him. "Think of it this way. You can tire me out and then I can go have a nice long sleep."

"*I'm* thinking you just want to get your rocks off and maybe I should leave you to it," Cary said with a smile. He looked at the hand Angel had placed on the wall beside him, effectively blocking his only exit. "Or maybe I should just stop trying to find reasons not to do this?"

"Works for me," Angel said.

"Gotta admit, it's working for me too," Cary agreed.

"You're such a tease."

"Oh, come on, would it be any fun if I just agreed right away?"

Angel considered this. "Yes," he decided.

"I'll remember that for next time. For now though, if you're so eager, why are you still talking?"

"Your bad influence?" Angel suggested.

"Oh, see, who's the tease now? First you throw a fit when I say no and then I say yes and you *talk* at me?"

Angel ran his hands down the water-slicked skin of the demon's arms, currently crossed in a posture that would have looked very offended had he not been naked and smiling.

"I thought you liked talking," he teased. "You do it a lot."

"Talking's good. Talking's just great. But it is *not* a substitute for skin on skin, you get me?"

Angel bowed his head to kiss the junction of Cary's shoulder and neck. "I get you," he whispered against the skin.

"You always get me," Cary grumbled lightly. "I'm too easy."

Angel laughed and looked him in the eye, shaking his head and shedding droplets of water everywhere. "You call the effort it took to get this far, easy? I'd hate to see you holding out on me."

"Come on, Angelcakes... you take much longer to get to the fun part and we're going to run out of hot water. And if you want a cold shower, you can just take one on your own."

Angel shook his head slowly. "You talk too much," he whispered, and kissed him.

[end]



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