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Disclaimer: These stories are FICTION.
Absolutely no similarities to the actors whose names and likenesses are used is intended, or should be inferrred.

Takes place during AtS season 5, around the shooting of ‘Smile Time’.



Installment One


Dave’s sprawled out in the center of the sofa bed, surrounded by magazines, remote controls and various and sundry bags of chips and bottles of pills. Looks kind of like a stoner’s picnic just exploded in his living room.

He’s propped upright against at least four pillows, shirt off, sheet puddled just below his abs, arm thrown oh so casually behind his head. James could almost believe PR came over and posed him for a beefcake photo, but -

“Dude. You look really really- stoned.”

Dave smiles, the slow, leaky smile of the chemically altered. “Yeah.”

James laughs, tosses the card and the gold box of chocolate covered somethings onto the coffee table. “Get well soon, we miss you, lots of cheer, all done.”

Dave just keeps on grinning. “You get the short straw, hunh?”

“Pretty much. Slide over big shot, my feet hurt.”

James pulls off Spike’s motorcycle boots, tosses them under the couch. Sits down carefully, leans back and looks over at Dave. He can feel the heat coming off his skin, inhales the stink of strong pain meds and anesthesia.

“Where’s the wife and munchkin?”

“Jamie’s filming her new pilot in Mexico, Jayden’s at her mom’s for the weekend.”

James blinks. “You’re here like this alone? All weekend? That’s some shitty timing, man.”

“Nah. Planned it that way. She sees this knee, she’d have me staying home from work all week. Can’t do that.”

James tries to think about what it would be like to have someone in his own life who’d put his health ahead of his career. Can’t for a second conjure it.

“Beer in the fridge,” Dave says, raising his head from the pillow for half a second. His eyes are hooded. Shiny.


Dave’s kitchen is blue and green. Everything matches, from the paper towels and toaster oven cover, to the table linens and cheery, lace curtains over the sink. There’s a border of vines and flowers creeping around the cherry wood cabinets. Over the wrought iron table, a black and white photo of Dave, Jamie and the baby.

James remembers the interview he read with Chris Kane, the one where he talked about spending New Year’s Eve at Dave’s house with the family. He’d said it was “intimate” and James had grinned, thought about double entendres and set gossip. He gets it now. The refridgerator is stocked with baby food, all the napkins are the same colors, and there’s neat little piles of kid toys in every corner. It’s real. A home. Just not his. Not at all like his.

There’s football on the t.v. when James wanders back into the living room. Dave’s eyes are closed, and James considers quietly leaving. But his boots are under the couch, there’s a cold beer in his hand and home is an hour away if he’s lucky and he makes every light. So he sits down on the edge of the sofa, trying not to to disturb Sleeping Gimpy.

Dave grimaces anyway. “Don’t sit by the knee,” he mumbles. Tosses one of the fluffy pillows in James’ direction without opening his eyes. James gives a mental shrug and scoots up the mattress. Leans back on the pillow and turns the volume on the t.v. up a bit.

Dave doesn’t move.

Four beers and a quarter of the game later, Dave still hasn’t moved. James fights the urge to check if he’s still breathing.

Turns around and nearly jumps out of his socks to find Dave staring at him, his head tilted to one side like that dog on the records. His eyes are still shiny.

“You’re very pretty,” Dave says, blinking slower than should technically be physically possible.

“Uh-hunh,” James says slowly. “I am. And you are very stoned.”

Dave giggles. Giggles from a 225 lb. man are very disturbing, and not something that James ever wants to hear again.

“I am,” Dave agrees.

One of the teams scores a touchdown and James turns back to the game, but he can still feel Dave’s eyes on him. He looks back. Dave, his face far too close now, and James can count the blonde hairs on his chin and upper lip. His breath is warm, smells like milkshakes and medicine and meaningful things.

“You’re still pretty,” Dave says. Still smiling.

“I’m always pretty, big shot.” His voice is even but his damn heart is skipping merrily along like a pony with a very small brain of its own.
Another giggle, and it’s just downright creepy is what that is. James remembers that Dave was playing Angelus when James realized he wasn’t actually a bad actor. Wonders if he’s acting now.

“I’ll tell you a secret, Jimmy-boy,” Dave says, patting James’ knee conspiritorially. “I’m pretty much always stoned.”

And James thinks about injuries- back, ribs, knees. About Dave hanging from the ceiling and getting hit over the head with crowbars, getting knocked on his ass every ep and never once complaining. About finding Dave curled up fetal position in his trailer and him threatening James with more bodily harm than he could possibly have managed in that condition if James ever told anyone about it.

He draws a hand slowly down Dave’s stomach, pulls the soft sheet down past his calves. The right knee is black and blue and yellow, staples glaring and winking through a knot the size of a breakfast grapefruit. Could fry a breakfast egg on the heat coming off of that swollen skin.

Dave just lies there with his eyes closed. Lets James stare and gawk like a godamned fanboy til he drops the sheet.

“Jesus. That’s-“

“Nice, isn’t it?” Dave finishes, and the smile is back on. “Good thing Angel don’t wear shorts.”

No. Not a bad actor at all.

“How can you even consider going back to work like that?”

Dave bristles. James can almost see all the little hairs standing up on the backs of his arms. He watches Dave’s chest as he inhales, rises and expands like a stray tom cornered in an alley.

“Got a wife and kid to feed, Jimmy. Not much of a choice.”

And James frowns, because there’s more in the silence between Dave’s words than in the words themselves. Things like out of context quotes about one another in TV Guide interviews, and rivalries over Q ratings that the media might have exploited, but certainly never created.

“Uh-hunh,” James says again, And if it’s slowly this time it’s to bite down the flare of blue anger at the base of his skull that he always feels when Dave uses that tone on him. Particularly in this context. As if James doesn’t get it, could never possibly understand what it’s like to have to trade your body for your work. James can’t ever quite figure if Dave is blind or really just as stupid as he can sometimes appear. Right now James has a hard time giving a damn either way.

“Don’t bite my head off, man, I’m just saying it wouldn’t kill your career not to –“

“My career? Thanks for the advice, rock star. I’m a second rate actor on a third rate show airing on a fourth rate network, same as you.”
“Fuck you,” James says wearily, reaching for his shoes on the floor.

Dave laughs, but it’s sharp, mean. James used to hear that laugh a lot in high school. “Thought I’d have to be at least twenty years younger to have a shot at that,” Dave says.

James grabs his shoes, snorts. Years of Method and his voice is fucking steady, thank you very much. “Oh that’s original, Davey. No one’s ever gone there before.”

Turns and looks at Dave before stuffing his feet back into the godamned boots. “Now are you gonna shut the fuck up or are we gonna do the one about selling your car on Ebay? Or- not selling it, whatever the case may be.”

Dave doesn’t wince. Dave never winces. “You know what sucks?” he says instead, and James just glares at him, sticks his foot in his other boot.
Dave keeps talking anyway. “We’re old, the both of us. Old. You and your million might have saved my fucking show, but you’re not gonna win an Oscar, man. Like, not ever. And I’m never gonna get to be Batman.”

James looks up. “You’re—what?”

“Batman,” Dave repeats, using the ‘you are very stupid’ tone again. It sounds too sad to make James angry this time. Dave sounds too sad.

“Didn’t …know you wanted to be Batman.”

“Dude. Doesn’t every kid wanna be Batman?” Dave asks, and James would call that tone wistful, if he thought Dave had that in him.
James blinks. “You’re very stoned.”

“Right. We did this dance already. I’m stoned, you’re pretty.”

And then Dave is doing something only the very best pain meds would let him do, he’s leaning in and kissing James, mouth open and hot and slippery.

Except David isn’t kissing like he’s stoned. He’s kissing like he’s starving, and James gets a whipflash vision of being an oasis. Of Dave crawling through mountains of sand strewn with potato chips and stuffed toys just to drink from James’ mouth. He’s had too much fucking beer. But the analogy’s not far off. This is all just illusory. Illusion.

Huge hand holding his head still, wide, wet tongue driving into his mouth with an urgency that would be intimidating if Dave didn’t taste like codiene and twinkies and cola. If it all wasn’t just a mirage.

James pulls away before he gives up a groan. “Dave, this is –“

“Christ, don’t you ever just shut the fuck up?”

Neon and bleach up his spine again, and fuck you. Fuck you, Mr. Leading Man with your goddamn square jaw and your half-assed predictions of fucking doom.

Second place means we try harder, and James’ tongue can rape that big mouth just fine. Can tug back on Dave’s head til he whimpers, and fuck his tongue against wet and pink and the hint of teeth.

James opens his eyes and this close up, Dave’s face is distorted. Funhouse mirrors and more illusions, lust and more than a hint of pain. Still handsome in that dark, rugged way that James will never quite manage.

He leans back in and kisses Dave again, hard and just as hungry, until even the image behind his eyes is a blur of skin and panic.
It’s Dave who pulls back this time, gasping and red-mouthed and kiss-stupid.

“Shit,” he mumbles, and James wants to laugh, until one of those football player hands starts rubbing his crotch. Dave’s far too big to be a quarterback, but his fingers wrap around James’ cock unerringly through the denim and cotton, and James groans on the first upstroke.
If there’s any decency left inside him at all, it’s fading fast. But there’s a wedding picture staring at him from the end table and –

“What about the wife?”

Dave blinks stupidly. That’s not acting, James decides.

“She knows.”

“Knows … what exactly?”

“That this is Hollywood.”

Then Dave squeezes again and James can’t stop the archwrigglegrunt.

“Actually, that’s my dick, but thanks for the flattering comparison.”

Dave laughs now and it’s penny candy and arcade music, wholesome things that James never knew enough to miss.

Dave is stoned and stitched and can’t begin to move well enough to help James out of his jeans, but in the end it’s all right. Because he kisses like a motherfucker and his hand is exactly the right size to slip and slide over James’ cock without ever leaving enough room for breath to escape.

And pretty soon James is climbing Dave like a fucking tree, humping his hand like a fucking teenager and all the while that huge godamn hand is jerking him until his spine melts and glows. He’s liquid, amber and golden, and his eyes roll back like the star of a bad porn video.
And then he’s coming all over the flowered sheets, all over Dave’s belly, hands and thighs, and Dave just doesn’t seem to mind.

Panting while Dave grins down at him, big, brown golden retriever eyes all happy and hopeful. James groans again, throws an arm over his head and reaches for the paper towels. Peels back the wet sheet and wipes Dave clean with hands still shaking. Dave’s cock peeks out from the fly of his plaid boxers, hard and wet. Just as hopeful.

James leans down and licks at the tip. Dave arches, bucks, hisses in pain. James lifts his head, puts his hands on either side of Dave’s wide hips, tugs the shorts down, puts his hands back where they were.

“Shh. Lay still,” he says, and sometimes, Spike’s smile is really James’ own.

Been a while since he’s done this. Since he’s had to. Wanted to.

A skill learned is never really forgotten, and he’s better at giving head than playing guitar, than playing at human some days.

Dave makes music when James swallows him down; he whines and sings and tries hard not to dance. James keeps holding him still, which means his hands aren’t free to accompany, but Dave doesn’t seem to mind that either.

Happy stoned-guy noises in the back of his throat that rapidly turn to grunts and fragile little whimpers when James bobs his head faster, meets Dave’s stomach with his nose, Dave’s balls with his chin.

Then hands pulling at James’ hair and a noise that could be his name, but James just keeps leaning in deeper, swallowing harder around the cock doing cartwheels in his throat. Dave comes with a strangled sort of sound, as if he’s the one sucking cock, and James looks up to see him with half his fist in his mouth.

Licks his lips, swallows again. Pats Dave on one thigh and sits up. Dave’s eyes are closed and there are teeth marks in the side of his hand.
“You OK down there, big guy?” James asks, running a hand through his own hair.


He laughs, pulls the sheets back over Dave’s lap.

“I really gotta pee, but I don’t think I can stand up,” Dave says.

James looks at Dave, looks down. The floor is littered with crushed chips and spilled soda cans. “Tell you what, big shot,” he says, “I’ll stick around and help you out so long as you don’t give me shit about any of this in the morning.”

“Jimmy, I’m not even gonna remember any of this in the morning.”

“Thank Christ,” James mutters. Slides one of Dave’s arms over his shoulders and helps him up, helps him limp and stumble toward the bathroom.

“Thanks, man,” Dave says before closing the door.

James nods. Leans against the wall. Lights a cigarette. Waits.

He looks up at a small gold-framed picture in the hallway. Miniature hand prints, with the date scrawled across the bottom in handwriting that isn’t Dave’s. Jayden’s little palms, preserved forever in red paint and glitter.

Installment Two


AUTHOR NOTES: Takes place the evening of Fri. the 13th, 2004, immediately after the cancellation of ‘Angel’. About a month after the previous story, "Glitter"

The VIP room is supposed to hold fifty people. James figures there’s at least one-hundred-and-fifty in it. LA loves a good wake. James doesn’t even recognize a third of the crowd. Hasn’t been around that long, by comparison.

Dave’s drunk. Every time James glances over at him through the smog of cigarette and pot smoke, he’s smiling. And James has been around long enough to know that it’s not the real smile. But after the obscene parody of the Come To Jesus meeting with Joss and Levin earlier, that it’s as good as it’s gonna get.

Dave’s shirt is untucked and he’s spread across the vinyl bar seat like someone poured him there. Mostly, he’s nodding a lot and letting people pat him on the back. Then patting everyone regardless of who the hell they are right back, and even laughing every once in a while. Reminds James of someone holding court, makes him think of that song about the baffled king. Turned out the guy’s a decent actor, after all.

It’s about 2Am when Amy says goodbye, the last of the regulars to go, with a kiss on Dave’s nose and a wave in James’ direction. She’s been drinking girlie drinks all night; underneath the funk of expensive perfume and cheap beer in the room, she still smells a little bit like coconut.

Joss is probably about, somewhere, and James can hear the stunt guys horsing around just outside the room. Other than that, it’s just him and Dave.

James woke when his chin hit his chest. A jerk and a groan and Dave’s crotch at eye level.

James looked up from the arm chair.

“The hell are you doing out of bed?”

Dave blinked a few times, rubbed the top of his head into a nest of dead squirrels.

“Why are you sleeping over here?”

Dave’s voice, raspy and off-key; sleep, medicine.


“You were expecting a cuddle?” James said, and Dave blinked again. Shook his head.

“There’s uhm…guest room,” he said, pointing down the hall. “Bed. Uhm. TV.”

And he was already walking away so James was following him. Breadcrumbs and puppies. To the room with a queen sized bed and yellow and blue covers that matched the curtains. A 25 inch TV. Lots of pillows.

“Thanks,” James said, tugging off his shoes, while Dave hovered in the doorway like an unwelcome guest. Small, sleepy smile finally, and a half-wave.

“Night,” Dave said, wandering back to his bed.

“Night,” James answered, watching him walk away.

Damp, shiny skin, and James wondered if Dave was even aware he was naked.

“You gonna go home?” James asks, sitting down next to David and lighting another joint.

“Eventually,” he says. “Seen Joss lately?”

“Think he’s slitting his wrists in the bathroom,” James answers, offering Dave a hit.

Dave scrunches his eyes and stares at it like it’s gonna try to sell him insurance.

“What are they gonna do, fire you?” James says, and that gets one of those small laughs. Dave takes the joint. His hands are cold.
“You really had no idea, hunh?”

Dave shakes his head; when he finally answers, smoke curls around his nose. He looks like a confused, sleepy dragon. “Fuck no. You didn’t know- did you?”

“Man, I woulda told you.”

Dave just nods.

It’s been over a month since David’s knee surgery. He’s doing most of his own stunt work again, and he and James have never discussed that weekend. James isn’t even sure how much of it Dave actually remembers. Once or twice he’s caught Dave staring at him, lips curled up in an expression James hasn’t wanted to identify. The guy’s still on some heavy duty pain meds.

Dave passes the joint back to him, half smoked. His sleeves are rolled up, and James can see remnants of a farmer’s tan. Angel always wears long sleeves. He turns to James and his breath is warm. Whiskey and sugar cookies. Sweet and familiar in a way it has no right to be.
James is watching his mouth move and it’s a good minute before he actually hears the words.

“So we can keep bullshitting or we can just get down to what we really want here,” Dave is saying.

And it takes those ever-sleepy eyes and goofy grin, the half-assed sprawl of legs too long to fit under the bar’s table, to make a cheesy fucking line like that sound sincere. James couldn’t have pulled it off himself.

He squints at Dave around the haze of blue smoke; fog, fire, bad taste in his mouth. Essence of LA.

“Why is it that what you want always coincides with you being stoned?” James asks, and there’s a grin around the cigarette that he really doesn’t feel.

Dave smiles back. Dave has very wide teeth.

“Dunno, Jimmy. Funny how you’re the one who offered to get me stoned, though.”

James flicks some ash toward the table with one hand, flips off Dave with the other.

“Already did that Tango,” Dave says, leaning closer. “Bored of it.”

Only a guy as large as Dave could actually loom while sitting.

“You haven’t thought about it at all this past month?” he asks, and James would swear he actually sounds hurt. Would swear it right up until Dave’s fingertips brush the back of his neck. Soft like water over the bump where skull connects to spine, the secret only-human place where lizard and mammal brains meet. There’s a shiver down James’ back that ends between his legs.

Harder grip, like a puppetmaster, press and watch James’ mouth open.

Then, wet, sloppy kisses that taste like hot sauce and buttered popcorn and feel like first and last dates. Big hands in his hair, on his back, make him moan and clutch at Dave’s shoulders. Make him helpless and stupid. Make him suddenly homesick for places he’s never been.
Clearly, James should not have had all that damn wine earlier.

“All right, man, just..not here,” James says, hands shoving at an annoyingly immovable chest.

Dave backs off.

“Why? What’re they gonna do? Fire us?” More Dave smiles, this one almost real. His top lip is shining: scotch and breathmints and James’ own mouth.

“Well, I hope to have a long career ahead of me in bad sci-fi productions. And you have all those straight to video movies to consider,” James says, climbing out of the booth and extending a hand to help Dave up.

Flash of gunmetal behind Dave’s eyes before his face melts into a slow, slippery grin. He laughs, and the sound is liquid and shining too.
“Right,” he says, grabbing James’ hand and pulling himself up. “So..where to, then?”

“Your shower is big enough to host a wedding inside,” James said, draping the towels over the back of the toilet.

“Small wedding. Just close friends and immediate family,” Dave answered. His eyes were still wet and dark, pupils blown past the circle of color. Doing everything but spinning in opposite directions like the cartoon dog James’ son watched every Saturday morning.

“You sure this is a good idea? Understand the dying for a shower, but I’m not gonna catch your fat ass if you trip and fall. I don’t get paid enough for that, dude.”

Dave just smiled. “Sure you will. Nothin’ but faith in you, Jimmy.”

Turned out he didn’t have to worry, because Dave’s shower had a sauna in it too. Stone bench and everything, and Dave sat down, leaned back against the warm tiles. Looked up at James with that same happy doggie expression.

“There’s a joke in here about dropping the soap,” James said, picking up one of the ten thousand bath products lining the walls.

Dave grabbed his wrist before he could open the shiny green bottle. “That anything like stepping on the glass? I never got that.”

James looked down to where Dave’s hand was leaving marks on his skin. Huge fucking hand. Outdoorsmen fingers, long and thick and calloused. Wrapped around James’ dick.


More smiles, glitter and rain, while Dave held James’ wrist hard in one hand and his cock hard in the other. Deliberate grasp on slippery skin making James’ hip buck and his back arch. Dark curls stuck to Dave’s forehead and silverblue water fell down his chest, and he stared up at James without blinking.

When James closed his eyes, everything was green. Jungles and forests, tight, humid spaces where getting lost is easy. Snakes under palm fronds and the scent of sweat and damp earth.

Rough hand and harsh jerks, tearing animal noises from his throat. Fingernails just under the head and every time Dave stroked up the length of James’ cock, the fingers around James’ wrist got tighter and tighter.

Bruises in a perfect circle, like spiderwebs and bright bright sun.

He didn’t loosen his hold until minutes after James came, gasping and slamming his other hand against the tiled wall to hold himself up.

“This is really cool,” Dave says, surveying the view from the bar’s roof. Black and blue sky, lights from the hills down below that could be stars, if anyone in LA could remember what stars look like. “You come up here a lot?”

“Yea, but usually the company has to be better,” James says, smiling wider than the view.

“Or at least twenty years younger?” Dave shoots back, but it’s just banter now, frat boy teasing. Not that James was ever in a fraternity, but it’s effortless to picture Dave at a kegger, with Greek letters on his chest and some blonde cheerleader on his arm.

Dave opens his jacket, pulls out the half empty bottle of scotch and a glass.

“Ah, you are da man,” James says.

“Yea, that’s why I’m the stah, baby.”

James snorts, grabs the bottle from Dave’s fist.

“So what are you gonna do with yourself now, Mr. Stahbaby?” Long swig of scotch slides warm and honeyed down his throat.
Dave shrugs. “Maybe be a dad for a while. That could be really nice.”

Dave uses words like nice without actually meaning them as euphamisms.

Jayden came to the party to celebrate the 100th episode of Angel. Stuck his hands in the over-sized cake and then stuck his frosting covered fingers up Dave’s nose. Flashbulbs were going off everywhere. Dave just laughed.

James sees his son on weekends. Drives the 300 miles to San Diego every Fri. night and back every Sunday, when he’s not touring or working a con. They go to the condo James bought on Pacific Beach, and James plays fun time Daddy.

It used to put a ton of miles on his shiny red sports car.

“You?” Dave asks, and James looks up.

“What? Oh. Don’t know. Get a tan. Gain twenty pounds. Buy a sports car. Being a daddy sounds nice.”

The lines in the corner of Dave’s eyes smooth out when he smiles. Weird.

“Always forget you have a kid,” he says.

James nods. “Try to keep it that way. Keep him out of the spotlight. Don’t know how you do it, man. Would make me insane if I thought every lunatic reading People Magazine could identify my son on sight.”

“Never thought about it, I guess. Grew up around show business, Jaime’s in the business. Jayden’s gonna have to grow up around it too,” Dave says. “Besides, for any lunatic to get anywhere near Jayden, Jaime would have to take her hands off of him for more than ten seconds running. And she doesn’t. Plus…man, she doesn’t look it, but she could kick my ass in a barfight.”

There are never any lines around Dave’s eyes when he talks about his family.

By the middle of the sixth season of Buffy, James had spent two months running on set wearing nothing but a cotton sock. By January, he’d pretty much stopped eating altogether. He lost fifteen pounds the hard way, in the misguided attempt to have the godamn sex object storyline written the fuck out. He hadn’t slept through the night in over a month, and finally even Noxon noticed. Told him to take off early one Friday, and come back Monday morning with his shit together. He would have killed her for a cigarette.

But the sun was setting over the hills, Tom Waits was on the CD player, purple and gold ribbons of sound, and James did 105 all the way to San Diego. Made it to the ex-wife’s house in time for dinner.

She invited him in, and he bitched about work, smoking, and the sports car, while their son tossed mashed potatos around. Said he wanted Daddy to stay, tuck him in.

By eight o clock, the kid was asleep, in his bunkbed with the dinosaur sheets, and the glowy stars on the ceiling. And she was standing in the doorway watching them both. Smiling.

Then, somehow, he was twenty-five again. And she was taking him to their old room, and she was going down on him, and James was offering her the sports car.

She let him stay.

James fell asleep in the bed they’d picked out together before they owned anything else, back when his hair was dark and there were ten extra pounds around his middle. When all he had was the old Honda and a vague desire to be famous.

That night, he didn’t dream.

“Jimmy,” in his ear, when pink light stalked the bedsheets, and the room was warmer than he’d remembered.
Her hands on his shoulders, shaking him awake; she was soft like morning. He rolled over, the skin of her belly was even softer under his outstretched arm.

“Mmm,” he mumbled.

“Jimmy, you have to get up,” she said, nodding in the direction of their son’s room. “He’s gonna be up soon and I don’t want him to get the wrong idea.”

James was on his way back to LA before the sun turned the hills red.

He still has her Honda.

This year, he will be 43.

James takes a couple of hits, passes the joint to Dave. He takes it this time without any comment. Shoulder against shoulder and James can feel Dave’s thigh, hard next to his own. He smells like soap and clean laundry.

“So that whole walking the dog, getting discovered story…bullshit?” James asks.

Dave laughs. “Nope. Total fact. Was out walking Blue on Monday, and on Thursday I was auditioning for Buffy.”

“No shit,” James says. “You didn’t even wanna be an actor?”

“Well..yea, I thought about it. But, I mean, it wasn’t like a life goal or anything,” Dave answers. James is staring at him. “You never wanted to be anything else, did you?”

“God, no,” James says. He’s gonna die old on some cruddy stage in Seattle doing a lame production of 'Death of A Salesman', but he’s not gonna do anything else to make a living.

“Not ever?”

“Nah…I mean, maybe when I was like, five, I wanted to be an astronaut or some shit, but this is …this is all I know. The hell else am I gonna do? ”

Dave nods.

“What about you?” James asks.

“I dunno,” Dave says around another shrug. “I used to think this was just another way to make money. Used to paint houses and park cars, thought this was pretty much the same. That acting was just a job.”

“And now?”

Dave takes another swig of scotch. Doesn’t answer.

Then he’s pulling James to him as quick and easy as he did the bottle. Hard kisses, teeth and bruise, sharp and dark. And James can’t tell if they’re burning or building bridges here. Just knows that Dave is making small, desperate noises in the back of his throat, and that his own hands are running up and down Dave’s back in a rhythm that’s a lot like comfort.

And that it’s all a bit like power, to kiss and to pet until Dave is calm, until the fists holding James’ tshirt loosen and Dave makes quieter, whimpering sounds. James feels them every single one of them in his dick.

On his knees on the kitchen floor, and everything was hard.

The tile under him. Dave’s cock in his fist. His own cock, slammed and twitching up against the denim and zipper of his Levi’s.
What he really wanted was to fuck Dave right through that sparkly white kitchen counter. Find out how far those jock legs bent back. Leave bruises on thighs and hips so broad, James’ palms could barely span them.

But Dave was already bruised and not particularly bendable, and James was used to settling for next. Sat Dave down in the kitchen chair, slid his hips forward and knelt between his legs.

“Gonna think about this, next time you’re having breakfast,” James said, scratching clean red lines down the inside of Dave’s thighs. They were gone by the time Dave scowled.

But he swallowed Dave’s cock in one quick flash slip slide of open, still smirking mouth, and he pressed his nose right to Dave’s stomach and he yanked those wide hips forward harderfastergiveme. And then Dave wasn’t scowling anymore.

Slipped his fingers into his own mouth on the next updown stroke, and Dave shifted on the seat, arched up, made a noise that sounded hungry. Needful. Wounded. Just like sex. Slid those same two fingers up inside, and got something like a howl.

Left bits of themselves all over the sunlit room: sweaty handprints on glass tables, spit and cum on plaid napkins, and baseruttingmale noises under the silent whisper of the brass ceiling fan.

And when Dave came, he knocked his arm against the table, knocked over the cookie jar in its center, spilled shards of glass and animal crackers all over the red and white tile floor.

“Think I’m gonna buy everyone lunch tomorrow,” Dave says. His hand is still on the back of James’ neck.


“Yea,” he answers, dropping his hand and gesturing in a big circle, as if indicating all of LA. “Cast. Crew. Everyone.”

“Dude, there’s like a hundred people on that set in any given day.”

“Yea,” Dave says, frowning, “So?”

“So….you’re gonna buy lunch. For a hundred people.”

“They all just got fired. From my show. Sort of the least I can do, isn’t it?”

And James thinks of saying something smart, about Jesus complexes and Dave taking his role a little too seriously. Except that Dave actually means it. Ten years from now Dave will still be playing football with Chris on the weekends, and having Julie and her husband over for barbeques. The guy in video editing will still get the Boreanaz family Christmas card.

James has kept one person’s phone number from the Buffy set. Michelle handed him her cell phone number at the Wrap Party, scrawled on the back of a pink business card in big loopy print. Looked up at him from under way too much mascara and said she still wanted him to “teach me how to play guitar.”

He’s seen the movie stills of her in that blue bikini. He has not called that number.

But he will one day. He knows that much, same as he knows they’re not going to play guitar.

James wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.

James had his fingers on the doorknob when the better halves of Boreanaz pushed open the door.

7Am, and the wife already had that urban casual chic thing going, the kind of look which requires really good breeding or an even better plastic surgeon. The kid- Jason? Hayden?- was bigger than when James saw him just a month ago, fat little starfish hands slimmed down, grabbing onto his mother’s shoulder with a fierce purpose while she carried him into the house.

A very large dog followed, stuck its nose in James’ crotch.


“Sorry,” she said. Jaime. Her name’s Jaime. “Blue really likes boys.”

Deep, sleepy laugh from the couch and the kid started to squirm, trying to get down.

“Daddydaddydaddy”, repetitive chant and funny little ‘I surrender’ walk until Dave said “Hey, slugger,” and scooped the kid up next to him.
Jaime grabbed the dog’s collar, ushered the thing in a direction away from James’ personal parts. When she bent down, it occurred to him that despite his age and a ridiculous amount of experience, Dave’s wife actually had the largest breasts James had ever seen.

She kissed Dave on the mouth, fluffed up the pillows around him and James felt the sudden urge to hide the banana he’d swiped on his way out the door behind his back. Could still taste Dave, fruit and sweets and trembling things, in the back of his throat.

“I’m gonna go,” he said, to no one in particular.

“Was gonna leave without waking you up,” he added, when Dave looked up at him.

“Oh. Ok. Uhm. Thanks for- everything.”

Jaime smiled at him then, white teeth in a small face, and James was suddenly acutely aware that he hadn’t changed his clothes in nearly three days.

“Welcome,” he said. “Nice seeing you again,” tossed over his shoulder at Jaime.

Dave’s driveway was much longer than James remembered.

And he’d never been grateful for having only one lousy scene in an ep before, but he was just then. Wanted to go to work, hit his mark, then spend the entire afternoon getting stoned out of his mind and forgetting this weekend ever happened.

It was the latter, of course, that proved to be fucking impossible. He was on the beach and his third joint, and still thinking about Jayden, his Superhero t-shirt, and his little Philly Flyer’s baseball cap. Wondering if there were things every boy does just to make his father proud, without ever understanding where the need or knowledge comes from. Or if every boy was just part of some collective unconcious, with universal desires to play ball and kick ass, to fly and grow up to become some pretty blonde girl’s hero. But he was too stoned to figure it out just then, and by the next day, he’d already forgotten to care.

James looks over at Dave, staring into the blue black without blinking, holding the joint between his index and middle fingers like it’s a cigarette. There’s a small patch of skin right by Dave’s left ear that’s scarred. Like it healed wrong after a burn, or bad acne. James never noticed it before.

“Hey,” he says, knocking his shoulder against Dave’s.

Raises the bottle. “Here’s to Batman.”

He’s still not sure that Dave is even gonna remember that reference, hell, the entire conversation around it, as wasted as he was when it happened. But Dave smiles, huge and sparkly and real, the way he did when his wife and kid came back after that weekend away. And James doesn’t care that he’s not the reason for that smile, he’s just obscenely happy to have put it back there.

“To Batman,” Dave agrees, lifting his glass.

They drink. It’s hot and welcome in James’ chest, but cold behind his eyes, and when it settles in his belly, it makes him shiver. Fast and uncontrolled, and over just as quickly.

“You all right?” Dave asks, looking at him, frowning.

“Yea,” James says. “”It’s just colder out here than I thought it would be.”

Brush of Dave’s leather coat against James’ bare arm as he tosses the joint off the roof. Twenty stories and it’s out before it hits concrete.

“Yea,” Dave says. “Yea.”

The End

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