All Together Now 'Round The Twist




"What the buggering fuck do you think you're doing?! Have you gone completely round the twist?!"

Yes! No! I don't know!

Shut up, Spike!

Trust me. Just trust me that I'm trying to suffocate the man I love to save him.

Come on, sweetheart. You've got something to grab now. You've got something to
fight now.

"Fight me. Fight me! Come on, Wesley!
Fight m-"

And god
damn I don't remember Angel's fist being that hard or hitting that fast before.

"Have you all gone fucking

Angel eased Xander to the floor, then turned on Spike, jabbing a finger at him. "Stow it, Sidney!" He ripped the pillow from Wesley's face, glaring down into wide blue eyes, and a heaving chest, drawing in gasp after gasp of air. "And you." Angel leaned over the bed, refusing to back down when Wesley flinched away. "Keep breathing."

"Motherfucking son of a bitch!" Xander groaned, clutching at his head when Spike rolled him to his side, dreding up a protesting grumble while the world spun around him.

"Want to tell me what you think you were doing, Xander?"

"What's it look like I was doing, asshole?"

"Trying to kill him."

"Oh." Xander paused, and let Spike drag him into a sitting position, lying limply back against him while he waited for the world to stop spinning. "Okay, that's fair. Did you have to hit me on my blind side?"

"It's better than your good side. I didn't want the swelling to blind you."

That silenced Xander and Spike both. "Oh. Thanks for that," Xander said, wondering when his life had gotten bizarre enough that he'd thank Angel for clocking him. "Why'd you have to hit me at all?"

"I'll tell you after you tell me what trying to suffocate Wesley was about."

Xander's head lolled back, and he pinned Angel with a narrow-eyed glare, but it was Wesley's rasping whisper that answered. "He was being you."


I'd hate Angel, but I love him too much. I get pissed at him, sure, but everybody gets pissed at him sometimes. For good fucking reason.

And did I remember to say "ow"? Because


"All right, pet?"

"Unh-huh." Spike, I love you. Don't stop whatever you're doing with that ice pack. Ahh. Icy bliss.


"I'm here, baby." I flop an arm upwards and hope it lands on Wesley's hand, not Angel's. When he squeezes back, I'm pretty sure it's Wes, and I can still feel that sparky electric feeling where our skin touches. I can't hear him, but yeah, I think I could get used to this. Used to just hearing him breathe, nice and quiet and steady like that.

I never thought it'd sound so good.

Even the heart monitor sounds good.
Beep. Beep. Keep on beeping, and nobody gets hurt.

Jesus, how hard
did Angel hit me if I'm talkin' to the inanimate objects all ready?

"You told him about that?" Oh, has Angel just caught up with the rest of the class? I can feel Spike going tense behind me, but at least he's got the good sense to stay quiet and keep holding the ice pack against my head. Good boy. I trained you well.

"He didn't have to." Didn't say I was gonna keep quiet, did I? "I saw it."

"Saw what?"

Shh, Spike. Go back to being a nice ornamental ice holder, and I'll fill you in later.

"Saw me try to suffocate Wesley with his pillow," Angel finally said. "Like Xander just did." He's looking at Wesley, who I'm betting is looking right back at him. I dunno how Wes glares that well when he can't see. Cause when Spike's got his contact lenses out, he goes cross-eyed if he tries to glare, but not Wes. My baby is fierce whether he can see you or not.


And I can hear the confusion in Wesley's voice, feel Spike shrug against my back. "I'm as confused as you, mate. Reckon our Xander's got a good answer for us, though." And thank you, Spike, for believing in me, my god of ice packs and understanding. Then, I feel his lips against my ear, and the bzz-bzz of Spike trying to whisper too quietly for Angel to pick up on it. "Do you?"

"Oh yeah." I wish that came out less like a groan. "It's called a long shot."

"To deal with the trauma, one must recreate it." The bed creaks, Wesley lets go of my hand, and hey! I wasn't done holding that! But then, he's looking back at me over the edge, and okay, I can deal with that trade. "Don't you look cozy?"

"Nah. My arse is going numb, but thanks."

And thank you again, Spike.

"He wanted you to fight me off this time," Angel's saying, and what do you know? The wheel-ridin' hamster in his head isn't dead yet after all.

"Kewpie doll for the tall broody guy." I point at one of the Angels in my vision, and hope it's the right one, because wouldn't it be embarrassing if it wasn't?

But Wes isn't listening to that part. He's got that look on his face that means he's thinking, and it melts into an expression part way between amazement and disbelief. "But you fought him off. Instead."

Angel's got that quiet, hunched in look that he gets when he's wrestling with a thought that wants to be said, something he doesn't want to say, but knows he has to. "I didn't want to see it again," he says finally, and that's about as close to an admission of guilt as ever comes out of him. "I don't want to see it again." And this time, he looks right back at Wesley like he's giving him a free look-see straight into his soul.

Wes is the first to blink, and it's like that's all it takes to break the connection between them. Angel's straightening up like someone lifted the whole goddamn world off his shoulders, and Wes is easing back into his bed, and it's times like this that make me think I'm not the only one who's got a way of hearing without words.

Watching Angel pull himself back together is like watching him get dressed. A little embarrassing, a little interesting, and once everything's buttoned down, he's got a hand on Wesley's leg. But there's no flinch. No flare. Nothing. Like something's been defused. "Take care, okay? Spike, can you get a ride home with Xander? I've got a late call time on the set."

Spike snorts behind me, and aw come on, don't jiggle the wounded man. "I'm gonna be driving Xander home, you mean. Y'think I'm gonna let him drive in this condition?"

Hey! Wait a minute. "You actually think I'm gonna give you the keys to my truck?"

And I am not hearing the jingling I think I'm hearing. "Don't have to. Picked your pocket while you were out."


Spike's chuckling. "Could leave you here overnight, you know. You and your boy both."

"God, don't you dare." I'd laugh at the horror in Wesley's voice if it didn't mean more jiggling. "I'll drive us both home myself if I have to in order to get out of here." And brownie points to Angel for helping Wesley sit up in bed. "Spike will be fine with us, Angel." And why do I feel like I'm hearing more in those words than a promise to get Spike safely home?

Probably cause of the way it makes Angel's spine go a little less rigid, his mouth turn a little less thin.

"Get out of here, you great poof. And stop flirting with Xander's boyfriend."

When Angel's behind me, I can only hear him laugh, and hear Spike's sound of disgust when Angel drops a messy kiss onto his hair. "Ugh. Do you have to use so much gel Spike?"

Me use so much gel?!"

"Ow! Hey! Watch the injured man!" Gonna dig into Spike's thighs till he stops trying to twist around while playing my back rest, and settles back down. Which only happens after Angel's gone. Like I said, those two have something. I don't know what it is, but it's something, that's for sure.

"All right, luv?"

"Yeah. I've got a hard head." And I don't need to read him to know what Wesley's about to say, so I put up a hand. "Let's just get out of here before they decide I need X-rays and put me in one of those stupid paper nightgowns." Okay, baby, I know that look, and I know you're laughing at me with it. "What?"

"I hadn't intended to say anything," Wes says, and aims that
I'm just a sweet, befuddled Englishman look at us.

This time, I beat Spike to the snort, but he's right there with me.

And it is
all worth it to see Wesley's smile come back like that.

"Still think you're a complete berk, mind you, for not letting a nurse check you over before we go." Spike's voice is buzzing in my ear, but the way Wesley's watching us, half wistful, half trying not to be jealous at all makes me just wanna go home and hold him the way Spike's holding me right now.

"I'm a complete berk for a lot of things, Spike." And yeah, baby, I know you're listening too, and you don't have to look like you agree so much. "Wanting to go home and cuddle with my sweetheart in my own bed is not one of them."

"Sure you should sleep with a head wound, pet?" And I love Spike for the worry, even if I'm fine. Mostly fine. Gonna be fine, though I wouldn't mind another ice pack for the road.

Wesley answers before I can though. "I'll take good care of him, Spike. I promise."

"Wanna play nurse and patient, do you? Ow! Bloody hell, Harris! Mind the elbows."

Sorry, Spike. Too busy watching Wes blush, and god I love that. "Oh yeah." Because you just don't get that level of personal care out of the public health system.

Thank god.

"How are you feeling?" Wesley sat on the edge of the bed, setting the tray down on the table and carding his fingers through what was left of Xander's hair. He smiled when his palm rasped over the stubble on the sides, and traced the tattoo with his finger.

"Shouldn't I be asking you that?" Xander's eye was half closed, tongue just peeking out between curved lips.

Wesley chuckled. "I'm not the one who threw himself in front of Angel's fist."

"The things I do for love."

Wesley's fingers slid down to brush lightly over Xander's cheekbone, over the blue-purple-red swelling there. "My hero." The touch of his fingers was followed by the soft crunch and crackle of an ice pack, and both men sighed when it made contact with bruised and heated flesh.

Xander lifted his hand, covering Wesley's fingers with his, and stretched. "You know, when I invited Spike and Angel over, I figured we'd sit around, have a few beers. Maybe I'd beat some sense into Angel, but it wouldn't be the first time." Xander slid a hand up Wesley's leg tracing circles absently with his thumb. "This wasn't how I planned to spend the evening."

"It was bound to happen eventually," Wesley said at last, taking Xander's hand from his leg, and straddling him, looking down into one half-closed eye, and an impressive array of bruising. "I'm grateful that you were there when it did."

"I'm not sure how I feel about the way it played out," Xander admitted, laying his hand back on Wesley's thigh. "Me trying to kill you, and Angel playing the hero."

Wesley laughed quietly. "I know you weren't trying to kill me."

"But Angel still played the hero."

"Yes." Wesley laid a finger against Xander's lips, tracing their thin contours affectionately. "But you were the one who saw what needed to be done."

Xander kissed the fingertip, then tilted his head up to speak, letting Wesley's touch slide to his jaw, then to his throat. "Are you still in love with him? It's okay if you are-" Wesley silenced Xander with his fingertips, and a laugh.

"Xander, I am in your bedroom, with you between my legs in what I hope is at least a somewhat provocative manner, and you're asking me about

Xander tried not to look too guilty. "Humor me."

Wesley snorted, and for a moment, sounded a little too much like Spike. Maybe it was the accent. "No. I am not. I got over that silly schoolboy crush years ago." Wesley considered his next words for a moment, weighing them to be certain they were true before he spoke. "But I think I could learn to respect the man he's become."

"What about me?"

Wesley silenced Xander with his lips, needing no pause at all to be sure his words were true this time. "You, I love."

Jesus. It's so different hearing it instead of saying it, the way it curls on in like smoke, and eases into your gut, beating like an extra heart. And what do you say? He knows I love him. I've said it fuck knows how many times today alone, but it doesn't feel right to just
say it back. Gotta show.

Gotta make him feel it all the way into his bones, into his marrow.

Deep. Where it'll never come out again.

Where he can't lose it.

Then he's under me with that slow kitty arch I could spend the rest of my life loving, the one that feels like every part of him's rubbing up against every part of me, and I just wanna taste him till there's no more peach, no more tea, just salt and musk and

And if I'm lucky, a bit of me.

Always wanna be able to taste a bit of me in his mouth, on his lips. His lower lip feels all silky-rough under my tongue, and he's trying to talk around me all muffled and laughing, and it kind of tickles when he tries for
ff and th until he gives up, laughing. That's right, sweetheart, the kiss ends when Xander says the kiss ends, and needing oxygen now.

Now's when the kiss ends, and if he isn't the most fucking sexy thing I've ever seen on my pillow right now with his lip all wet and swollen, I don't know what is. "Did you wanna say something?"

"I'm afraid I've quite forgotten what it was." He's breathing hard, makes his accent go all broken and breathy, but the way those long, strong hands are gripping my ass, grinding me down against him gives me a good guess what he was gonna say.

"Wearing too many clothes?"

"God, yes." And how the
fuck can hands that delicate looking be that strong? "That will do."

"Wanna bet who can get 'em off faster?"

Then he's laughing, and he's got my shirt up over my head before I can get any further. "No," He says, and then, we're rolling again, this time, him on top. The way the light glints off of his glasses almost makes him look dangerous. "Because betting would take valuable time that could be devoted," he says, sliding down onto my legs, getting muffled against my neck (tickles), and my chest (mmmm nice), and holy
fuck whatever he's doing to my nipple gets my attention. "To better pursuits."

"Less talk, more pursuit."

Want him in me, want him fucking me. Want to
feel that second heartbeat inside me, hard, hot, fast, and when he doesn't move fast enough, I'm just man enough to shove him off, shuck the clothes, and wrap both legs around him until he's got a choice between nailing me to the mattress and-

So I lied, there is no choice.

"Fuck. Now." Because baby, Cave Xander loves you too, and then oh Jesus, he's just slamming right in, and it's even better than it was before.

Screw the one finger, two finger, stretchy stretch shit and give me a man who'll bang into me like that any day.
Every day. Hurts so goddamned good and it's pure need, him for me, so big and fast I can't breathe, don't wanna breathe. And everything's going all silvery gray around the edges with sharp bursts and prickles of light and head and cold, and there'll be time for sweet and slow later because if he stops now, Someone. Dies!

Dear Father,

Upon receipt of a most generous offer of funding for my private projects, I have decided to remain in America for the foreseeable future. I am fairly sure this will cause you no hardship, and will send a courier service for my files and possessions within the week.

Enclosed, you will find my preliminary findings on Xander Harris and his unique abilities. Do with it as you please as it represents the end of my contractual obligations to the Council Institute. I've sent a copy of all tapes and transcripts to Mr. Travers as well. I am reasonably certain that he will find them enlightening.

Xander looked up from the letter, hair flopping into his eye, but not quite obscuring the raised eyebrow above it. "Enlightening, huh?"

Wesley sipped his tea, cupping his hands around the mug and regarded Xander over the rims of his glasses. "Most enlightening. I don't believe my father saw fit to inform him that I was a practicing homosexual."

"So you sent him the practice tapes, huh?"

"Well what was I to do? It was all somewhat mixed in with the interview." Wesley paused, looking at Xander more seriously. "Are you certain that you don't mind?"

"That a couple of uptight assholes over in England know I'm a card carrying Friend of Dorothy?"

Wesley laughed. "When will I get my card?"

"It's in the mail, sweetheart." Xander leaned across the table, setting down the half-read letter and cupping Wesley's face instead, holding him still for the softest possible brush of lips, only enough pressure to feel the soft answering pulse of Wesley's heartbeat.

"I meant to ask if you're certain you don't mind that they know you're a card carrying Friend of Dorothy," Wesley said softly, leaning in to Xander's lips with warm breath, and soft touches of tongue, "with me."

"Baby, as far as I'm concerned, that's the best part."

If they can't get that, can't get what they're losing in Wesley, then fuck 'em.

I'm not giving him back.

And when they try to make me, it's gonna be a hell of a lot harder than they think.

Bring it the fuck on.







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