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BtVS/ANGEL: Leaking Ghosts (Giles/Angel)

Written for the second round of maleslashminis: Giles. I was assigned frimfram, who requested Giles/Angel, a dive bar, and a lot of alcohol.

Title: Leaking Ghosts
Author: voleuse
Fandom: BtVS/Angel
Pairing: Giles/Angel
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: A replenished body singing its way into doubletalk.
Notes: Post-NFA



After he exorcises the demon, Giles waves as the child and her parents ride off in the ambulance. Giles can feel a smile on his face, but his lungs feel strained from smoke and fear. There are faint cuts tracing along the lines of his palms.

He can feel each individual cut. His hands ache.

He wasn't able to save the first two families.

After the sirens recede in the distance, Giles does what any sensible man would do. (Or rather, what any sensible American man would do. He doesn't see Xander often anymore, but some habits are easy to acquire.) He finds the nearest bar and settles in for the evening.

The bartender's skepticism is easily dispatched with the combination of three twenty-dollar bills and a leave the bottle falling from his lips.

The brand of tequila is expensive, one Giles recognizes as something Faith once called, "amnesia in a shot glass." Perhaps she peppered the phrase with a few obscenities, but on first taste, he concurs.

The bar is grimy, the street is empty, and Giles is alone in New Mexico.



If he looks through the glass long enough, focuses hard enough--the bottle is more than half-empty, now--Giles imagines he can pass through. There are, in fact, instances in which this has happened. He just can't remember the details.

Maybe magic was involved. Maybe more tequila.

On the bar beside him, a hand slaps down, a heavy thunk accented with the metallic clink of a ring. "You'd be better off with whiskey."

Giles smiles, bitter enough to bleed. "To dim the pain?"

"No." Angel leans his elbows against the bar. "The memory."



Cool air wafts in through the front door when it swings open, a saving breath when the room gets too stifling.

Giles feels crowded by sound and guilt. He wonders how Buffy is doing, training the newest slayers, and whether Olivia remembered to water the plants in his flat. He wonders why Angel stayed beside him after they finished the first bottle, and then the next.

He stares into his glass, into the amber liquid, and wonders if he's being maudlin. He can feel the blood on his hand, like echoes of a loss.

If it was anybody other than Angel beside him, he would try to vocalize the sensation, mouth platitudes and plans. It's something he's grown accustomed to doing; the girls never prepare for the inevitabilities of too late.

But Angel is silent, solemn. His fingers wrap around his glass, his ring scraping, tapping against it. Giles focuses on that, through the chatter and the music and the engines roaring past the parking lot.

Giles feels adrift. It's almost novel, this disconnection.

"What are you doing here?" he asks. He angles his glass sideways, to see that lack of reflection.

He feels Angel's shrug, an elaborate explanation he understands.

"It's been," he says, "a while since I've been here."

Angel is counting bills onto the bar. They are folded in the corners, and one has a phone number scribbled across the bottom.

"Not here, quite," Giles muses, a murmur he's sure Angel hears quite well. "Rather, since I've been, well." He shakes his head. Makes a vague gesture with his hand.

"I know," Angel replies.

"I know," Giles responds.

He stands, his hand sliding over Angel's elbow. His feet are steady on the ground.



As they wend their way out of the bar, Giles feels Angel's hand settle, lightly, against his neck.

Giles reaches forward, and pushes the door open.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Yusef Komunyakaa's Ignis Fatuus. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
frimfram
Oct. 10th, 2006 07:53 pm (UTC)
That's terrific. Sharp and painful. I love it: thank you so much for writing it.
moodfic
Oct. 14th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm thrilled you liked it. Thanks!
chlare
Dec. 10th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC)
I like this pairing, and it's not one you see a lot. Nice work, I love the added texture of Angel's ring and the sound it brings to Gile's haze. Oh, and the little details like the phone number on the cash.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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