A Valentine's To Forget
flashbacks are in italicsA Valentine’s To Forget.
Angel looked around his bedroom, it was surprisingly tidy; in a way it hadn’t been since Xmas. No comics lying around, no clothes on the floor, and more importantly no Xander in his bed. It didn’t make any sense, pulling open one of the cupboards he saw that it was empty, all of Xander’s things were gone. Xander was gone; Angel sank down onto the bed, and attempted to figure out what the hell was going on.
He tried to think of what had happened the last time he’d seen Xander, surely if his lover was going to leave he would have said something, he wouldn’t just up and disappear. As he sat there, Angel slowly realised that he wasn’t actually sure when he’d last seen Xander. He’d been busy at the office and then he’d spent hours researching the prophecies Lindsey had told them about. If Xander had some important role to play, then it meant he was in danger and Angel was determined to find out everything he could, so that he could protect Xander better.
Most nights, by the time he finally made it back to their room, he was too tired to do anything but sleep. This wasn’t good, he found himself reaching for his diary, trying to work out when he’d last spent any time at all with his lover. Flicking through the pages, he remembered meetings and hunts, and every detail of his days, and none of the memories included Xander. Eventually he came to February 13th, looking back he remembered that Xander had tried to talk to him that night, something about making plans. But he’d been rushing off to meet with Wes and hadn’t really listened.
That was just over a week ago, he couldn’t believe he’d let that much time go by without talking with Xander. The day after had been a good one for him; his favourite coffee had been waiting for him in his office, someone had sent him a copy of a book he’d been trying to locate for months, there’d been a delivery of a new leather jacket, and he’d found a beautiful painting for his room. The day after the thirteenth, oh crap he was in so much trouble. The fourteenth, Valentine’s day, he’d completely forgotten. All those things had probably been from Xander, and not only had he not given his lover anything; he’d not even mentioned all the things Xander had done for him.
Letting his head sink into his hands, Angel let out a low groan. Well now he knew why Xander had gone, he just didn’t have the first clue how to go about getting him back. He heard his door bang open, and looked up to see Cordelia dragging Spike into the room, with a firm grip on his ear. Ignoring his Childe’s struggles and swearing, he concentrated on his former Seer. She looked as beautiful as always, but it was the big white wings on her back that held his attention.
She shoved Spike down onto the bed beside Angel, with a terse, “Sit.” And then started pacing the room.
“Cordelia? Um…..you’re an Angel now?” Angel wished he hadn’t spoken, when she spun back round with a look of pure fury on her face. Coming to rest right in front of him, hands on hips, her whole body radiating anger.
“It was part of our reward, Anya and I got our wings at Xmas. You remember, when we gave Xander to you? We’re Guardian Angels officially now, because we did such a good job then.”
“You’re my Guardian Angel…..Wow, that’s wonderful Cordelia.”
oh please Angel, I was here for Xander. You know, your lover, the one I trusted you to look after. It shouldn’t have been that difficult, we even gave you a set of instructions. Exactly how hard was it to follow? There weren’t that many things for you to remember.
2)Keep him away from blonde Slayers and red-haired witches; they’re bad for his self-esteem.
3)Don’t let him eat more than 4 Twinkies a day, no matter how much he begs.
4)Don’t let him feel useless; he needs to contribute to your fight, no wrapping him in cotton wool.
5)Make sure he knows how much you need him.
6)Keep him away from horny demons.
7)Don’t let him shop alone, unless you want him to go back to his bad shirt phase.
8)Listen when he talks, some of Buffy’s best plans came from Xander.
9)Make sure he’s got something to do; a bored Xander is a dangerous thing.
Ten things Angel, and you managed to screw up almost all of them. I can’t believe you let me down like this.”
“Cordy…..I…...I didn’t mean to.” Angel knew that wasn’t an answer she’d accept, but it was all he could think of right then.
“Right then, if you’re here to yell at the Poof, I’ll be off. Entertaining as it is, I’ve a lover of my own to see to, don’t want to keep my boy waiting.”
“Oh Hell no, Bleachie, you’re not going anywhere, you’re in as much trouble as he is. Anyway, Lindsey’s not waiting for you, he left just like Xander did.”
“He left?” Spike seemed to sink in on himself, and Cordelia almost felt sorry for him.
“Trying to tell me you care? When you spent so much time convincing him that he was nothing more than a convenience.”
“Boy’s not a convenience, he’s mine.”
“Then maybe you should have told him, but that would have required you actually talking to him, instead of just fucking him. You left so fast every time you were done; you didn’t even wait for him to zip up most days. No the pair of you are hopeless, and you don’t deserve them.”
“Fucking hell woman, were you watching us or something? Get lonely up on your cloud does it? Must be kinda desperate if you’re paying that much attention to my love life.” Anger and worry over-rode Spike’s sense of self-preservation.
Cordelia smacked Spike in the back of his head before answering. “What part of Guardian did you have trouble understanding? It’s my job to look after my charges, and to make sure they’re happy.”
Angel resisted the urge to yell at Cordelia, it never got him anywhere. But he had a hard time believing that Lindsey, of all people, deserved a Guardian Angel. “Cordy…just tell us where they are, and we’ll fix it.” He elbowed Spike in the ribs, trying to get his attention.
“Right, fix it ‘course we will. Just tell us where they’re at and we’ll fetch them home.”
“Why should I? You two obviously don’t know how to take care of them properly. No, they’ll probably be better off together. If you actually cared you’d have noticed how miserable they were.” Cordelia looked as angry as Angel had ever seen her, but right now he didn’t care.
Xander and Lindsey, just the idea of it made Angel’s heart ache. There was no way on earth he was just going to sit back and let that happen, Xander was his; no matter what Cordelia said. He’d beg if he had to, but one way or another he was getting Xander back. “I know I screwed up, forgetting Valentine’s was bad, but I’m not giving up on Xander.”
This time it was Angel who got the smack round the head, swiftly followed by a second. “Valentine’s…...you think this is just about Valentine’s? Xander isn’t that shallow you idiot. Your complete inability to remember important dates was just the icing on the cake, he left because he thought you didn’t care.”
Angel really didn’t understand, Xander knew how much he loved him, didn’t he? “Why would he think that?” “Lindsey always seemed happy enough, just what gives you the right to judge how we were?” Spike and Angel spoke almost simultaneously. Then got two simultaneous whacks to their heads.
“Do you have to keep doing that? We get the point Cordelia.” Angel knew he sounded pathetic, but damn it, those whacks hurt. It seemed the Angel gig came with strong muscles as well as the wings.
“Oh stop whining, I didn’t hit you that hard. You should be grateful Anya was tied up with another client. She had real plans for the pair of you.”
Both vampires shuddered at that thought; a pissed off Anya would scare anyone. Her reputation was enough to give Angelus nightmares, no they were better off with Cordelia; at least she’d probably kill them quickly.
“Do you want to see why they left, or do you just want to sit here feeling sorry for yourselves?”
“We want to know, don’t we Spike?”
“Yeah, need to know how to make it right.”
Cordelia pulled them both over to a mirror, and then laid her hands on the surface. It went cloudy for a second, before clearing; and Angel gasped out loud, when he saw the image of Xander and Lindsey appear in the glass. They appeared to be in his sitting room, so he knew it wasn’t showing him where they were now. “When was this?”
Cordelia turned his face back to the mirror and said. “Last week, just watch and you’ll find out everything you need to know.”Lindsey turned to look at Xander, the boy radiated misery, and it’d been getting worse all week. He knew Xander would object to being thought of as a boy, but there was something about him that brought out the protective instincts in almost everyone he met. Despite the scars, and the sometimes world weary cynicism, there was an innocence about Xander, that made him seem younger than he was.
“So I’m guessing your Valentine’s plans didn’t go well?”
Xander was silent for a few moments then said. “They didn’t go at all, haven’t seen Angel since Sunday.”
Damn, even for Angel that was kind of stupid, and Lindsey didn’t know what to say to make it right. “He probably got caught up at the office, demons to kill, apocalypse to stop. There’s always something going on, he’ll probably show up with something fabulous tonight, just be sure and make him grovel a bit before you forgive him.”
“Grovelling would be nice, but I’d settle for a little interest. Starting to feel like a guest that’s outstayed his welcome.”
“Bull, didn’t Cordy tell you that Angel’s your true love. Like the two of you are destined to be together.”
“Kind of my point.” Xander sounded even more miserable. “He didn’t choose this, choose me. The Powers just stuck us together; and I’m starting to think he’s not happy about it. He’s been avoiding me and that’s not how someone in love behaves. Hell he won’t even let me come out with him and Spike when they go hunting.”
“Doesn’t that mean he’s protecting you, he probably just doesn’t want to risk you getting hurt.”
“Yeah, ‘cos the poor breakable human can’t handle himself. I mean I survived seven years fighting on the Hellmouth, and then a year hunting in Africa, and now he doesn’t trust me at his back. Whenever I offer, he tells me I’m not needed, then by the time he gets back, there’s always something else for him to do.”
“So talk to him in bed, trust me, you can get a man to do anything when you have a firm grip on his cock.” The leer and smirk on Lindsey’s face fell away, when he saw that Xander didn’t appreciate his lame attempt at humour.
“Yeah well, that’s not exactly an option, I’ve seen even less of Angel’s cock, then I have the rest of him. You’d think having a lover with supernatural strength and stamina would mean I’d be getting fucked through the mattress on a regular basis, but Angel doesn’t seem interested. He never shows up ‘til long after I’m asleep, and if I do wake up, he’s too tired to do anything, not exactly great for the ego. I’ve got this gorgeous lover, but I’m giving my right hand the kind of workout it hasn’t seen since I was in high school.”
“Well if you’re just looking to get laid……” Lindsey gave Xander a deliberate once over, letting his appreciation show in his eyes.
“Yeah, right, my life’s fucked up enough as it is. I don’t think screwing you is the answer, I don’t much fancy giving Spike an excuse to eviscerate me this week.”
“Trust me he wouldn’t care, might want to watch, but I doubt there’d be any eviscerating.” Lindsey was trying for humour, but he couldn’t disguise the bitterness in his voice.
“Trouble in paradise? Thought you two were doing great. Love’s young dream and all that.”
“Hardly, I’m just as frustrated as you are.”
“Oh please, I know how often you’re getting laid, hell everyone in the building and most of LA know about you and Spike. Gunn spent half of last week trying to get the two of you off those public indecency charges. And while we’re on the subject, can you lay off our apartment. Every time he bothers to come up here, Angel starts muttering about Spike cooties, and sniffing the furniture. Next thing, the couch is a big pile of kindling in the parking lot, and I’m stuck shopping for new stuff. The guy in the furniture store is starting to give me really strange looks, eight couches in six weeks is just weird. You’ve got an apartment of your own, try using it once in a while.”
“Great idea, but Spike’s never even been to the same block as my place, getting him through the door would take a miracle.” At Xander’s incredulous look, Lindsey continued. “We’re fucking not dating. We don’t exactly hang out, not with our clothes on anyway. Every time he walks away I think that next time I’ll actually make him talk to me before we get down to it, but it never works out. He’ll show up and give me that look…..”
“The one with the eyebrow?”
“Yeah, and the next thing I know I’m on my knees with his cock down my throat; and talking’s the last thing on my mind.”
“TMI, don’t need to know any more about your sexcapades.”
“You don’t want to hear about what it feels like when I’ve got Spike buried inside me? Don’t want to know how good it is when he fucks me so hard and so deep that I pass out from the pleasure.” Lindsey leaned in and practically purred in Xander’s ear.
“No fair, teasing the perpetually horny.” Xander went to shove Lindsey away, and then just froze when his hands made contact with the other man’s chest. They stayed like that for a few seconds, inches away from a kiss, before almost jumping apart. Though they both had a look of regret on their faces.
“Fuck I’m turning into a girl just saying this, but I want more from him. Right now I feel like I’m just a convenient hole, it’d be nice if he wanted to be around me when we weren’t naked.” Lindsey grabbed a drink, and swallowed it down in one. He hated feeling like this; caring for someone wasn’t something he was used to.
“We’re a right pair aren’t we? Letting them make us this miserable is just pathetic, especially as they don’t seem to notice. We should do something about it, instead of just sitting around bitching.”
“Like what, talking doesn’t seem to be getting either of us anywhere?”
Xander grabbed a drink for himself, before saying. “I was thinking more along the lines of leaving. I can’t stay around here much longer. It’s just too much, wanting what I can’t have.”
Lindsey was surprised by how much he hated that idea, he liked Xander, liked hanging out with him, liked having someone who actually seemed to care about him. In fact they spent so much time together, that they’d become good friends, the thought of having to be there without Xander around was awful; and Lindsey had to face the fact that he’d come to rely on Xander’s friendship. “Where would you go?”
“Nowhere, everywhere…....After high school I went on a road trip, was going to see the country. Never made it further than Oxnard, so I figured I’d give it another try. I’ve got enough money stashed to mean I don’t have to work, and I thought I’d just drift for a while.”
“Sounds pretty good to me, don’t suppose you’d want some company?”
“Nothing keeping me here, a little distance would probably be a good thing. Let me get my head straight, figure out what I want. You really think Angel’d let you go?”
“Don’t see why not, it’s not like he wants me here, he’ll probably be relieved to see the back of me.”
Cordelia watched grief and pain appear on the two vampire’s faces as they heard their lovers talk. Satisfied that they were getting the idea, she moved the images forward a little. Spike and Angel could only stare in horror as Xander and Lindsey made their plans. They saw their lovers’ meet and talk every day, saw how they got things ready for their trip. Had to face the fact that this had all happened right under their noses, and they hadn’t even noticed.
Spike let out a pained moan when he found himself watching his last encounter with Lindsey. He watched himself ignore Lindsey when he’d tried to talk. Watched the way he totally dominated the younger man, how he made him beg and plead, how he manipulated that beautiful body and made his lover scream for him. And how he just walked away when he’d got what he wanted. Had to see the look of devastation on Lindsey’s face, when he left him without a backwards look. After Dru and Buffy, Spike had sworn he’d never let himself get used like that, or hurt like that again. So he’d refused to let himself get too involved with Lindsey, it was only now that he’d lost him; that Spike realised that it was too late, he was already in love.
Angel had tears in his eyes as he watched Xander pack up his things, watched the man he’d come to love get ready to leave him. He saw how unhappy Xander was, how lost he seemed and couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed. Then Xander opened the last drawer and pulled out the ribbon and tag that had been wrapped around his neck at Xmas. Xander let his hands linger on the tag for a second, tracing the words with one trembling finger, before dropping it into the trash, with a muttered, “So stupid, should’ve known it wasn’t real.”
The view switched to the garage under the building, and they watched as Xander and Lindsey loaded up their truck. Slinging bags in the back, and chatting quietly as they worked. When they were finished they took one last look back at the office before turning resolutely away. They wore identical expressions of grief and loss, but their actions were determined. The vampires watched as Lindsey asked Xander if he was sure, saw him nod in answer and climb into the truck. Watched as Lindsey slid behind the wheel and started the engine. Saw how their lovers joined their hands together as they drove out of the garage and out of Spike and Angel’s lives.
Cordy let them wallow for a second before getting their attention with another couple of slaps. “Now do you see what you did? Honestly, best part of five hundred years experience between the two of you, how did you not manage to learn anything about relationships? Screwing up this badly, takes a really special talent.”
Angel swallowed hard, she was right, he’d made even more of a mess then he’d thought. Now he had to figure out a way to fix it, there had to be something he could do to persuade Xander to come back.
“So we fucked up, we’ll bloody fix it, make them see where they belong. Get the office working on it and we’ll track ‘em down fast. Not like they’ve had time to get too far away.” Spike figured he could worry later, finding them was more important.
“Well that’s one option.” Both vampires stared at Cordelia, was she saying there might be something else they could do?
“You’ve got a better idea? Not just gonna sit here and brood. That’s Angel’s specialty not mine.”
“You let things go too far; persuading them you can change, well after the way you’ve ignored them over the last week, I don’t fancy your chances much. I could give you another way.” Cordelia had all their attention now.
“What can you do?” Angel let himself hope just a little, maybe everything could be okay.
“I can let you have a do-over. Re-set things, make it the thirteenth again, and give you both the chance to prove yourselves. But this will absolutely be your last chance. Screw up again; make it so I have to come back here. And you really won’t like the results; I’d take Xander and Lindsey away forever, and let Anya do whatever she wanted to you.”
“Won’t happen, I get Linds back, and I’ll make sure I keep him. Don’t you worry about that; he’s mine and I’ll make sure he knows it.”
“You’ll really give us another shot?” Angel wanted it so badly, but he was afraid he’d get it wrong again.
“One last chance, And Angel, I learned a lot from Anya, hurt Xander again, and I promise you it’ll be your last mistake.”
“We’ll do whatever it takes, just let us have the opportunity.” Angel’s voice was still a little shaky, but Cordelia believed he’d learned his lesson, for now at least.
“I don’t expect things to be perfect, no relationship is, but I do expect the pair of you to treat them better than you have been. Remember this is your last chance.” As her words echoed around the room, Cordelia began to fade away, and then the whole building seemed to shimmer a little and Spike and Angel found themselves standing in Angel’s office. When he looked down at the desk, he let out a sigh of relief, when he saw it was the thirteenth of February.
“Well Peaches, I’m gonna get out of here, got plans to make. Don’t want the cheerleader coming back down here.”
Angel collapsed into his chair, watching as his Childe swept out of the room. He was so lucky; Cordelia had given him a chance to show Xander that he was loved. Now he just needed to decide how to do that.
Next morning Xander woke up as something was pressed past his lips, and found himself with a mouth full of chocolate. Opening his eyes, he had to pinch himself, because he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The room was full of flowers, there were rose-petals strewn everywhere, and candles flickering on every available surface. Best of all Angel was there, lying next to Xander, a big box of chocolates in his lap.
“Angel. What’s going……..mmf” Xander’s question was interrupted when Angel slipped another sweet into his open mouth.
“Happy Valentine’s.” Angel handed Xander a brightly wrapped gift. When he tore away the wrapping, he found a beautiful antique picture frame; containing the tag Cordelia and Anya had tied around his neck at Xmas.
“Angel, it’s beautiful.” Xander was surprised that Angel had even remembered what day it was; the present was a wonderful surprise.
“I should have told you before, but I wanted you to know how much I love you.” It was the first time he’d actually said the words, and Angel could only hope it wasn’t too late.
“You do?” Xander’s voice was small, like he had a hard time believing what Angel had said.
“I do, having you here, being with you. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. Cordelia and Anya might have brought us together, but you’re here because I need you. If you left, I don’t know what I’d do.”
Xander’s confidence seemed to grow with every word Angel spoke, and he seemed happier than Angel had ever seen him. “You won’t have to find out, I’m not going anywhere. Not now I know you love me as much as I love you.”
Angel let Xander draw him down for the sweetest kiss he’d ever tasted. He whispered a silent thanks to Cordelia, she’d given him the opportunity to fix his screw ups, and somehow he’d managed to get it right this time. No more taking Xander for granted; she’d never again have reason to be disappointed in him. Stealing another kiss, he let himself just enjoy the moment. Let himself enjoy the feel of Xander’s body moving against his own, revelling in the taste and touch of his love; he let the passion sweep them both away.
Across town Lindsey dragged himself out of bed to investigate the noise from outside his apartment. THUD THUD THUD
His door was literally shaking in its frame. Pulling it open, he was surprised to see Spike standing there, it was the first time the vampire had come to his place. He didn’t know what to say, just stood there gaping at his lover, not sure what Spike was doing there.
“Well don’t just stand there pet, I know it’s a lovely view but we’ve got things to do and you need to invite me in.”
“Things? What things?” Lindsey had no clue what Spike was talking about, he was still having trouble believing he was actually there. When Spike didn’t answer right away he added. “Oh come in. Not doing this in the hall.”
“Yeah, got plans haven’t I? So get your kit on, don’t want everyone seeing everything you’ve got.”
“You want me to put my clothes on?” Lindsey’s tone was sceptical, usually Spike was demanding he get naked as quickly as possible, ordering him to get dressed was definitely a new one.
“Well I don’t think they’ll let us in Castillo’s with you in your boxers pet.”
“Castillo’s?” Lindsey knew he was sounding like an echo, but why the hell would Spike be taking him to one of the best restaurants in town?
Spike gently steered Lindsey into the bedroom, and started to pull out some clothes for his lover. “It’s Valentine’s isn’t it? Figured we’d have a nice dinner, maybe hit a club or two.”
Lindsey was still doing a pretty good impression of a statue, just staring at Spike like he’d gone crazy. He put on the clothes that Spike handed him, but his movements were stiff, and he kept looking at Spike, as though he was convinced this was some kind of joke.
Spike realised that he needed to say something else; had to tell Lindsey how he felt as well as show him. Taking a deep breath, he tried to explain. “Not good at this stuff pet. Whenever I gave my heart, I always got it tossed back at me, didn’t want to risk that again. When we started this it was just about the sex; but it changed, I changed. You mean more to me than that even if I never said it. You’re my…….”
“My what? Boyfriend, lover, fuck-buddy?”
“Just mine love. You’re mine, now and always, never letting you leave me.” Spike drew Lindsey into a quick kiss, before stepping back and offering Lindsey his arm. “So Mr MacDonald, want to come to dinner with your better half?”
Lindsey hesitated for a second, not quite believing that Spike had just told him that he was loved. Then he slipped his arm through Spike’s and they headed for the door. “I could eat. Though I think I’m the better half, you’re definitely the evil one in this relationship.” They headed out into the night, holding hands like teenage lovers, both feeling happier than they had in years.
And far above them, in one of the heavenly realms, Anya was pouting as she unfastened her favourite necklace and handed it to Cordelia. “Okay you win, the swift kick method did work. Though I can’t believe they fell for all that, I mean how stupid are they? Do they honestly believe we can just go around turning back time like that, there are rules even for us.”
“I’m always right.” Cordelia was feeling very smug about her night’s work. “Besides it’s Angel and Spike we’re talking about, they’re not exactly the sharpest.”
“Yes but they actually thought that Xander and Lindsey would just give up and run away together. Do you think they’ll ever figure out that the whole week after Valentine’s was just an illusion?”
“No, they’ll be far too busy trying to keep Xander and Lindsey happy. Besides it wasn’t completely fake, I may have exaggerated a few things, but Xan and Linds would have left sooner or later, they were too unhappy to stay.”
“Will they get it right this time?” Anya sounded worried, and Cordelia was reminded of how much her friend still loved Xander. Watching him become so unhappy had been awful for them both.
“Oh they’ll get it right. I wasn’t kidding about what I’d do to them if they didn’t. This time there’s going to be a damn happy ending, or I promise you that they’ll be the two unhappiest vampires in the universe.”
“Good, I want to see Xander smile, like he used to.”
“You want to see him do a lot more than smile, I swear to god, you spend half your life watching the four of them make love.”
“The four of them?” Anya sounded like she really liked that idea. “Do you think we could talk them into doing that, there must be a prophecy we could use to persuade them.”
“Yes, and your point is?”
“We can’t expect then to have a foursome just because you like to watch.”
“Don’t pretend that you don’t enjoy the show as much as I do. I’ve seen you staring at Lindsey’s ass often enough.”
“Not the point, besides, I was just marvelling at how flexible he was. I never knew he had it in him.”
“So if you like Lindsey with Spike, and Xander with Angel, just think how much hotter it’d be if we got them all together.”
“I’m not listening, we are not interfering like that. Not after I just fixed them.”
The two Angels bickered long into the night, stopping only when events in their charge’s bedrooms distracted them. They could argue any time, watching over their boys was far more important, not to mention entertaining.The End