AN: Part two of Succour. Things get a little darker in this story.
Also very, very brief mention of Charmed
. I don't own that show, on top of not owning BTVS or The OC. Nor did I or will I make any money from this story. Enticement
It had only been once. One time Ryan reached out to Xander then pulled sharply away. Ryan never took his hookups with men seriously, since he couldn’t bring guys home to the Cohens. Or, rather, he wouldn't take a guy home to meet the Cohens. Ryan always enjoyed hooking up with men for one reason: no strings attached. Xander hadn’t pushed or even tried for another date. They had been comfortably working together for a month. Long enough for Ryan to realize that Xander’s babble only appeared when he was nervous. They didn’t talk much beyond the essentials of communicating work related information and instructions.
Today, however, marked a change from pattern. Xander came into work with a black eye and some other bruises. Bruises that only came from fighting. It thrilled Ryan to see, because he remembered the freedom and pain of cage fighting. Of getting hurt and relishing the sharp pain from a fist in his face. Or of the simply joy of hitting and hurting another person. Ryan had been abstractly aware that Xander’s various scars came from a rough life but hadn’t really thought about it. He also hadn’t considered that Xander would still be fighting, without an eye and a bad foot.
“Should you be working?” Ryan asked, with only minimal concern.
“Ugh, yeah, don’t worry about it. Only a little bruising. Nothing to worry about, not that you’d worry or anything. You know how some bars get, some guy catches you looking around the room, accuses you of cruising his girl, and fun-time brawling for the whole family ensues,” Xander shrugged as he finished his explanation.
Ryan could tell he was lying. The babble was a dead giveaway. Ryan didn’t care about the lie, but only wanted in with the action. It had been so long. So long of only hitting a punching bag, of tightly leashing his temper, and always, always pretending he’d changed. That he was good and better. Sure his smiles came easier these days, but the longer he lived without Seth, the harder it was to stay in the light.
“I used to box a little. Think you might want to go a few rounds with me?” Raised eyebrow, but with a hopeful gleam in his eyes.
Xander paused in his preparations to begin work. He could tell Ryan knew he was lying. It also seemed that Ryan didn’t care, but only wanted to fight too. Of course, Ryan had no way of knowing that Xander had found one of the rare vampires in San Francisco. San Francisco was relatively demon and vamp free for a big city. Mostly ‘cause there were these three mega-witches who kept a lid on things and, now supplemented by a slayer, most things stayed away. It was one of the reasons Xander had moved here. He considered Ryan. He considered those blue eyes calmly pleading with him to say yes. He also considered the anger and sundry emotions lurking beyond the surface. It was these emotions that sent a shiver down Xander’s spine.
“Yes. In a few days, after these bruises are gone.”
Ryan smiled, and nodded.
Xander’s heart did a little flip at the rare sight of one of Ryan’s smiles actually reaching his eyes.