"That was too easy," Cordelia said as they stood around the video screen Dawn had erected on the lobby counter. They were standing around, finally stripped of their armor, watching a news feed of the latest city crisis--namely the partial destruction of Wolfram & Hart's office building. The place had mysteriously exploded that morning, damaging the lobby and the next ten stories up... as well as the top fifteen floors. Fred's best guess was that someone on the top floors had fires burning--candles or something else to ignite the solution she'd injected. Most of the flames were actually under control now, since she'd set the sprinkler system up to continue to push fresh water through.
Of course, as soon as the event hit the news, everyone in the city was spouting off their own personal theory about what had happened. No one bothered to deny that they thought that it had been some sort of attack, but no one was particularly angry, either. The building had been almost completely deserted; the actual casualties looked to number only about five people. The police weren't acting very enthusiastic about investigating the cause, which wasn't surprising since Wolfram & Hart currently stood accused of trying to bribe the sheriff.
"So, what now?" Xander asked as Dawn turned the volume on the television down slightly. "I mean..."
"Yeah," Gunn murmured. "What now?"
Everyone sort of looked around. The cubs were currently curled up in a ball on the couch, sleeping peacefully. It was as though they somehow knew that whatever had been threatening them was gone; Cordelia and Gunn swore that all of a sudden, while the others were out working on Fred's plan, the cubs all started relaxing. "Er..." Buffy mumbled. She knew she had files to deal with, clients to harass, and bills to pay. But she couldn't shake this odd, almost empty feeling. It was similar to how she felt when she slayed, but... different too. It weirded her out that she couldn't identify it.
"Sugar, what's bothering you?" Lorne asked his wife. "You look all..."
"Confused," She admitted. "I'm with Xander and Gunn on this one. What do we do now?"
Oz shrugged. He was content to sit back, breathe for a few minutes, and then maybe convince Xander to go upstairs and scream for a few hours while they fucked themselves unconscious.
Angel closed his eyes briefly and sighed. He paused for a moment to thank everyone and everything he could think of that his soul was free of the constraints of the gypsy's curse; if not for that, he'd be Angelus again. Perfect happiness was much less rare in his life than it used to be. Of course, he'd also at some point rethought what perfect happiness meant. When Angel finished being grateful, he opened his eyes and turned to look at Wil.
The blonde vampire was lounging against the wall, looking tentatively content, as though he wasn't sure it was safe to relax, but he really wanted to. Angel knew exactly how he felt. For years now, ever since well before they'd first left Los Angeles, there had been an underlying current of tension in their lives. The only time it seemed to go away, at least temporarily, was in the whirlwind pleasure of sex, when nothing much mattered except pleasure. Angel wagered that Wil would compare his current state to what Sisyphus would feel like if he actually got his boulder to a good resting spot at the top of his hill and was awarded an actual break. What was he supposed to do now, find another rock to carry around?
Angel wanted his lover to feel how he felt; happy. He knew Wil wasn't happy right now. How could he be, when he wasn't sure if he could even let his guard down? Angel knew, though, that he could do something about that. Of all the people in his life, Angel knew Wil the best--and the longest. Not all of their times together had been good--not now that they were both souled, and not when they'd both been horrific killers. That didn't mean that all of their early history had been for naught, however. Many good memories existed under the layers of darkness.
"Lorne?" Angel murmured. The green demon turned to Angel.
"Yeah, Ange?" Lorne asked. He was wondering if he'd be able to open Caritas tonight. The current population of the lobby would run off any customers he got; they all looked like they'd been possessed or something.
"Could you give me a hand?" The dark vampire asked, walking towards the club. Lorne nodded and followed him. No one else paid them any heed; they were all staring around at the floor and walls, wondering what to do.
"And what is with them?" Lorne asked Angel as they entered Caritas.
"Shock," Angel replied. "And you feel it too. Too much weight lifted too quickly."
"It's not like we actually got rid of Wolfram & Hart," Lorne remarked. "They were pretty well... damaged before that, thanks to you guys."
Angel shrugged. "I think it was symbolic, really. Yeah, it did that last bit of damage to knock them down, but... this was a real, physical symbol of all those years of work--on everyone's part, not just ours."
"I know," Lorne said. "Now, what is it you needed?"
Angel smiled. "I just wanted to play some music."
The green demon gestured towards the sound system. "Have at it... you aren't planning to sing, are you?"
"No," Angel murmured. "Actually, I want to play a cd I left here from before..."
"They're all still in there," Lorne promised. "We kept them when we upgraded the equipment."
Angel flipped through the system's screen console until he found one of his favorite cds, buried deep within some little used archive. It figured that no one played it, since it had no lyrics. He cued up the album on repeat and quickly walked back out to the lobby, Lorne trailing behind. The club's doors stood wide open, letting the first strains of music drift out with the vampire.
Wil opened his eyes just as Angel stopped in front of him, one hand held out formally. The blonde cocked his head to one side. Angel waited until Wil recognized the music. "Danzón," He whispered, eyes widening. Angel smiled softly as Wil pushed away from the wall, frowning. "Why?"
"May I have this dance?" Angel murmured softly, almost in a whisper.
Wil slowly slid his hand into Angel's, letting the dark vampire lead him out into an open area. Quick, fierce violins tugged at him, ordering him to follow Angel as his Sire placed a hand at his waist and swung him in a shallow arc. Blue eyes locked with brown as they completed the first circle.
Then the music got faster, the pace more frantic. Wil pulled Angel closer to him, pressing their bodies together as the raced, floating like pebbles skipping on water, up the stairs. Only vampiric senses kept them going, leaping from ledge to ledge as they spun and waltzed to the second floor. Angel turned them, bending Wil over the balcony railing as the music reached a crescendo. Then Wil thrust forward, knocking Angel back. He caught the dark vampire, swinging him around as they tumbled down the stairs and straight onto the dais in front of the open garden doors.
"Who's leading?" Xander asked no one in particular. He wasn't sure if he was hallucinating or not, but it looked like Angel and Wil were dancing.
"Does it matter?" Cordelia whispered, caught up in the performance.
"No," Wesley said as he reached for Fred. She let him pull her into place and lead them into a more sedate version of Wil and Angel's own dancing, one that didn't have them leaping up the stairs.
"I can't dance like that," Xander murmured, watching as the vampires slipped into a tango when the music changed. He'd seen men dancing together before; hells, he'd seen Wil and Angel dance... but not like this. They weren't really dancing; it was more like watching the music made flesh.
Oz just grabbed the Raphe and proceeded to prove the graceful demon very wrong.
"You know, the longer we stand here, the stupider we look," Dawn commented to the motionless people crowded against the counter. "Willow, let's dance."
"I can't dance," Willow protested.
"That's what Xander said, too," Dawn argued as she grabbed her girlfriend. "And look at him." Willow looked, and was impressed. Xander and Oz, while not Angel and Wil by any means, weren't doing badly at all. And they were smiling. Happy.
Lorne sighed. "Come on," He said to Buffy, holding out his hand. "Gunn, if you don't ask Cordelia to dance, I'll make you sing Englebert Humperdinck."
Gunn took him at his word and reached for Cordelia.
Wil was oblivious to the other couples dancing around him. The only things in his universe were Angel and the music. Deep, whiskey eyes intoxicating him. He was lightheaded, almost giddy with it, unable to look away. They'd danced like this before, not often but occasionally. The first time had been when he was little more than a fledge, crude and untrained. Only his Sire's threat of punishment and a few dredged up memories of his cultured past had gotten him through the first minute of that dance. Then, as now, he fell under Angel's spell. The world fell away as they moved, flew across a polished floor as though on the wind. When they danced like this, Wil felt like he was the only thing Angel saw, the only person he loved. Angelus melted William time and again with the dance, be it a waltz, a minuet or a lively tarantella.
Now, many years later, Angel seduced Wil with that same technique. The music followed them outside, into the garden as they spun through the walkways. Wil caught flashes of light and dark--the moon, a star, a streetlamp. It all meant nothing. The only thing in his existence was this, Angel and the crackling, smooth energy that built between them.
Angel watched the change come over Wil. The tension that kept his child strung taught as a bow, ready to spring into action but unsure if he should, was replaced with a vibrating tightness of a very different kind. Dance was one of the most ancient forms of foreplay, older than flowers and jeweled baubles. Dance was showing one's partner how well two bodies could move together, in any rhythm. And if they moved so well, so synchronous, when simply dancing, what perfection could they reach when the music was gone, when the other dancers faded into the shadows and all that was left was...the driving, racing beat of lust and want and aching love that made it impossible for Wil or Angel to look away.
Cordelia watched as Angel danced Wil back inside and up the stairs again, this time leading the blonde all the way up the hall before turning around to descend again. "This is insane!" She shouted at Gunn, stretching to be heard over the now thunderous music. They were all dancing wildly, to whatever rhythm they wanted. Willow and Dawn glided lazily across the patio, giggling and watching as Xander and Oz raced by at a considerably brisker clip. Gunn spun Cordelia in loopy circles, making sure to keep an eye on the cubs, who had woken up to watch all the madly dancing couples. The five children simply sat on the couch, still-puffy eyes wide. It was the first time that Cordelia could remember them all behaving so perfectly--without any incentive or threat.
Gunn laughed at Cordelia's statement. "So?" He replied with a grin. "Tonight, we dance!" Tomorrow they could worry about the aftermath of Wolfram & Hart's destruction, about the safety of themselves and their children, about what they were going to do with the rest of eternity.
Angel led Wil out into the garden once more, glorying in the vibrant joy he saw in Wil's eyes. If only his childe would look like that forever--if only their world didn't demand worry and give the burden of sorrow to his beloved. Wil's lips parted, soundless moans falling like leaves as Angel drew him up the stairs again. This time they didn't stop and return to the ground, but rather arced and dashed up anther flight and down another hall, again and again as Angel led Wil through the echoing halls of the hotel. They danced until the music pouring forth from Caritas was lost, until all that they could hear was what they felt. They danced until they reached the roof, where the moon hung, dancing in place on a pedestal of tears and starlight.
The music stopped, and so did they.
Wil stood. Angel stood. Less than a sigh separated them. "Why?" Wil asked Angel, reluctantly breaking the perfect silence between them.
Angel smiled. "Tell me, Wil. What is bothering you? Right now, what troubles you?"
The blonde answered instantly, almost without thought. "You are there and I am here and we aren't touching."
And the music between them began again.